Sure, blackjack is not as exciting and dramatic as poker, but over the years, a large number of hugely successful movies based on the game (or at least with some unforgettable blackjack scenes) have come up. While the game revolves around creating a hand not exceeding 21, things get complicated when you sit on the table and put money at stake. Here is a list of some of the best movies made on this fantastic and iconic casino game.
A mathematics professor in one of the best colleges on earth training his best students in the best blackjack tricks to defraud casinos – how cool can things go? This is exactly what this movie is about- the infamous MIT blackjack team that gave nightmares to casino bosses all over the place before greed made them turn against each other, leading to their downfall as always. The lingo may be a bit difficult to follow, but that also makes this film a cult classic among experienced players.
Starring Alec Baldwin, William H. Macy and Maria Bellow, this Vegas casino movie has to its credit 8 Academy Awards from 18 nominations! It begins as a romance with the ‘cooler’ in the casino falling in love with a cocktail waitress, thereby angering his boss. The real fun is when he tries to do away with the luck of the casino patrons.
Chances are you’ve heard the movie’s name earlier. Aith a name like Croupier and starring Clive Owen, it is an unsurprising favorite among casino goers. Violating all casino rules, jeopardizing all his relationships and even his life at one point, this movie is a perfect demo of how addictive blackjack can be. Love, manipulation, betrayal, heists – everything that one associate with the casino life comes neatly packaged with this movie, with a few extra punches thrown in.
This somewhat blandly named movie is more about one particular blackjack scene than the game itself. Having an ensemble cast of Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone, this 1995 movie has its decisive moment. When Pesci catches some gamblers ‘spooking’, a form of cheating in which someone stands behind the dealer to peep into what he is dealing and passes on the information to his associates at the table. Pesci gives the cheat the option to hand over his winnings or to get his fingers smashed by him. You must catch this movie to know what happens next.
Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in a casino movie. Exciting would be an understatement, right? Automobile dealer Charlie finds that his estranged rich father has left his large fortune to his other son Raymond, who is an autistic savant and whose existence he was unaware of. During a road trip together, Charlie discovers the mind-blowing calculating abilities of his brother, and together they decide to visit Vegas and play some blackjack games. Though they both get thrown out of the casino towards the end of the movie, both of them win enough to get their lives back on track. This multiple academy award-winning film fascinatingly explores how money and human relationships get intertwined.
Having a heady cocktail of Las Vegas, casinos, blackjack and romance, this is a tragedy and comedy rolled into one. Harold Bensen seemingly has a jinx on blackjack dealer Willie Brodax and can’t lose to him. He is obsessed and follows him around with his wife, Bonita. A suspicious Willie has some meetings with Bonita, and eventually, they fall in love. The real fun begins when they plan to murder Harold to get his life insurance. While the movie was a dud at the box office, over the years it has made a place in the hearts of diehard blackjack fans.
This is slightly different from your typical casino story, and through a team of devoted blackjack players, it tries to explore gambling and Christianity. This documentary follows the rise and functioning of the Church Team, a card counting blackjack team that was active from 2005 to 2011. It is directed by Bryan Storkel, a former member of the group based primarily in the Seattle area. He eventually had winnings of more than $3million from casinos over the course of 6 years. The Church Team is considered to be the most well-funded and the largest blackjack team in America operated solely by churchgoing Christians.
If you are a new player, just watching these movies closely can go a long way in upping your skills. So grab a tub of popcorn and sit down with any of these on a Sunday afternoon to get high on the surprisingly exciting world of blackjack!