Gambling and the silver screen have long been partners, almost since the day films first came into being. We conjure up images of the one-horse town as a stranger rides in, ties up his horse (if he remembers), bursts through the saloon doors and stops the poker game right in its tracks. Or more recently, the complicated planning of a heist on a series of Las Vegas casinos or the lean, mean spy earning his licence to kill.

One of the earliest films about gambling is Smart Money in 1931 which focuses on a Greek immigrant with unmatched poker skills who makes his fortune in the US. And the majority of casino films have played to these stock images we have of fun, skill and a bit of luck mixed with suave, sophisticated players and glamorous ladies winning vast fortunes. No doubt these silver screen images helped fuel the growth of online casinos and if you’re looking to experience the thrills and spills for yourself, you can find the best payout online casino canada here

What Happens in Vegas

Probably one of the most iconic wins of the silver screen must be the $3 million from one single spin that Jack makes on the slot machine in “What Happens in Vegas” from 2008. It may not be the first gambling film that comes to mind, but it’s certainly one of the most dramatic involving the slots as the story then continues with Joy and Jack finding ways to grab the winnings from each other.

Rounders

Of course, Rounders (1998) is often considered to be one of the best films ever made about gambling with its portrayal of professional poker players, the large wins, losses and arrogance that accompanies them. The final between Mike and KGB is tense but Mike keeps his cool and eventually ends up with his $60,000, pays back his debt and escapes the death threat looming over him as a result.

 

Casino Royale

No list would be complete without a mention of James Bond and Casino Royale – and here we’re talking about the 2008 edition with a win of a life-altering $100 million. Fortunately, our favourite spy manages to out-play his nemesis to not only win the jackpot but to then somehow kill him off after the win to complete the story.

21

There is even more money up for grabs in 21 (2008) which is based on the true story of the MIT Blackjack team that used illegal card counting to win vast fortunes from several Las Vegas casinos. In the film, we see the team winning sums such as $200,000 and even $640,000 with some significant losses in between to provide a bit of drama.

The Gambler

Another gambling film with a lot of tense drama is The Gambler (2014) as Jim has to keep borrowing money to pay off his debts and the only way he can do this is by winning big at the casinos. Unfortunately, the more he plays, the more he loses and of course the loan sharks come after him. Eventually, Jim plays the final game, wins his fortune, pays off his debts and walks away a free man.

Of course, there are many more iconic casino-based films such as the ever-popular Oceans 11 (12 and 13), The Hangover, the Color of Money, The Sting, Rain Man and many more.

Final thoughts

The adrenaline, suspense and thrills of a casino are the perfect ingredients for a successful film and we can certainly expect more in the future. But these experiences are not just limited to the silver screen.  If you’re looking for some escapism, a good film is hard to beat but a casino can provide the real wins.