Top 5 Movies Based on Gambling

Gambling has a rich history, with its popularity spanning generations. It is by far one of the most prevalent pastimes shared by millions of casino enthusiasts worldwide. Over the years, gambling has inspired multiple industries, including the film sector, whose library comprises numerous casino-centered blockbuster movies created for entertainment and education purposes. Critics have acclaimed the movies for delivering creative plots in frames, with some, like ‘Casino’ taking viewers through real-life chronological events revolving around a Chicago mobster, Anthony Spilotro. Here is a rundown of some of the most mind-blowing gambling films of all time:

1. Ocean’s Eleven

Ocean and his team come up with a plan to rob three of the biggest casinos in Las Vega -: the Bellagio, the Mirage, and the MGM Grand. In real life, these casino resorts are operated by MGM Resorts International – one of the biggest gambling operators known for its prestigious land casinos and, more recently, some of the best online casinos in the world. However, in the movie, all three casinos belong to Terry Benedict, a business mogul who is also the lover of Danny Ocean’s ex-wife Tess. To carefully and keenly execute the heist, Ocean assigns each member of his crew a specific task that has to be accomplished meticulously.

However, just before the heist, Danny Oceans is notified that he is not to be seen close to any Casino in Las Vegas. This demands a slight change of the plan, including delegating some of his roles to Mat Demon, who plays Linus Caldwell, an infamous pickpocket. The plan involves creating a fake vault and using it to trick the surveillance staff while the actual vault is being robbed. At the end of the heist, Danny Ocean’s team walks out with $160 million in full SWAT gear. Danny, on the other hand, stays behind to prove to his ex-wife that the only thing his current lover cares about is his money and nothing else. The movie was released in 2001 and became the highest-grossing film that year.

2. Casino

Casino is an entertaining gambling movie with a runtime of 178 minutes. The film premiered in 1995, grossing over $116.1 million. It is one of the top films starring Robert De Niro. Other actors that appeared in the movie include Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, Kevin Pollak, and James Woods. The cinema takes place between 1968 and 1986. At the beginning of the movie, Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a character by Robert De Niro, is sent to unofficially run Tangiers Casino, which depicts one of the best casino hotels in Las Vegas. Within a short time, Sam manages to double profits at the casino, and this causes the Mafia bosses to send Nicky Santoro to protect him and the establishment. Unfortunately, Nicky’s criminal nature catches up to him, making him put together a crew specializing in burglaries and shakedowns, a decision that lands him in the FBI’s black book.

On the other hand, Sam starts a family with Ginger, a street hustler who gives birth to their daughter Amy. However, everything changes when Ginger’s former boyfriend, Lester Diamond, a con artist, arrives in the city. The two reawaken their feelings, threatening Sam’s marriage and business. Chaos ensues, and Sam loses Ginger to drug overdose, whereas Nicky and his acquaintance are beaten to death and buried in a shallow grave. In the end, Sam “Ace” Rothstein ends up as a sports handicapper in San Diego, right where he started, while the mafia is thrown out of the casino business.

3. 21

Directors Robert Luketic partnered with actors Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, and Laurence Fishburne to create one of the most thrilling American heist dramas. The movie came out in May 2008 and immediately became people’s favorite, grossing around $159.8 million that year. In 21, a college professor forms a group that uses card counting technique and clandestine signaling to earn profits at different Las Vegas Casinos playing blackjack, one of the most popular casino games. Micky Rosa, a character played by Kevin Spacey, discovers Ben, a bright student gifted with the best memory. Spacey invites Ben to the MIT Blackjack Team and trains him and his fellow students on how to execute the card counting technique perfectly. Desperate to pay his tuition fees, Ben proves to be an asset on the team, and after a couple of trips, he manages to make a significant amount of money.

Ben falls in love with Jill Taylor, and his tight schedule makes it hard for him to spend time with his friends. During one of the trips to Vegas, Ben is distracted, leading to a $200,000 loss. The mistake angers Micky, who quits the group and demands Ben to pay back the lost money. Since the rest of the team knew the card counting technique and the kind of signals to use, they decided to continue scamming the casino. However, they are caught by Cole Williams, the casino’s security head, who Micky tips off. Ben, therefore, comes up with a brilliant plan to set up Micky, and the movie ends with Ben narrating the story to the scholarship director.

4. Molly’s Game

If you are up for a 2017 crime drama movie that will keep you at the edge of your seat, consider watching Molly’s Game. The movie details the chronicles of Molly Bloom, an American entrepreneur, and speaker. Its cast includes Jessica Chastain, who plays Molly Bloom, and Idris Elba as Charlie Jaffey. Other actors include Kevin Costner, Joe Keery, Michael Cera, and Jeremy Strong. In the movie, Molly starts as an assistant helping his boss to arrange underground gambling sessions, which sees her make a decent amount. Out of envy, her manager fires her. Instead of backing down, Molly opens one of the biggest underground gambling rings attended by celebrities, business tycoons, and the Italian mob. With business booming, the Italian mob seizes the opportunity and offers their service to extort players defaulting payments. Molly declines the offer, and this rages the mob, who kidnaps her and threatens to kill her mother.

She manages to solve the problem but unknown to her, the FBI is gathering intel using an informant, Douglas Downey, who is also a player. After collecting enough evidence, the FBI raids Molly’s apartment and seizes her assets. She, after that, turns to Charlie Jaffey, an expensive and high-profile lawyer, to take on her case. After going through the case’s details, Charlie makes a deal with the judge to give Molly a lighter sentence that does not involve a prison term. In return, Molly must turn in a ledger and digital hard drives associated with the case. Molly declines the deal and pleads guilty. The judge ends up sentencing her to 200 hours of community service, fining her $200,000, and giving her one-year probation. Even though Molly’s Game does not give you the ins and outs of gambling in online casinos, it gives a wide scope of the casino industry at large.

5. Rounders

Rounders is a thrilling drama movie that takes viewers through the secret world of high-stakes poker. The 1998 film features Matt Damon as Mike McDermott. It also stars John Turturro, Edward Norton, Famke Janssen, Gretchen Mol, and John Malkovich, who plays Teddy “KGB,” a Russian Mobster. A law student, Mike dreams of competing in the World Series of Poker events, but this proves impossible after he loses an entire stake of $30,000. He returns to law school, gets a part-time job, and promises his friends never to play poker. However, he is forced to go back on his word after his friend Lester “Worm” Murphy comes from prison with debt from Teddy KGB. Mike, being a good friend, decides to play poker to help his friend pay off his debt.

Armed with skills and the dire need to pay off KGB’s debt, Mike and Lester start playing at different casinos across town. At first, they win decent amounts, but in the end, Lester loses their entire bankroll at a single hand. Mike goes ahead to borrow $10,000 from his law school professor and meets KBG for one last game in which he wins a whopping $60,000. He uses the amount to pay off his debts, drops out of school, and goes to Las Vegas to play the World Series of Poker.

From the information, it is clear that the cinematic world has a decent catalog of movies based on gambling. While some films are pure fiction, others, like 21, are based on true events. Each film on this list was well executed and directed to make it entertaining, whereas others bring together industry legends like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts to create a masterpiece.