Have you ever noticed how many times casino scenes come up in great movies? And have you ever stopped to think why that is?
Well, the answer’s pretty obvious; casinos are places where some high rollers pit their wits against the house or other players in a very direct way. It’s also kind of clean and simple; you win, you lose – that’s it, end of story. In other words, casinos are amongst the few places that are sure to give you a real adrenaline rush – and we movie-goers share that excitement vicariously, hence their popularity.
But which are the best casino movies and scenes of all time? Well, we aren’t all going to agree on this one – so here are two great ones to ponder on…
The Texas Hold’em Scene from Casino Royale
This is surely one of the most exciting casino scenes. Daniel Craig’s Bond is playing poker against the villain Le Chiffre, who has organized a game of high-stakes Texas Hold’em poker to recoup his earlier losses from Bond. Our hero, meanwhile, is aiming to beat and bankrupt Le Chiffre so he can make him work for MI6. Bond loses the $10m buy-in money he’s been given by Vesper Lynd, a British Treasury who then refuses Bond the $5m re-buy money – but Felix Leiter, a CIA agent, funds Bond on the condition that he agrees to CIA custody of Le Chiffre.
007’s fortunes then improve, despite the villain’s girlfriend’s attempt to poison him. The last pot is the crucial scene, and it’s a very tense one: there’s $100 million in it and Bond wins it with a straight flush to trump Le Chiffre’s full house.
It’s nail-biting stuff – as is real poker. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re probably going to lose. So if you want to learn, then learn for free. With mFortune, for example, you can practice your poker skills as the site has a no deposit option for games – including a dedicated slots no deposit area – to be played without a need to make a cash investment. Then, once you get playing and understand the many strategies and nuances of poker, start by practicing further with small stakes only. We can’t all turn into James Bond overnight.
Martin Scorsese’s Casino
As for the greatest overall movie ever made about casinos – well, the clue is in the title; it’s Casino, the 1995 movie starring Robert de Niro as “Ace”, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone, and directed by Martin Scorsese.
Most other movies concentrate on the action itself, the games, the heists, the robberies, the big wins, the thrill of the climactic card games etc., whereas Casino doesn’t really bother with any of that. Instead, it finds the mood of the time in a way that no other movie does.
The whole movie has you feeling exhausted over its three-hour length as you follow the lives of the three main protagonists at a crazy time in the development of Vegas. With a “more, more, more” lifestyle – you’ll pretty soon feel like you need a cold shower and a wholesome country walk or something. This is the mark of the movie’s greatness.
Interestingly, what helps make this a really great film is the role of Sharon Stone as Ginger – Ace’s wife. This film is a bit of a departure for the actress better known for more obvious roles, on the whole, so it’s a refreshing change to say the least. With this role Stone earned a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress, along with a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress – and she thoroughly deserves it; her character portrayal is simply superb.
As with his “Goodfellas” role, Pesci certainly adds to the action, playing a volatile and slightly crazy character, Nicky Santoro.
As for the most memorable scene – that’s a tough call. But how about the one where they eject the guy playing cards with his stockinged feet on the table? But then virtually every scene in this great movie is memorable.
There’s always a new movie in the pipeline that features casino scenes. On the back of the success of the Ocean’s Trilogy, Ocean’s 8 will be released in summer 2018. We’ll have to wait to find out whether this movie with its all-female heist team can better any casino movie scene made thus far. Whether the girls pull it off or not, there are bound to be many more memorable casino movie scenes. It’s been proven to be such a winning formula.