There is something special about gambling movies, isn’t there? No special effects, no fiction, just raw and relatable entertainment which plays with your emotions on so many levels. The suspension we experience by watching casino movies can almost be compared to actually gambling yourself. So bring the popcorn,
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Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford) is a small-time con man who rarely tries to get in over his head. When he unknowingly steals from notorious crime boss Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw), Doyle exacts his revenge by killing Johnny’s partner. Now Johnny is seeking to avenge his partners’ death, but not by getting blood but going for Doyle’s wallet instead. Johnny aims to team up with experienced con man Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman), and the two of them plan the ultimate con. The stakes are high, but the reward makes it all worth it. The only question is will they win?
When two mobsters move to America’s favorite playground, Las Vegas, they plan to make a statement and a lasting legacy. Ace Rothstein (Robert De Niro) and Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci) show viewers through their eyes the ins and outs of the mob involvement within Las Vegas casinos in the 1970s and 1980s. Together they make a powerful duo, Ace the smooth running operator of the Tangiers casino and Nicky, the loyal henchman who isn’t afraid of a little violence to get things done. But each of them has a fatal flaw that could destroy the empire they are building.
Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels
Eddy (Nick Moran) has been hustling people at cards for years. When he gets the word about an illegal high stakes card game that is hosted by neighborhood crime boss ‘Hatchet’ Harry (P.H. Moriarty), Little does he know the game is crooked, and he ends up owing ‘Hatchet’ Harry 500,000 pounds. After overhearing his neighbors in the apartment next to him plan a heist against some drug dealers, he and three other friends decide to take part in the messy heist to steal the money they plan to repay Harry. After all, their lives are hanging in the balance.
Cool Hand Luke
Luke Jackson (Paul Newman) is a man who does play along with normal societal demands. His peers more often describe him as a man with more guts than brains. As a man in prison, being sent there for decapitating parking meters, Luke is idolized by his peers and classified as having a “cool bravado.” His unbreakable spirit is one his traits that makes him so likable with his fellow inmates, yet loathed by the superiors who run it. Perhaps it’s the constant battles with adversity that make him a hero and a villain within the prison population.
As a 00 agent, all your missions are expected to be dangerous. Even if that means going up against a terrorist-supporting banker. James Bond (Daniel Craig) knows this well as he goes into his first ever missions as a 00 agent, one that leads him to a high stakes poker game in Montenegro where he must win back his money back by taking down Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). Taking down Le Chiffre at the poker table can mean taking down the terrorist market, but if James Bond is to succeed will it mean he will remain safe?
When you mix talent and a self-destructive attitude, you end up with small-time pool hustler “Fast” Eddie Felson (Paul Newman). His bravado often gets the best of him, and in one instance it leads him to challenge the legendary pool player “Minnesota Fats” to a high-stakes pool match. A match he ends up losing. Broken and shaken of his confidence, it’s only after hitting his lowest point when he teams up with ruthless manager Bert Gordon to him work his way back to the top, even if it means it could cost him his soul and everything he holds dear to his life.
Charlie Babbit (Tom Cruise) has only ever cared about himself. Having grown up estranged to his father, he believes when his father passes away that he has left for him a $3 million inheritance in his will. Charlie is stunned to learn the money instead went to his brother, an autistic savant who Charlie never knew. Charlie decides to visit his brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) and take him on a west coast trip in order to get the inheritance money, a journey that leads them to Las Vegas where Charlie sees an opportunity to capitalize on his brother’s special talent.
What happens when you bring together 11 guys with different background and personalities and 150 million dollars on the line? You get the greatest heist in history. Led by Danny Ocean (George Clooney), these men will attempt to rob Las Vegas’s biggest and most well-known casino operator, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) at his three casinos. This robbery will be anything but easy, and each man will encounter a twist and turn that could unravel the entire operation before everyone’s eyes. The only question mark is will they all be able to work together cohesively and pull it off?
Bob Le Flambeur
Within Paris’ Montmartre district lives an old gangster and former gambler who has seen better days. Bob Montagne (Roger Duchesne) is on a big-time losing streak, with the last straw being his big loss at the Deauville casino. After learning about how much money the casino keeps in the house during the weekend of the upcoming Grand Prix, Bob decided to exact his revenge and plot a robbery against it. Everything appears to be going as planned, that is until the word comes back around to the police. It seems Bob will need a little luck to make it all work.
Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas), despite being a very wealthy San Francisco banker, is a loner. When his 48th birthday comes around his brother Conrad (Sean Penn) suddenly reappears into his life despite having given in to all kinds of addictions in his life. His brother gives him a unique card, one that gives Nicholas entry into a highly unusual form of entertainment. Curiosity gets the best of Nicholas, and he decides to check out Consumer Recreation Services (CRS). However, Nicholas quickly begins to realize that very strange, and terrible things, start to happen to him upon his visit.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Johnny Depp plays Raoul Duke, an oddball of a character who decides to drive to Las Vegas with a suitcase full of drugs with his partner Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro). Having taken some prior to their trip, they begin to take hold on the two of them just about halfway to their destination. Their psychedelic escapades lead the two of them on a crazy journey, one that has them encounter police officers, reporters, gamblers, racers, and even hitchhikers. Their drugged up minds lead them to one goal in mind – searching for the “American Dream” within the modern American West.
McCabe & Mrs. Miller
A charismatic, yet dumb minded, John McCabe (Warren Beatty) finds himself arriving into a young Pacific Northwest town in order to set up a tavern and brothel. He encounters a shrewd professional “madam” who goes by the name of Mrs. Miller (Julie Christie) who has agreed to help him run his business by tapping into her experience and expertise within the industry. As the brothel starts to thrive, the two of them begin to develop feelings for one another, despite their constant differences. When a major corporation wants to buy them out, they must decide how compatible they really are.
Regalo di Natale
When a group of longtime former friends decides to meet up again after having spent years apart, they plan to make sure this Christmas will be unlike any other. They collectively decide to rip off a rich industrialist in a game of poker. As the game is being played each of them conjure up old feelings and memories filled with conflict and mistrust. However, they also face the nostalgia of the lost friendships they once had. Despite this, are they able to stay focused enough and win the poker game?
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
The Crazy Horse West is a gentlemen’s club that is owned by a current vet who also happens to be laconic and a gambler. Cosmo Vitelli (Ben Gazzara) is making the last payments on a gambling debt only for him to end up losing 23,000 dollars in a game of poker. It is bad luck indeed because the guys he owes money to are not the friendliest bunch who are demanding immediate payment. They decide to give him an ultimatum to clear him of his debts, one that involves killing a Chinese Bookie.
Leaving Las Vegas
Ben Sanderson (Nicolas Cage) is going through a rough patch, one that has seen his wife leave and take away their soon. As a result, he turns to the one thing that has never let him down before -drinking. His obsessions with the bottle lead him down an isolated path, especially as Sanderson troubles women in bars because of his futile attempts to have sex with them. He ultimately loses his job and decides it’s time for a change, leaving everything behind him and moving to Las Vegas where he can drink himself to death.
A Big Hand for the Little Lady
While en route to San Antonio, Texas to buy a farm, a naive couple stumbles upon a poker game happening between the richest men in the region. The man cannot resist the urge to play, despite being a very poor poker player. He bets all the money his family has, and in the most climatic part of the game, he suffers a heart attack. His wife decides to take his place at the table and salvage all the savings her husband had wagered. There’s one problem, and that is someone will have to explain to her how to play poker.
What Las Vegas is to people on the west coast, Atlantic City is that to the citizens who reside on the east coast. At, least that is what the plan is when old buildings are being replaced by new hotels casinos. Sally Matthews (Susan Sarandon), who currently works as a waitress at a hotel oyster bar, is determined to adapt to this evolving town and is training to become a blackjack croupier in order to work the casinos.
Dou San (God of Gamblers) – Gambling Movie
Dou San, also known as “The God of Gamblers” (Yun-Fat Chow), is a legendary gambler thanks in part to supernatural abilities he has. When attempting to help a friend pay off a debt, a freak accident occurs leaving him with partial memory loss and the mentality of a child. Despite his physical and mental ailments, those close to him know he has not lost all of his powers, and they decide to try him out at a few local gambling halls. This leads to a final showdown at the card tables where the stakes have never been higher.
Follow the Bitch
While partaking in a weekly single guys all-night poker game, one of the regulars decides to go against the grain and bring along a woman he knows to the game. After all, what could go wrong? Turns out a lot when she surprises them all by being an excellent poker player herself. On top of it, things within the group get even more complicated when two of the guys admit to a third friend they actually have girlfriends and have been cheating on them all along. It seems things at the weekly game are unraveling before the host’s very eyes.
Waking Ned Devine
Ned Devine is the winner of the national lottery and feels he couldn’t be luckier. That is until he dies from the shock of it all. The news of his majestic win starts to spread around the tiny Irish village Ned resided in, but not yet the notice of his death. As officials for the lottery begin to close in on him to confirm that he has claimed the prize, Ned’s closest friends decide to come up with a scheme that will allow the money to stay close to home – all in Ned’s memory.
Rounders – The Ultimate Gambling Movie
New York has many private clubs that cater to high-stakes poker games. In fact, it is the thrill of being in one that law student Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) can’t resist. So much so that he ends up losing his entire life savings to a Russian club owner known as Teddy KGB (John Malkovich). Having been embarrassed by Teddy, Mike decides to step away from the game for good until his old friend Worm (Edward Norton) gets released from prison and gets him involved in a $15,000 debt he must pay. That is if he wants to stay alive.
The Cincinnati Kid
It is the 1930s in New Orleans, and a young and highly impressive poker player known as the Cincinnati Kid (Steve McQueen) has just pulled into town. He has made a living traveling all over the place, going from one big game to the next. Along the way, he entertains himself with a gal or two. Upon his tenure in New Orleans, where he expects his time there to go just a smoothly as the other stops, he finds himself pitted against a legendary card-sharp by the name of Lancey Howard (Edward G. Robinson).
Axel Freed (James Caan) is a highly successful college professor who just so happens to be addicted to gambling. He’s the typical gambler, winning big one hand and then losing it all on the very next. However, his addiction only gets worse and worse when Freed borrows money from his girlfriend, his wealthy mother, and a loan shark – none of whom he can pay off. It is only after his girlfriend leaves him, his mother disowns him, and when the mob wants to kill him that he decides to make one last big score with his dignity and life at stake.
House of Games
When a famous psychologist, Margaret Ford (Lindsay Crouse) decides to help one of her patients get out of a large gambling debt, she thinks she might be in over her head. Upon visiting a bar where Mike (Joe Mantegna) is, and the same bar where the debt is owed, she notices pokers games are being played. Mike is able to convince Margaret to help him out by having her look for “tells” or give-away signs by other poker players. The task seems simple enough, but can it remain that way?
Eight Men Out
Based on a true story, Eight Men Out is a story about the Chicago White Sox team of 1919, arguably one the most talented teams in baseball history, and how they ended up throwing the World Series. Driven by bitterness thanks in large part to their frugal owner Charles Comiskey, multiple players decide to throw the World Series after schmoozing with some gamblers. Two years later the truth finally comes out. The men are found innocent in a court of law, but guilty in the eyes of baseball. The result: a lifetime ban from the game of baseball.
Louis Cropa (Danny Aiello), a part-time bookie, realizes that his restaurant has become infested by troublemaking characters. While juggling having to please a high strung food critic (Sandra Bernhard), Louis also is faced with a hostile takeover from a pair of gang members (Michael McGlone) who want to cash in a debt owed to them by the sous-chef (Kirk Acevedo). To add to the trouble, Louis has a big fight with his son (Edoardo Ballerini), the star chef, who is the main reason for the success of the business.
Happy-go-lucky single guy Charlie Waters (Elliott Gould) is a casual gambler who ends up rooming with two friendly prostitutes (Ann Prentiss, Gwen Welles). Together with his serious betting friend, Charlie becomes obsessed with the world of gambling as he starts to seek out bigger and bigger payouts. While the two do experience some success and lucky moments, they also have to deal with some serious setbacks that might destroy their gambling binge as the stakes keep getting higher.
The Music of Chance
Jim Nashe (Mandy Patinkin) is recently divorced from his wife and has decided to travel the country. Along the way, he picks up Jack Pozzi (James Spader), a professional gambler who just lost everything after being robbed at a game. Nashe decides to back Pozzi in a high stakes game that Pozzi is sure that he will win. However, they lose it all and end up becoming captives of two wealthy men who keep them as indentured servants on the gated estate. Nashe decides to seek revenge the best way he knows how.
Dan Mahowny (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a Toronto bank employee who seems to have it all together on the surface, but he is actually living a secret life. His girlfriend and coworkers don’t realize that he is a gambling addict who has to steal from the bank to pay off his increasing debts to his bookie, Frank (Maury Chaykin). Casino boss Victor (John Hurt) convinces Dan to continue better, which leads to more debt that becomes harder for Dan to hide.
Jack Manfred (Clive Owen) is an aspiring writer who is hired to work as a croupier at a casino. He works at the casino at night and writes by day, but his girlfriend Marion (Gina McKee) becomes increasingly frustrated with him as his life becomes more and more consumed by the casino. As the relationship crumbles, he meets a gambler named Jani and becomes romantically involved with her. She is a down-on-her-luck gambler who has a plan to win it all back, but she needs Jack’s help to pull off the heist. Can he trust her to pull off the plan?
There have been suggestions that Jack Manfred was the inspiration behind Jonny, the virtual mascot for Jonny Jackpot Casino.
The Lieutenant (Harvey Keitel) is a dirty cop who has amassed huge gambling debts. He abuses his position of power to sexually harass teenage girls, steal money, and do illegal drugs. His bad behavior finally catches up with him a mob gangster finally delivers an ultimatum: pay back everything he owes, or else. The Lieutenant thinks he is out of options, but he learns of a $50,000 reward that is being offered for the capture of two criminals who raped a nun (Frankie Thorn). Will the Lieutenant be able to redeem himself?
The lovers of the “Maverick TV series” get a film update on the lives of the characters. Cardshark Bret Maverick (Mel Gibson) wants to join a high stakes poker tournament that has a big payout. However, to enter the tournament, Maverick must come up with a large sum of money that he doesn’t have yet. To get the money, he cheats Annabell (Jodie Foster) and Angel (Alfred Molina) in the first round of a card game. Because of his deception, he makes enemies of them both who are now determined to get their money back. Maverick also most some evade the cunning marshal (James Garner) who is also after him. The film is a hilarious conclusion to the story of beloved characters.
The Color of Money
“Fast Eddie” Felson (Paul Newman) is a former pool hustler who decides he wants to get back in the game and mentor a new player. He discovers Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise) who has talented but still has a lot to learn and proposes to take him under his wing. Eddie begins to teach Vincent the art of scamming but eventually grows tired of Vincent’s flashy style. Finally, the two have a huge argument and a falling-out, leading Eddie to take up the game again. Soon, the two players cross paths, and it is a teacher versus student showdown.
Bernie Lootz (William H Macy) is an out-of-luck guy who is single and lonely. He works at a Las Vegas casino where he is employed to use his seemingly innate ability to bring bad luck and misfortune to everyone around him by jinxing gamblers into losing. His boss (Alex Baldwin) is pleased with the money that Lootz is bringing into the casino, but Lootz begins to find happiness again when he starts to date a beautiful waitress (Maria Bello). His change of fortunes begins to affect his job, so the casino boss tries to interfere with the relationship.
Gabriel Caine (James Woods) is a smooth-talking con man who has just been released from a Georgia prison. He quickly falls back into his old ways and meets up his partner in crime, Fitz (Oliver Platt), and they travel together to isolated Diggstown. Once they arrive, Fitz and Caine quickly find the wealthiest resident, the former boxing manager John Gillon (Bruce Dern). They bet him that they know someone who can beat the town’s ten best fighters in just one day. Once Caine gets “Honey” Roy Palmer (Louis Gossett Jr.), an old boxer and acquaintance, on board, the fight is on.
711 Ocean Drive
Mal Granger (Edmond O’Brien) is a telephone repairman with a secret passion for betting on horses. He uses his electronic skills to criminal use by assisting a gangster named Vince Walters (Barry Kelly) in an illegal racing wire operation. When Walters is murdered, Granger takes over the illegal operation. However, his quick success is noticed by mobster Larry Mason (Donald Porter), an east coast mobster who wants a piece of the operation, and Lieutenant Pete Wright (Howard St. John), who suspects Granger of murder.
Holy Rollers: The True Story of Card Counting Christians
Based on a true story, this documentary follows the Church Team, which was a card counting blackjack group. The group had roughly 30 investors, 40 players, and trainers and managers to help keep the operation running. At one point, the team played with more than $1.2 million in investors’ money and won more than $6 million from casinos over six years. While they did find great success in making money at casinos, how will they handle their faith in the world of casinos and high stakes gambling?
The story continues in the third installment of the Ocean’s series. It follows Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his fellow gang members as they plan revenge after a casino owner Willy Bank ( Al Pacino) scams one of their own, Reuben Tiskhoff. Ocean and his gang try to reserve the precedence that the house always wins and then try to ruin Bank’s prized reputation as the only hotelier to have earned the Royal Review’s Five Diamond Award at all of his properties.
Nick Venezelos (Edward G. Robinson) is a Greek barber who has just been cheated by big-city criminals. Thanks to his reputation for being lucky, he returns to beat the criminals and get his money back. Nick uses his winnings to pay back the townspeople who loaned the money and invests the rest of the money in opening a gambling parlor, using his barbershop as a front. Even though the games are honestly conducted, the district attorney tries to shut him down, using his weakness for blonde women and the goodness of his best friend, Jack (James Cagney).
Any Number Can Play
Charley Enley Kyng (Clark Gable) is an illegal casino owner who has just been diagnosed with heart disease. The doctors advise me to spend more time with his family, but Kyng is having trouble keeping his work separate from his personal life at home with his family. His family is ashamed of his career choice and line of work, and it starts to cause trouble for his young son. Kyng’s brother-in-law (Wendell Corey) starts to get in trouble for fixing games due to his deep gambling debts. All the trouble causes an estrangement amongst his family.
21 is a fact-based movie that follows Ben Campbell (Jim Strugess), a student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Needing some cash to pay his tuition bills, he teams up with a group of students who are coached by professor Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey). They use their math skills to scam casinos and win big in Las Vegas. He is later seduced by his beautiful teammate (Kate Bosworth) and the piles of cash that he wins. Campbell starts to realize that the stakes are higher than he ever dreamed possible, especially after crossing paths with a casino enforcer Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).
The movie follows the story of New York mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel (Warren Beatty) as he departs New York City for the glitz and glitter of Hollywood, California. He aims to build up a syndicated gambling racket, but quickly becomes distracted by an actress Virginia Hill (Annette Bening). He begins to court her, even though he has a wife and child waiting for him back in New York. Siegel becomes obsessed with creating a haven for gamblers and works with others to build up Las Vegas. He quickly runs into trouble by his rash construction of the Flamingo Hotel.
The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw
In 1906, professional gambling will be outlawed in three weeks. Burgundy Jones (Reba McEntire) has only those few weeks to get Brady Hawkes (Kenny Rogers) to San Francisco for one last poker tournament, that will feature a special mystery player. However, Jones’ job isn’t easy because Hawkes is still suffering after a loss from another professional poker player, who will also be playing in the tournament. This is the fourth installment in the series and gives the players one last chance to make their money back and win the tournament.
A gambler in his 60s, Sydney (Philip Baker Hall) randomly meets a young man, John (John C. Reilly). John has just lost all of his money while in Las Vegas after trying to win $6,000 to pay for his mother’s funeral. Sydney takes pity on him and offers to show him how to get a free room and dinner. Fast forward two years and John continues to learn from Sydney. He begins to fall for a cocktail waitress named Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow) who also moonlights as a prostitute. She begins to cause trouble for Sydney and John and puts their entire operation at risk.
Two for the Money
Brandon Lang (Matthew McConaughey) is a college football star whose career ended after a knee injury. He finds work handicapping football games, and due to his success, catches the eye of Walter Abrams (Al Pacino), the top leader at one of the biggest sports consulting operations in the country. The two begin to work together and start to make large sums of money. Abrams teaches Lang everything he knows about the game, leagues, and players. Everything goes well for a time, but then Lang stops researching the game and begins to make guesses based on intuition, and everything starts to go south.
The Big Town
The year is 1957. J.C. Cullen (Matt Dillon) is a young man who comes to the city to work as a professional gambler and seek his fortune. He quickly becomes the pawn of two hot-shot professional gamblers, Mr. and Mrs. Edwards (Bruce Dern and Lee Grant). Cullen gets caught up in a revenge scene, and before he knows what he is doing, he becomes romantically involved with two different women. One of the women is married, while the other is a nice girl. As the story progresses, he nearly ends up losing his life due to the schemes and plots of others.
During the Great Depression, a businessman (Jess Bridges) is struggling to cope with the death of his beloved son. He teams up with a jockey (Tobey Maguire) who has experienced brutal injuries and an out-of-work horse trainer (Chris Cooper). Together, they try to train Seabiscuit, an undersized racehorse that no one else wants to work with due to his temperamental nature. From the start, they struggle with working with the horse and don’t win any races. However, as time goes on, Seabiscuit becomes one of the most successful racehorses of all time and helps to inspire the entire nation.
Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is an out-of-luck poker player who has fallen into debt thanks to his gambling habit. He meets up with a young traveler named Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) and decides that Curtis is his lucky charm, and they should travel together. As the two gamble their way down south, they make their way to a high-stakes poker game that is taking place in New Orleans. Throughout the trip, the pair try to win back what has been lost. The trip tests them though, and their trip characters and motivates are revealed, and a deep connection begins to form between the pair.
Killing Them Softly
Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt) is an enforcer who is paid to restore order after three amateur crooks steal from a Mob protected game. The robbery causes the entire local crime community to turn upside down and halts all the illegal card games. Once Jackie meets with the mob, he struggles to get an understanding of the situation and realizes that the obvious suspect might be innocent. As he gets further into the mission, he starts to realize that the job is complicated by an alcoholic hit man who might have lost his touch, incompetent criminals, and misinformation.
Huck Cheever (Eric Bana) is one of the best poker players in Las Vegas, but emotions sometimes can get the best of him. Cheever is trying to balance a love affair while competing for a spot in the world championship game in Las Vegas. He is also battling with an estranged relationship with his father, L.C. Cheever (Robert Duvall), who is a two-time World Series of Poker Champion. If the younger Cheever makes it to the final round of the championship game, he might have to go up against his father.
The Greatest Gambling Movies of All Time Conclusion
What did you think of our 50 best gambling movies of all time list? Did we miss one that you would include or do you disagree with some of the movies we did have? If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy IMDBs list of their top gambling movies. If you have had your fill of the movies and are ready for the real thing, why not try out Captain Spins casino, where you can get up to 1200 free in bonuses and 260 Free Spins.