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8 Of The Greatest Gambling Scenes From TV & Movies
What makes a casino or gambling scene great?
It’s not the amount of money at the table – though that helps. It’s the true stakes at play: the characters, how invested we are in what they’re doing, how much of a risk they’re taking. The great gambling scenes don’t just show great hands at poker or blackjack, but they help advance a movie forward and leave us on the edge of our seat.
The Sting: All Aboard.We begin our journey through the top casino/gambling scenes with a great scene between Paul Newman and Robert Shaw aboard a train in the Best Picture winner, “The Sting.” Why is the scene so great? Because the poker game isn’t really a game – it’s a con perpetrated by Robert Redford’s and Paul Newman’s characters; they have more on the line than just money.
Casino Royale: Poker in Montenegro.Maybe this doesn’t qualify because 2006’s Casino Royale featured a number of poker scenes across an entire sequence – but it was this sequence upon which the plot of the movie hinged and helped anchor its spot in our hearts as one of the best Bond movies this side of Sean Connery.
Austin Powers: Living Dangerously.From a Bond film to a Bond parody: how can we ignore Austin Powers? When confronted with the villain known as “Number Two,” who successfully hits 21 in blackjack when he should have stayed, Powers hilariously decides not to “hit” in blackjack when he really, really needs to. “I also like to live dangerously,” says Powers.
Rounders: Redemption.Rounders does a great job of demonstrating what poker is actually like, and it ingeniously finds a way for Matt Damon’s character to redeem himself when the opportunity arises; we’ll spare the rest if you still haven’t seen it.
Vegas Vacation: Guess the Number.Desperate to find low-limit games, Chevy Chase’s character in Vegas Vacation goes to a casino that has games like “guess the number,” with the dealer keeping a number from one to ten in his head.
Rain Man:Counting Cards. Who can forget Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman coming down the Vegas elevator in their new grey suits as Cruise uses Hoffman’s character’s savant ability to count cards? If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll likely never forget this scene, either.
Casino:Watch the Eye in the Sky. One of the fascinating things about the movie Casino is how intricately it explains Robert De Niro’s character’s role in managing a casino – and the scene in which he explains the chain of command is a must-see for anyone who wants to think they can beat the house.
Swingers:No Luck with Blackjack. The famous “Vegas, Baby, Vegas!” sequence sees a young Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn not have so much luck with the blackjack tables, even though they’re trying to look like high rollers. A word of advice: wearing a suit does not make you a high roller.
None of these top 8 scenes take place via an online casino, but perhaps the greatest casino scenes of the future will take place in an internet casino. Such a scene could bring power players from around the world together in an instant. Who knows what Hollywood will bring us next year? Only time will tell.
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