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The Silver Screen: How Accurately Does Hollywood Portray Gambling?

Gambling has been the centrepiece for most mafia/casino movies ever made, and it has certainly had its fair share of representation in Hollywood. There have been a myriad of highly successful films that showcase gambling to some extent, and while it is very rarely the sole feature of a movie, we undoubtedly have seen enough of it in films to get a pretty good idea of how accurately Hollywood portrays gambling.

In this article, we will be taking a look at how accurately Hollywood portrays gambling, as well as also diving into why movies often choose to showcase gambling in somewhat of an unrealistic fashion. Let’s jump straight into it.

Heavily Romanticised & Exaggerated

Something that will jump out at you almost immediately when viewing any of the most famous gambling movies is that the whole concept of gambling is heavily romanticised/exaggerated. The gambler is made out to be the archetypal male that is just oozing with confidence and macho, and this can be seen time and time again in most movies that feature any male-leading protagonist.

This does make some semblance of sense – when most people think about gambling they begin to conjure up images of mafia bosses sitting back with a cigar in hand playing a game of poker, and it is no secret that many notorious gangsters have been heavily linked with gambling.

However, as you would expect, this is not very accurate. An average real-life gambler is just a normal person who just has a fondness for trying their luck at the end of the week, and the image of mobsters and gangsters handing out cards whilst conducting a business meeting is not a true representation of what the general clientele for gambling is.


The Focus Is Put On The Extremes Of Gambling

As is the case with most hobbies/scenarios that are played out in film, the focus is always put on the extremes. Almost every gambling movie you come across is going to feature a whimsical genius who knows how to play the casinos like the back of his hand and is willing to risk his entire life’s savings in order to make it big, and there is a good reason why this is the case.

I mean, you wouldn’t want to watch a movie focused on Dave who lives two doors down the street and likes to waste £10 down at the bookies, would you? The reason why movies always focus on the extremes is the same reason why you would find the same thing if you were to visit the newest online casino sites – extremes are just more enticing.

Nevertheless, Hollywood almost always seems to focus on the extremes when it comes to movies based around gambling, and this is undoubtedly one of the most noticeable ways that its on-screen depiction differs from that of real life.


It Isn’t Realistic, & It Isn’t Supposed To Be

Just as you would not expect the new Game Of Thrones prequel trailer to accurately represent what it would be like to live in a world full of dragons, magic, and ice demons, you should not expect gambling movies to properly depict what it would be like to be a gambling enthusiast.

There are a plethora of examples of realistic films that went too far out there that you could find that will easily sway you into believing that realism isn’t always a good thing, and in reality, the chances of a movie based around real-life gambling becoming successful would be slim to none.

Movies are supposed to provide entertainment and fun, not a knowledgeable lesson on the day-to-day impacts of gambling. Hollywood is not interested in being an educational medium through which you can learn about the ups and downs of gambling. Hollywood is interested in results, and if this means shifting away from reality entirely, then this is what they are going to do.

So, what is your opinion of Hollywood’s portrayal of gambling? Do you think its continuous exaggeration and focus on the extremes is a good thing, or would you like to see more movies made about gambling that view it in more of a realistic light? Whatever your opinion may be; truth be told, it makes very little difference.

Hollywood is always going to do what is the most exciting for viewers, and if this means drastically warping a hubby to suit their interests, then this is exactly what is going to take place. Catch you in the next one.


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