Overlooked gambling-themed movies you should watch

Written by: Staff Writer

Gambling has forever been a beloved theme for movies, but there are some excellent examples of gambling movies that haven’t had the attention they deserve.

John Malkovich holding playing cards in Rounders

John Malkovich in Rounders

It’s hard to say exactly what makes a movie “gambling-themed”. Although the Oceans 11, 12, etc… movies are set in Vegas, most people would refrain from calling them gambling-themed.

There are the old-school gambling movies, such as Mel Gibson’s Maverick, complete with riverboats, moustached gentlemen and girls in corsets. Then, of course, there’s the the capital of gambling: Las Vegas, which is the backdrop for 90% of all gambling-related movies.

It’s hard to find a more iconic setting for the modern-day gambling than Vegas, and it shows.

21 is based on actual real-life events, and this 2008 movie starring Jim Sturgess and Kevin Spacey is sadly overlooked. The movie starts out following the everyday life of Jim Sturgess’ character, Ben, a man who is not very interesting but is very smart. Once one of Ben’s professors, played by Kevin Spacey, sees the potential Ben has his life soon takes a turn for the more interesting as he becomes involved in a card-counting team which frequently visits Las Vegas.

In 2017 many of us might think of gambling mainly as betting on sports, buying a lottery-ticket, online casinos and online betting. Like everything else, gambling is always evolving. In some movies we even get to see that evolution, often through a younger protagonist going up against a gambling-veteran such as when Mike McDermott faces off against Teddy KGB in Rounders.

Another movie which clearly portrays this evolution is Shade. It’s hard to imagine a movie starring Sylvester Stallone being categorised as overlooked, but here we are. In Shade, we follow a group of individuals who use various methods to shift the odds in their favour while gambling. Aiming to take down the largest hustler of them all, Stallone’s character Stevens, this movie sure takes you on a ride which makes you wonder why you weren’t on this ride over a decade ago, when the movie was released.

Are there any we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.

Author: Staff Writer

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