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Gambling Movies – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly

Movies about gambling are a very interesting subject because who can resist the exhilarating feeling when you win a bet, or you hit jackpot? Whenever you watch a casino movie, you’ll certainly get in the mood to try one of the many casino games. Of course, with such advanced technology, you can now play games in the comfort of your own how by signing up with online casinos and trying any available versions of games like online blackjack, online slots or even live roulette. These chosen films all delve into the various aspects involved with gambling and the casino industry.


Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Ocean’s Eleven is a popular movie mostly due to the ensemble cast of big stars including the likes of George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia and Julia Roberts. This movie doesn’t technically involve gambling in casinos but rather a much grander gamble which Danny Ocean has concocted during his time in prison. His plan is to simultaneously rob three of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas being the Bellagio, MGM Grand Casino and the Mirage. Of course, he cannot do this by himself, so he and his partner in crime pitch the plan to Reuben Tishkoff, Such a complex heist to steal no less than $150 million can only be pulled off by a team of criminal specialists who would all get their fair share.

What’s more, throughout the film, we learn of Danny Ocean’s ulterior motive as to why he wishes to carry out this plan involving the owner of the casinos and his ex-wife. This may be a two birds one stone situation for Danny Ocean, but a riskier gamble for the rest of the team. Watching the eleven work their way to carrying out the plan and dodge through the obstacles they face is a thrilling experience!


Casino Royale (2006)

What Bond movie goes without a bit of a gamble for agent 007? Similar to Ocean’s Eleven, Casino Royale shows suave and class when it comes to delving into the somewhat shady casino world. Directed by Martin Campbell and the first of the Bond series to star Daniel Craig, this movie shows the high stakes that are being gambled by James Bond and Le Chiffre. Le Chiffre, who is a mathematical genius and a banker servicing several terrorists, was given a large sum of money to be safely invested. However, when he loses the money, he organises a high roller Texas Hold’Em tournament at the Casino Royale in Montenegro to win it back. James Bond knows of this plot and gets himself a seat at the table along with his shaken-not-stirred Martini. With a $10million buy-in, it is a quite a gamble for all players. The final round played with a $115million hand, the remaining players go all-in including Bond and Le Chiffre. Le Chiffre beat the other players, but his hand was no match for Bond’s straight flush.


The Gambler (2014)

The Gambler is a crime drama film starring Mark Wahlberg as the main character, Jim Bennett. He is a literature professor in Los Angeles, who gambles as a means of self-destruction which leads him to end up owing $240,000 to Lee, the owner of a high-stakes underground gambling ring and an additional $50,000 owed to a loan shark. Naturally, Jim won’t be let off the hook, so Lee gives Jim a total of seven days to pay his debts or else he would be murdered. To further complicate Jim’s life, is his growing relationship with one of his students, Amy. In order to pay back his debts, with the help of Amy, he must take the paramount risk to get a second chance at having a life unburdened with debt.


Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

This is a British crime comedy film, written and directed by Guy Ritchie. The ensemble cast which includes Jason Flemyng and Jason Statham. Four good friends: Eddy, Soap, Bacon and Tom each pool in £100,000 each so Eddy, who is considered a genius card sharp, can get a seat and buy into “Hatchet’s” high-stakes ‘three-card brag’ which is a British card game. The game is rigged, so the four now owe £500,000. Eddy overhears his neighbours, who are a gang of robbers, planning a heist on cannabis growers who are loaded with both drugs and cash. Eddy proposes that they rob the neighbours once they get back in order to pay their debt. So, the 4 friends, have 3 days and 2 guns to pull this heist off. Such a plan has quite a few mishaps and laughs along the way which makes it an entertaining way to watch how a risky gamble and heist can get messy very quickly.


The Cincinnati Kid (1965)

This American drama film, set in the 1930s Depression era, tells the story of a young poker player named Eric ‘The Kid’ Stoner, played by Steve McQueen. His ambition is to establish the reputation as the best poker player, so naturally, he is led to challenge Lancey ‘The Man’ Howard, who is an older, much more experienced player and considered to be the best poker player around. The Kid must use all his skill to try and beat the Man in the game with 4 other players on the table.


Molly’s Game (2017)

This is a biographical crime movie based on the true story of Molly Bloom, played by Jessica Chastain. There aren’t many gambling movies about women, and this one made the list as it is an exceptional story. Molly is a young Olympic class skier who ran an exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade until her arrest by a team of FBI agents. The players at Molly’s game included sports stars, Hollywood celebrities, business tycoons and unbeknownst to her, members of the Russian mob. Her only ally is her hired criminal defence lawyer, Charlie Jaffey, who sees there is more to Molly than is revealed in the tabloids. The film was written and directed by Aaron Sorkin.

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