Casino movies are all about high-stakes, drama and tension. The viewer wants to be entertained and thrilled. They want to put themselves in the shoes of a high roller who does not fear losing it all, like they would be when playing online casino games in real life.
When logging into your Virgin Games account, you would not expect to walking away having won millions, which is often the case within these movies. However, there is something that can be taken away from watching casino movies. Watch and learn the masters at play.
Learning from the classics
From the classic casino movies such as Cincinnati Kid (1965) and The Sting (1973), to new releases such as Counting Cards (2021), there’s no shortage of movies to learn from. Despite not featuring online casinos, these tactics can be applied universally to casino games.
Some of the most poignant lessons to learn from the most well-known movie titles include the following:
It’s a risky business
One thing all these movies have in common are the high stakes. There would be no tension or drama if these movies simply followed your average Joe tentatively making decisions.
In fact, the main character often loses it all before finally winning it back at the end.
There is not one casino movie that does not show the importance of practice. Whether it’s your poker face, counting technique, or the way in which you read your opponent. One thing this genre agrees on is that practice is essential for successful game play.
Be a good loser
In casino games, whether you’re playing in an online casino, or in a physical casino, no one wants to play with a bad loser. Composure is everything, which means that you must lose graciously, no matter at what cost.
Similarly, winning humbly is also the accepted behaviour at a games table.
It’s all about the money
This point carries forward form the last. The game is only about the money. Feelings must never cloud judgement, as this always ends badly within the movies.
Online casino games and real-life casino games are all about decision making processes, tactical and strategy-based game play. Learn how to read the room and your opponent’s face.
Casino Movies Vs Real Life
Although it’s easy to get swept up in the glamour and glitz of Hollywood movies and think that you’re a poker pro, it’s important to remember that the main characters in these films don’t have to truly face the consequences of their high-risk stakes. At least not in the same way as the viewer would.
The differences between casino movies and real-life casino games include:
- High stakes
- Big win at the end by the protagonist
- High rollers
- Less regard for consequences
Despite the authentic settings these movies offer, don’t be fooled – you’re not really in Vegas.
Top Tips from Movie Scenes
Discover some of the best casino movie scenes you learn from, even if you’re playing online casino games in the comfort of your own home.
Counting Cards Scene in 21 (2008)
21 is a fact-based movie that centres around six MIT students who learn how to become experts in card counting and take Las Vegas for millions. Taught by their maths professor, Micky Rosa, played by Kevin Spacey, you can learn from the intricate card counting scenes.
The best scene is the card counting scene which features Ben, played by Jim Sturgess. You listen as he runs through his counting process in his thoughts as the cards are being dealt. Watch how he progresses through the game to win at Blackjack.
Final Scene in Rounders (1998)
The final poker scene in Rounders, a movie about a law student playing poker at night to fund his tuition fees, is full of tension and suspense. A baby-faced Matt Damon is in a Texas Hold’Em showdown with John Malkovich’s intimidating character.
This scene sees high stakes at play, with no music score that only heightens the tension. The final showdown is a great example of keeping your cool, maintaining your poker face and understanding your opponent’s Poker Tell.
‘Let’s Play Some Cards’ scene from Rain Man
Receiving four Oscars, Rain Man is an acclaimed movie, about an autistic brother who uses his mathematical genius to count cards in Las Vegas. Featuring Dustin Hoffman as Rain man and Tom Cruise as his brother, this film features some iconic casino scenes set within an authentic Las Vagas backdrop.
Counting cards is a risky business and this high-risk approach raises the tension and provides high stakes for the brothers. Watch the master of counting at work, but also learn to stick to the games you are good at.
Final Poker Scene in Casino Royale (2006)
Adapted from the original game of Baccarat to three big rounds of Texas Hold’Em, this final poker scene in Casino Royale is all about composure. Watch James Bond, the master of the poker face, perfect his game, while trying not to die of a heart attack since he was poisoned by his drink.
This scene is all about the stakes. From the tiny details, such as how the cards are handled by the players, stacking the chips and the movement of the eyes. The authenticity of the game oozes out of this scene.
Casino movies continue to entertain audiences, since they provide thrill-based, high tension, atmospheric narratives that excite, even non-casino goers in the audience.
Even though these movies don’t compare the realities of online casino platforms, like Virgin Games, or real-life casinos, they do allow the viewer to learn a few tricks of the trade, while fanaticising about what they would do with the high-stake winnings.