4YE Quicklist: Totally Unrealistic Gambling Scenes from the Movies

From glamour to drama and tension, using gambling scenes in casinos can bring a movie to life, moving the action along and raising emotions.  Some of the most dramatic backdrops are from casinos that you can actually visit, such as Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, shown in the movie The Hangover, winner of the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture in 2010, which is worth a watch even though it is included here as a film containing totally unrealistic gambling scenes.

21 (2008)

21 is a movie loosely inspired by real-life events published in the book “Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions” by Ben Mezrich. You can enjoy the top casino sites without needing to cause the same drama as the movie depicts playing in real Las Vegas casinos. In “21”, the MIT Blackjack Team use card counting to “beat the casinos” and win at blackjack games.

The movie has a totally unrealistic gambling scene relating to how Jim Sturgess is recruited to join the team. Counting cards is portrayed as being easy to master. In fact, whilst card counting is not difficult to learn, it takes time to master and then the rules and basic strategy of blackjack need to be fully understood before card counting brings success. All of this knowledge needs to be applied whilst under pressure since counting cards could bring down the house and see players barred from the casino.

The Hangover (2009)

This movie is not a gambling movie but like 21 makes counting cards appear to be something completely trivial, rather than requiring players to know 250 different playing outcomes before mastering a counting strategy, learning more than a dozen playing indices and an awareness of risk tolerance.

Also, we are told the friends escaped with thousands of dollars. However, this is totally unrealistic as their winnings were in casino chips, which are completely worthless until cashed in, which the casino would never do.

Casino Royale (2006)

James Bond movies often include scenes at a casino, but there is a scene in Casino Royale that stands out as being totally unrealistic. Our hero is playing the final hand in Texas hold ’em poker against three players. Bond is holding a straight flush, which is realistic, but the other three players are holding a flush, a full house with eights full of aces, and yet another full house with aces full of sixes which is so improbable as to be almost impossible.

Rounders (1998)

One of the best gambling-related movies of all time appreciated by many in the poker community since it provides one of the best depictions of what it is like to play the game. Unfortunately, it still has some totally unrealistic moments.

The movie is founded on the fact that Mike and Teddy are two of the best poker players of the underworld. Yet, in one scene, Mike loses big to this enemy Teddy KGB. The two characters are playing heads-up and Mike opens the bet with A/9 clubs. He makes a standard opening bet of USD500. Teddy flats and calls his bet with A/A hearts and diamonds (pocket aces). While things work out for KGB Teddy, the decisions he makes are ones no experienced player would make.

Erika Negrón Rivera
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