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Best Gambling Movies based on real-life events

Art mimics life. That’s always been the essence of art. It’s a representation of certain aspects of life and that’s why it’s incredibly common for Hollywood movies to draw inspiration from real-life events. As most people know, one of the most prolific pastimes of human civilization is gambling. Whether it be in-home poker games, casino blackjack sessions, almost everyone in the world has experienced gambling in some shape or form. There are so many online slots out there that are actually inspired by movies like Lara Croft, the Batman, and more. Conversely, there are also a myriad of different movies out there that are inspired by gambling and the casino experience. However, there are also a few movies out there that make things more interesting by drawing from real-life gambling experiences of real-life people.

There’s something so inherently exciting about gambling movies because gambling in itself is such an exciting endeavor. Through gambling, you are wagering actual money on a bet that could either work really well for you or be just completely disastrous. Sure, it’s interesting to know that some people can make a decent living through honest work at a standard job within a corporate structure. But it’s just a little more interesting to hear stories of people who make it big by being dedicated gamblers. It’s that kind of narrative that makes these gambling-inspired movies such a big draw in Hollywood.

In this list, we are going to go over some of the best films that are inspired by real-life gambling stories. Of course, a lot of these stories have been overly dramatized for the sake of storytelling and cinema. However, it’s still pretty interesting to know that these are stories that actually stem from real-life situations and experiences. There’s a quote that goes, truth is far more intriguing and engaging than fiction. That’s certainly the case here. It’s one thing to come up with a completely immersive and engaging story out of thin air. But it’s another thing entirely to know that a great story has roots in real life. We’ve compiled some of the best gambling-inspired films that are based on real events.


First off, Kevin Spacey’s acting performance in 21 is incredible. However, despite the personal issues that the actor is currently facing, there’s no denying that the story that actually drives the plot of the movie is the true star of the film. 21 is a Blackjack film that’s loosely based on a group of students at MIT who worked together with a professor to game the blackjack system at the casino by counting cards. This true-life story also inspired the book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich. In the movie, Ben Campbell is a university student who is struggling to pay his tuition fees. When a professor approaches him with an opportunity to earn money through calculated gambling, he capitalizes on that chance and tries to take down the house together with his team.

High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story

Stu Ungar is one of the most prolific professional poker players in history. This American poker hero started his gambling career as a teenager in the dark alleys and back streets of New York City. He was so good at poker despite his youth that he was even given the nickname Kid Poker. The film follows the life of this three-time World Series of Poker Main Event champion. Ungar made plenty of wrong choices in his life that got him into trouble and he eventually died at a young age. But that doesn’t make his story any less interesting or entertaining.


What happens when you mix the genius of Master Scorsese with all the glitz and glamour of the casino experience? You get this wonderful film that follows the lives of Frank ‘Lefty’ Rosenthal and Anthony Spilotro. Imagine if Goodfellas had a gambling theme. That’s exactly what the 1995 casino film Casino provides its audiences. It’s a very immersive and engaging tour into the criminal underworld that lurks beneath the limelight of gambling. It’s a story that’s based in the 70s and is a compelling story about what life is like for criminal syndicates that run gambling operations.

Molly’s Game

The most recent entry on this list, Molly’s Game is one of the most engaging true-life gambling stories to have ever been put to film. It follows former Olympic hopeful Molly Bloom who was forced to go through a dramatic career pivot after a horrific skiing injury. She started organizing underground poker games in LA as she worked her way to hosting even A-list celebrities in her games.


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