Some of the greatest movie scenes and indeed movies in general have taken place in the world of gambling and casinos. Even online casinos have had their fair share of the action these days – and why not? The world of casino games is already full of drama, action, excitement and intrigue; it’s perfect for a Hollywood blockbuster.
It was actually pretty tough to narrow down the list to just three of a kind, but these films all have pretty awesome casino scenes that any gambling fan should enjoy.
The coolest poker hand ever?
A scene from: Casino Royale (2005)
About the movie: The debut of Daniel Craig as Bond, James Bond, saw the most famous secret agent in cinema history rebooted in a darker, grittier and more realistic style. The movie opens with Bond brutally obtaining his first two on-the-job kills, and that sets the tone for the remainder of the film.
Based on Ian Fleming’s first Bond novel in which he must take on the criminal underworld in high-stakes baccarat, the game was updated to No Limit Texas Hold’em owing to the popularity of poker and especially online poker at the time of the film’s 2005 release. Not only did it popularize online poker, but the whole online casino industry got its fair share. The rise of online games likes slots, blackjack and roulette really became the fans favourite after Bonds blockbuster.
Bond must play a $10 million buy-in poker tournament with some of the most dangerous criminals in the world in a bid to bankrupt the terrorist mastermind Le Chiffre, played magnificently by Mads Mikkelsen.
About the scene: Spoilers ahead! The final hand of the movie has poker fans rolling their eyes for its ridiculous implausibility, but for the average movie-goer it’s pretty cool to see. The four remaining players have all their chips in the middle and turn over their hands.
Bond is facing a flush, a full house, a stronger full house and more than $100 million in the pot. Fortunately for him, he turns over a straight flush, defeating the table and setting up the next scene – an awesome high-speed car chase.
The quintessential card counting movie scene
A scene from: Rain Man (1988)
About the movie: Barry Levinson’s 1988 comedy-drama won four Academy Awards, including the tremendous trio of Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Additionally, Dustin Hoffman won his second Best Actor award for his portrayal of Raymond “Rain Man” Babbit.
The titular Rain Man is a savant based on real-life savant Kim Peek. Raymond has little emotional expression and a severe neurodevelopmental disorder similar to autism. However, he has picture-perfect memory and superhuman mathematical abilities.
The film follows Charlie (Tom Cruise), who seeks out his estranged brother Raymond in order to gain custody of him and their father’s $3 million estate. Along the way, they become close friends as Charlie learns to care for his brother.
About the scene: When Charlie finds himself deep in debt, he hatches a plan to teach the mathematically-gifted Raymond to count cards. The casino doesn’t believe that anyone can count cards in a six-deck blackjack shoe, but little do they know…
Honourable mention: The spoof of this scene in 2009’s smash hit comedy The Hangover, back when that was a fantastic and hilarious movie and not a mediocre trilogy.
The all-star heist goes off without a hitch
A scene from: Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
About the movie: A remake of the classic 1960 Rat Pack film, this Steven Soderbergh film redefines the term “all-star cast” with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Julia Roberts and Andy Garcia sharing the screen.
Clooney stars as Danny Ocean, a newly-released criminal who immediately sets out to rob Terry Benedict (Garcia), the owner of the Bellagio, Mirage and MGM Grand casinos in Las Vegas. They decide to do it on the night of a major boxing match, hoping to take more than $150 million – plus, Ocean hopes to win back Tess (Roberts) from Benedict to boot.
The eleven-man heist is elaborately set up, even as Benedict seems to be onto the gang and on the verge of putting Ocean away again, this time for good. But is everything as it seems?
About the scene: Again, major spoilers ahead! At this point in the film, we’ve seen the robbery take place and a SWAT team called in, resulting in the destruction of most of the $150 million and the police tracking down the team’s getaway vehicle.
Plot twist! It is revealed that the van contains nothing but scrap paper, was being driven by remote control, and the security footage that Benedict was watching was pre-recorded. Ocean had used a vault replica to stage a robbery while the team posed as SWAT members, stealing the cash literally under the businessman’s nose.
Oh, and naturally Danny Ocean does manage to win back the girl – again, with another tricky ruse at the expense of Terry Benedict!