Hollywood and gambling can produce iconic movies and incredible performances. What’s even better is that online casino players can stand to learn from watching these five iconic movies that can teach them how to become better gamblers.
In 2019, Adam Sandler shocked fans by trading potty-mouthed comedy for his serious portrayal of gambling addict Howard Ratner in Uncut Gems. Written and directed by brothers Benny and Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems has been recommended as one of the best movies of 2020. In fact, many people in Hollywood believe that Sandler was overlooked for a nomination for Best Actor at the 2020 Academy Awards.
The plot of Uncut Gems sees Sandler’s Howard running a jewellery business in New York City’s diamond district. Howard is a sketchy character whose shop is found in the back corridor of a non-decrepit office building. And what’s worse is that the shop is frequented by gun-toting gangsters who are deadly serious about reclaiming debt from Howard.
Given the subject matter, it’s clear that the debt has been generated through gambling. The lesson to learn here is that gamblers need to have limits if they want to thrive. With Howard, rather than fall back on his business, he sees gambling as the route to resolving his problems. In fact, even when things are going well for Howard, he continues to hustle and can’t resist one last bet to try and improve his standing.
Mississippi Grind was released in 2015 and has appeared on major streaming services, with viewers likely drawn in by the presence of Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn in the starring roles. And Marvel fans could be set to see much more of Mendelsohn, who’s rumoured to be in contention to play a villain in the next Captain Marvel movie.
Writer-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have created a movie that can take viewers on a journey through the highs and lows of gambling. And these moments show just how the mentality of a gambler can matter as much as their knowledge or skill. Mendelsohn’s Gerry is so focused on luck that he will continue to wager and even risk his entire bankroll just because he’s in the middle of a hot streak and believes he can’t lose.
With gambling, anybody can lose and that’s the lesson to learn here. Yes, the cards might fall favourably in one session but don’t let that distract from the need to adhere to a clear strategy. Crucially, every gambler should figure out how much they are prepared to lose and walk away if they fall to that level. Equally, every gambler should have a target and walk away when they have profited.
Practice Makes Perfect at Online Casinos and the movies showcased here are all played in person, whereas 888 Casino can let gamblers play online. For the uninitiated, 888 is the most trusted and oldest online gambling site out there. Users can register with 888 and start to play blackjack, baccarat, roulette or online poker from a desktop or mobile device.
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Blackjack has typically struggled to carry an entire movie when compared to the nuances and competitive nature of poker. However, Jim Sturgess and the cast of 21 didn’t get the memo. Directed by Robert Luketic, 21 is based on the true tale of six MIT students who beat Las Vegas with statistics and by counting cards.
In the late-1970s, Bill Kaplan earned thousands of dollars playing blackjack and graduated from Harvard. By 1992, the veteran had played all over the world and would meet the infamous MIT graduates. The MIT Blackjack Team even started a company for the specific purpose of counting cards. In the film, viewers are treated to a lesson in how cards are counted.
With card counting, there’s little benefit now because casinos are so good at spotting counters and will merely eject them from the premises. Meanwhile, there is no way of counting cards in games of online blackjack. Even still, 21 is a thrilling watch in which viewers can pick up valuable blackjack skills and learn the importance of mathematics and strategic play.
Rounders was released in 1998 at a time when stars Matt Damon and Edward Norton were on the rise in Hollywood. What’s also fascinating about this film is how its release preceded the online poker boom between 2003 and 2006. Arguably, this film would have become even more popular if it had happened to be made and released during the boom.
Directed by John Dahl, Damon’s Mike is a streetwise college student struggling to pay the bills at law school. At the same time, Mike dreams of making it to Las Vegas to play Texas Hold’em in the World Series of Poker (WSOP). However, Mike’s slow and steady approach is turned upside-down when friend Worm shows up, fresh out of prison.
What’s so enjoyable about Rounders is how Mike namechecks famous players like Johnny Chan, who’s famous for winning the 1987 and 1988 WSOP main event in consecutive years. During the film, Damon comes against the excellent John Malkovich as gangster Teddy ‘KGB’. The brilliance of Rounders lies in the generous pacing of the poker scenes, which aren’t rushed like in other poker movies.
The Cincinnati Kid
Starring the legendary Steve McQueen, The Cincinnati Kid was released in 1965 and feels like the precursor to Rounders. Based on the novel by Richard Jessup, The Cincinnati Kid has set his sights on dethroning ‘The Man’, as played by Edward G. Robinson. There are some marathon poker sessions to enjoy as ‘The Kid’ works his way up to playing ‘The Man’.
There are some brutal scenes in which strong hands lose to even stronger hands. While watching these scenes, it’s a vital reminder to be wary of stronger hands and to show restraint at times when a flush or straight is involved. The Cincinnati Kid is also superb for understanding table etiquette and has likely educated countless young players over the years to knock the table when saying, “Check”.
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