Important Lessons Learnt from Gambling Movies

Gambling films form a niche genre in Hollywood and have been around for decades. These movies are generally highly entertaining, thrilling, gripping and some are even based on true stories. But are these films only of entertainment value and nothing else? Actually, we believe that there is quite a bit that you can learn from gambling movies - in fact, they could just make you a better punter or even a more successful casino owner among other things.

So, without any further ado, let's take a look at some iconic Hollywood gambling movies and what you can learn from them.

Casino - 1995

Casino - 1995

There is a reason that the 'Casino' is on top of our list of gambling movies. This film by the amazing Martin Scorsese is depiction of none other than Franky 'Lefty' Rosenthal who is played by the befitting Robert De Niro.

If you want to know how to run a casino in true mobster style and what mistakes to avoid, then this movie can certainly teach you a thing or two. We must concede that owning and operating a casino in the today's word is a much more well regulated and civil process, but to say there is no casino underworld involved would be rather naïve.

An iconic dialogue in the movie is actually a knowledge bomb in its own right - quoting De Niro "Listen to me very carefully. There are three ways of doing things around here: the right way, the wrong way and the way that I do it".

A very specific detail that the movie addresses which is highly relevant even for today's casino owners and operators is floor layout. In fact, Ace's layout which is depicted in the movie, is actually very close to the standard recommended layout when it comes floor plans in modern land-based casinos.

Some pointers laid out in the July 2014 issue of Indian Gaming points the below as some of the important casino layout objectives -

  1. A gaming machine mix which is well balanced
  2. Strategic planning, sizing and placement of the main corridors and walk ways
  3. The perfect spacing between one slot machine and the next
  4. Strategic planning, sizing and placement of secondary corridors and walk ways

The many benefits of a well thought out floor plan have been captured perfectly in this movie for you to see first-hand.

The Hustler - 1961

The Hustler - 1961

This black and white movie can give you an insight into the world of high stakes pool betting like never before. It is no surprise that the movie has been rated 8/10 on IMDB. Not only is a fantastic gambling movie which has everything one could ask for, but there might also be a lesson or two to learn from it.

If there is one thing that has been portrayed in this movie - it is about how people deal with losses. The protagonist, Paul Newman is as cool as a cucumber and his character can teach you how to be calm, composed and bad-ass in the most stressful of situations.

When it comes to responsible gaming, this movie can really knock some sense into you. In fact, you may just question whether gambling is really worth it at all. The losses, both money and personal losses, that have been depicted in this film from the sixties aretragic and certainly not for the light hearted.

Take away - you can go big, but remember that you can also lose big!

Rounders - 1998

Rounders - 1998

The Rounders is a more modern film than the ones mentioned thus far. This is all about the poker tables, and the action is intense to say the least. Starring Matt Damon, this is no B - grade film by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, ask the majority of Poker players what their favorite movie is, and odds are that you will hear "Rounders" quite a bit.

The movie is based on a man named Mike who is more than just a law student, he is also a bit of a habitual gambler and he is out on a mission to get back at the man that cleaned him out economically.

For Poker players, there is not too much to learn in terms of strategy and odds, but there is a little section about pre - internet poker theory which a real eye opener even for seasoned poker players.

While this movie does teach you a lot about how poker rooms used to operate and how much trouble you could get in by playing poker, it will also leave you itching to play a hand right after the movie ends.

The Sting -1973

The Sting -1973

Last on this list, is the American Caper film 'The Sting'. It is rated 8.3/10 on IMDB and for most people, it is arguably the best movie on the list. Also, it is probably the only movie on the list which has some humor in it. The movie is premised around aelaborately planned horse racing con where the two heroes are out seeking revenge on a villain that is a bit of a silly goose.

This movie can really give you an insight into the world of horse racing, how races are fixed, how results are influenced, and the whole nine yards. Especially when it comes to betting on horse racing prior to the internet era, there is nothing quite like this movie.

Another thing this movie can really teach you is how the seamless a relationship and communication between two close friends can get. In the movie, the two main characters, Newman and Redford know each other to such a good extent that they do even need to exchange words in order to communicate, all it takes is a quick glance at the other one, and it is almost like you can read your buddies mind. All in all, a really good movie to give you a behind the scenes look into horse racing, and also a top quality movie in its own right.