The 5 Best Gambling Movies to Watch if You’re Feeling Lucky

While there are not a lot of people who need a particularly long persuasion process in order to drag themselves to the nearest casino, there are a couple of ways to set themselves in the mood. Watching gambling movies is one of the ways to ensure that your subsequent gambling experience is dialed up to 11. So, here’s our list of the best gambling movies out there.

1.Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels

When looking at Guy Ritchie’s early work, you get a combination of admiring an interesting movie with the excitement of discovering the early works of some of your favorite actors. For instance, this movie features Jason Statham, before he was a major action movie star, as well as Jason Flemyng and Vinnie Jones.

The movie plot revolves around high stakes at an illegal gambling operation that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the London underground of the era. It’s a great refreshment really and deviates from the rest of the trope, which mostly features Las Vegas. Lastly, if you even needed another reason, it’s a movie worth watching more than once in your life.


Rounders is not a niche movie for poker lovers. It’s an amazing cinematic masterpiece with Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Malkovich, and Gretchen Mol in lead roles. It does have a problematic main theme of a reformed gambler returning to the table and turning his life around through poker. Needless to say, this is not realistic, it’s not commendable, and has a number of troublesome connotations hidden within.

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On the other hand, seeing as how poker is one of the most popular casino games and that its rules are understood by the majority of viewers, the dynamic of the movie is quite easy to follow. Just don’t try to recreate what you see in the movie and you should be all right.


While some would rather describe Casino as a mafia movie rather than a casino movie, we must remind you, once again, that the term “casino movie” describes a motif that appears in a movie rather than the genre itself. Therefore, Casino is definitely a casino movie. Not only that, but it’s Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece, as well as one of the best movies ever made. Like many other Scorsese movies, it’s three hours long, so don’t turn it on unless you know you have enough time to finish it.

The story itself focuses on the early days of Las Vegas. Not the foundation of Las Vegas, referenced in The Godfather that takes place decades before. Instead, it refers to the golden age of Vegas, in the time when it was still run by the wise guys. The movie quote “In Vegas, everybody’s gotta watch everybody else,” can now be listed amongst the most popular funny gambling quotes out there. It’s one of the best examples of the situation in which life imitates art, instead of it being the other way around.

4.Casino Royale

Watching a Bond movie, any Bond movie, is an idea that doesn’t really take much persuasion. These movies are packed with adrenaline, seat-grabbing moments, and interesting plots. They also feature beautiful women (in this particular case we’re talking about a stunning Eva Green), chilling villains, and one of the most iconic movie heroes of all time (this time portrayed by Daniel Craig).

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Furthermore, to explain just how much life imitates art (just how far it can go), it’s worth mentioning that there’s even a betting strategy called James Bond. It’s a strategy in roulette where you place three bets that cover more than 67% of possible outcomes. In a way, it’s a variation of Martingale. Naturally, the movie Bond, would more likely bet all or nothing.

5.Ocean’s Eleven

Why would a casino heist movie be listed on a gambling movies list? Well, first of all, because it heavily features gambling in virtually every scene. Second, it captures the casino spirit better than the majority of gambling movies do. You see, the majority of people go there for the experience and the high-end casino experience is something that the majority of players will probably never get a chance to experience. Here, they can at least live it through art.

Then, there’s another reason for watching. You see, every casino loss feels somehow personal. So, watching a movie that features a successful casino heist may bring a certain dose of personal satisfaction to the gambler in question. Through the losses of the fictional casino targeted by Clooney and the crew, you can live your fantasy of a personal vendetta.

TV Shows as an Honorable Mention

It goes without saying that movies are not the only show that can capture the spirit of high-end Las Vegas casino life. TV shows like Las Vegas do a perfect job of depicting how a massive casino operates on a daily basis. It follows the lives and adventures of the casino hotel’s staff and has an incredible cast, while at it. The show also features a long list of celebrities.

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Boardwalk Empire is another great show that shows what gambling looked like in the roaring 20s, while prohibition was at its peak. While it has other focuses and motifs (moonshining, speakeasies, early days of Italian mafia in the States), casino life is also heavily featured. After all, the series takes place during the formation days of Atlantic City. Also, it features Arnold Rothstein, one of the most notorious gamblers of all time. This alone would be enough to qualify the series for this list.

Needless to say, the list goes on and on.

Wrap Up

Keep in mind that the role of the movies is to entertain you, however, if you pay close attention, you might be able to learn a lesson or two. Moreover, it’s a time-travel machine of sorts. Both the gambling and casinos have evolved over the course of time. So, if you want to feel what it was like in the old days, this is probably your only choice.

In the words of Ace Rothstein (Casino), describing present-day Vegas – “Today it looks like Disneyland. And while the kids play cardboard pirates, Mommy and Daddy drop the house payments and Junior’s college money on the poker slots. In the old days, dealers knew your name, what you drank, what you played. Today, it’s like checkin’ into an airport.”

Watching movies from this period is the only way to bring these days back (at least for a couple of hours).

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