Once in a while, Hollywood treats casino players to a nice movie about gambling. Sometimes the film industry focuses on mob stories in Las Vegas. Sometimes they create a fictional story about how to steal millions from dollars from famous casinos.
In many cases, Hollywood uses cheating as a tool for winning in Las Vegas. They aren’t exactly wrong. Hundreds of people are caught trying to cheat their way into casino millions every year. In this article, we’ll take a look at movies that featured people cheating casinos. Did they succeed? Can their tricks work in real life?
Kevin Spacey’s film 21 might be one of the best blackjack movies of all time. But it initially received mixed reactions upon its release in 2008. Some people loved the fact that Spacey and his cast did a great job in telling the famous story of a group of MIT students who made millions of dollars counting cards in Las Vegas casinos in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
People who disliked 21 argue the film fell short on casting the right team. All the same, 21 was a box office success. The movie follows a group of MIT students as they swindle casinos money by using signals and counting cards.
In real life, counting cards in blackjack isn’t illegal—it’s just frowned upon. In the film21, however, card counting nearly costs the gang their lives and freedom. In fact, they lose huge chunk of their winnings to a security guard (Laurence Fishburne) who hunts them down for the better part of the film.
Casino Royale is yet another commercially successful Bond movie. Importantly, it’s one of the best-rated Bond movies of all time. It stars Daniel Craig as Agent 007 for the first time. So, what’s the film all about?
Casino Royale tasks Bond with the goal of apprehending a notorious terrorist financier called Le Chiffre. The best way to bring down Le Chiffre is to bankrupt him through a game of high-stakes poker.
Bond travels around the world before he finally meets Le Chiffre having fun at a poker table. At the Casino Royale, Bond starts off the game by winning the first round. But after he takes a break and gets into a fight that kills a gangster, Le Chiffre learns about Bond’s situation and uses it to win the next round.
The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
The Cincinnati Kid is a classic gambling movie. However, it left some people disappointed due to how it ended. The film stars a young poker fan called Eric “The Kid” Stoner and a more experienced gambler known as Lancey “The Man” Howard.
Eric initiates a challenge against Howard, hoping to become the best poker player in his town. But before he plays against the man, Eric gets into a game against William Jefferson, a wealthy business man.
Eric wins, angering the businessman. Interesting, Jefferson attempts to bribe Shooter, a dealer in Eric’s game against Lancey. Shooter initially refuses the proposal but later gives in, something he later admits during the Kid’s game against Howard.
Although Eric managers to have the dealer changed, he loses the final game against Howard.
Movies starring Robert de Niro rarely disappoint. Casino is a great example. Directed by De Niro’s friend, Martin Scorsese, Casino shares the stories of famous Las Vegas mobsters. It’s an action-packed film that reveals cheating in Las Vegas casinos at its best.
There’s kidnapping. There’s stealing, divorce, killings and illegal license suspensions. In fact, Casino is less about playing slots and card games in Las Vegas. Instead, it focuses more on the bloody side of a mob-operated Tangiers Casino.
De Niro stars as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a former sports handicapper who gets hired by the mob to help run the Tangiers Casino. Thanks to his efforts in blackmailing and cheating players of their wins, the casino doubles its profits quickly.
For better or for worse, Ace falls in love with a beautiful dancer who ends up being his downfall. The woman, Ginger, cheats with a former love. While Sam is focused on his marital problems, people begin to steal from the casino and the entire saga results into countless murders, arrests and Sam losing his job.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
You can’t conduct a casino heist without cheating the casino. However, you probably can’t beat any casino using the techniques George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and the rest of the cast of Ocean’s Eleven used.
To expound more, Ocean’s Eleven is a remake of a 1960 film about stealing $160million from Las Vegas casinos. The gang’s goal is to rob three casinos simultaneously—The Bellagio, MGM Grand and the Mirage.
It’s a perfect crime that involves a lot of planning, little violence and plenty of money involved. While there’s a myriad of challenges faced by the crew, they end up stealing money from the Bellagio—all without touching a single casino game.
Rounders is a film about black market poker tournaments. That means cheating is part and parcel of the game. It stars Matt Damon and Edward Norton. Damon acts as a gifted poker player with a dream to participate in the World Series of Poker.
But after losing $30,000 in a game, Mike (Damon) gives up on poker. This doesn’t last long. He gets back into the game after his childhood friend, Lester, is released from prison. Lester is a poker cheat who also uses Mike’s name to rack up gambling debts.
The debts forces Mike to play underground poker tournaments, including against gangsters. The film becomes interesting once Mike gets into a tournament against his nemesis, KGB. He risks losing everything including his life for a poker game. Luckily, he wins enough money to pay his debt. And he also saves some of the cash to pursue his dream to participate in the World Series of Poker.
Are These Tricks Applicable in Real Life?
Many of the cheating tricks displayed in casino movies can’t work in real life. You can’t break into the vaults of modern casinos—the security is insanely advanced. You still might consider counting cards or colluding with dealers.
However, these days most gambling is done over the internet, and it is hard to imagine using any of the casino cheats featured in the movies above. The only way to cheat an online casino is to use a hack. But the top casino sites, like these here for example, utilize the best technology and software to protect themselves from being hacked. So, unless you are not a super-duper hacker, your only solution is to find high-paying games and use legal strategies to improve your chances of winning.