Many movies about casinos show a little of what happens in Vegas. There is all the glamor, and if you are lucky, you will see what happens when you make the wrong decisions after winning. The online casino scene has bloomed so much at the expense of land-based gaming houses, so most young people haven’t had the chance to venture into Vegas. These movies show some of the things that go on – even behind the scenes, which is why viewers cannot get enough of them.

The Hangover – 2007

The Hangover crew comprises four interesting characters: Doug Billings – cheerful and careful bachelor; Phil Wenneck – sarcastic Elementary School teacher; Stu Price, a dentist; and Alan Garner, Doug’s eccentric and immature future brother-in-law. What could go wrong, right? Everything. Doug’s future father-in-law allows him to take his vintage Mercedes-Benz W111 with him to Vegas, and so they set off on the road trip of their lives. The best Hangover gambling scene is when they wake up in Vegas, drunk, high, and totally unaware of where they are or what day it is, yet Doug has to get married at some point. They also have a baby whose mother they do not know, and Stu married an escort while under the influence.

The focus gambling scene in this movie is glamorous, and they win way too much for it to be real. Still, it manages to do what it was intended – entertain thoroughly.

Maverick – 1994

Bret Maverick is on his way to a poker tournament where he intends to show his skills at the 5-card poker game that requires $25,000 as an entry fee. He is $3,000 short and needs to top-up quickly to gain access at the futuristic casino where all the action is for the night. He makes one too many mistakes, wins and loses so many times, and manages to get back up quite a number of times. It might not be Mel Gibson’s best work, but it still stands out when films on gambling are mentioned.

Uncut Gems – 2019

Arno, the loan shark, loans Howard Ratner cash to satiate his gambling appetite, but the former cannot pay yet. He runs a jewelry store in NYC where a black opal is shipped from Ethiopia illegally. His business partner brings in basketball star Kevin Garnett to the store as the black opal is being brought in, and Garnett asks to hold on to it for good luck during that night’s match. Ratner places a bet based – like any intelligent gambler would do at the best payout online casino – on Garnett’s good game, which he wins, but Arno had stopped the bet based on monies owed. One of the differences between land-based casinos and an online casino site is you cannot stop someone else’s bet on the latter. Now, Garnett loses out on a $600,000 win. He is locked up in Arno’s car, and several events lead to loss and death.

What makes this film so captivating is Garnett’s skills. He manages to pull the viewer into his world, where he makes so many bad decisions that make you wonder whether he can be salvaged. There are several good and extremely sad moments as Adam Sandler – Garnett – delivers his best act yet.


Ocean’s Eleven – 2001

The presence of George Clooney and Brad Pitt in this film lets you know from the get-go that little or no degenerate behavior will be on the menu, which is what we have come to expect with any movie about casino gambling. The scene is on one of those grand casino movies set in Vegas, and these two gamblers are out to outdo each other with class and charm. Do not go into it expecting all the street fights and insults as gamblers try to square off. Rather, you will be treated to the bourgeois self-importance of the top gamblers in a Vegas casino who refuse to fold, even when everyone around them can see they are out of luck.

The Gambler – 1974

James Toback’s character in this movie makes it the banger it has been for years. The main character is more addicted to the danger and self-destruction from gambling than the games themselves. He plays Russian roulette when the non-too-keen viewer thinks of it as poker and other games. He is more focused on losing, starting wars through arguments, and losing, though he could make better bets to win. In the end, his obsession with danger puts him in such a perilous situation since the gamble could pay off – where he gets himself killed. The movie has a 2014 remake that could never hold a candle on the original, primarily because of Toback’s talent and skills.


Hollywood has lots of material for movies that expose the casino industry since the industry has so much dirt to show. Most of them do not detail how some players keep losing, but they do show a good picture of what to expect when you become a gambler. They are entertaining and informative.