Hollywood has a bit of a reputation for not always getting things quite right. From slipping on the details of how the legal system operates, to a profound misunderstanding of what is medically possible, to recently, creating a nightmarish human cat hybrid for a musical adaption (that last one is probably a different discussion, but it’s hard to get over just how off-putting they look). One of the areas which rarely gets a fair shake on how they’re represented is the casino scene – you’ll see hands come down to the wire and the hero landing a Royal Flush right at the final hand. It’s rarely like that, you just need to watch a World Series of Poker final to see how it usually goes. But every now and then a movie gets deeply immersed in the material and provides an accurate rendition of what it’s like to play in the casino.
There isn’t a good roulette one we could find though, so if you’d like to see an example of what it’s like, your best bet would be to have a look here: https://casino.betfair.com/c/live-roulette.
21 – How Card Counting works
Helps that it’s based on a true story, but 21 does a great job of explaining what it’s like to play Blackjack and how card counting works. Inspired by the actions of an M.I.T team of geniuses who would fly out to Vegas and form card counting gangs to monitor tables and signal when a deck was “hot”, the methods employed are all valid means to count cards. And, perhaps also importantly, the casino’s counter measures are all also fairly accurate. A casino is a business after all and card counting can seriously hurt the bottom-line even if it isn’t cheating, so it’s no surprise they’d mark people who win suspiciously often and eventually operate an exclusion policy. Although there are a few creative liberties, it gives you a good rundown on how to play Blackjack.
Rounders – Poker Tells 101
It’s a little iffy just because of how intense they make the whole thing look but Rounders does a good job of showing, in a metaphorical manner, how poker tells can be read by skilled players. It’s a little on the nose with things like blinking, finger-taps and other minor elements but while it’s exaggerated, this IS how reading a poker player works. Even KGB’s tell at the end with the Oreos is probably a little extreme but by leaving it up to the audience to conclude what exactly it was helps to give people a primer in how reading tells is supposed to feel. It helps that the poker they play is all accurate too.
Dr. No – Baccarat anyone?
Finally, we come to one of cinema’s most famous gamblers, James Bond himself. Bond is a renowned gambler and his first appearance on screen is of him winning at Chemin de Fer and announcing that his name was Bond. James Bond. It’s a great moment but it also demonstrates pretty well how the game is played as (despite his cheating) Bond demonstrates a firm understanding of the rules and how to play the game.
What do you think? Is there a movie that better demonstrates how the casino world works? Let us know in the comments below!