Poker and blackjack are indisputably the kings of casino card games, especially when it comes to making thrilling cinema action, but there are also some great movies involving counting cards.
Nothing quite catches the audience’s attention like a good old high-stakes card game.
Some films might feature online slots, or pokies as they are called in New Zealand, to show a player getting lucky – but only real card games promise that nail-biting intensity.
Watching two players who have gone all-in while each one is certain they have the winning hand is guaranteed to put viewers on the edge of their seats.
Let’s check out some Hollywood classics that feature the most masterful, card-counting characters to have ever graced the silver screen.
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
This Guy Richie film follows the story of four friends who hustle up enough money to get in on a high-stakes, underground poker game.
Unfortunately, they don’t realise that the organiser, a dodgy London gangster, has rigged the game and takes them for everything they have plus £1 million in debt.
What follows is a rip-roaring ride through the dark and dingy streets of London’s underbelly as the four friends desperately try to come up with the £1 million.
Anybody who has ever lost big at poker will relate closely to the shock and emotion conveyed in the gripping poker scene.
Loosely based on fact, 21 follows the story of six MIT maths geniuses who decide to take on Vegas by counting cards in blackjack.
Guided by their professor Micky Rosa, they make millions by targeting Vegas casinos in several carefully planned and well-executed outings.
Naturally, the money and pressure go to their heads.
When one game goes bad the group ends up in deep trouble with casino security.
The story is allegedly based on a real group of MIT blackjack players but has been given an injection of Hollywood action.
It all makes up for a wild piece of Vegas-themed cinema that will have you glued to the screen.
Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians (2011)
Holy Rollers is a lesser-known but highly-rated piece independent documentary about one of the most bizarre card-counting teams ever.
A group of strict Christians, comprising missionaries and pastors, make millionaires by counting cards in Vegas blackjack games.
While the card action is exciting, the film mainly focuses on the juxtaposition of Christians taking part in what they know is a sinful activity.
It features some intriguing interviews with some of the players as they attempt to justify their activities whilst make no apologies for them.
Stacy’s Knights (1983)
This classic Kevin Costner film is one of the earliest card-counting films ever made.
After Costner’s character, Will, teaches the beautiful young Stacey how to count cards, she wins big at a Reno casino.
However, the casino management figures out what she’s doing and has Will killed.
That’s when Stacey recruits a team to take down the casino and avenge Will’s death.
What do you make of this list?
Are there any movies on this list involving counting cards that you might like to watch?
Let us know in the comments below.
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