Cinema has been well aware that casinos offer strong elements of thrills and excitement. There have been several instances of fictionalised takes on the casino and gambling life in film that, once watched, etch themselves into our memory because of the adrenaline rush they produce in us. This is even more so when high risk mixes with deft skills to produce high winning figures. While we keep at the back of our head that most of these fictional depictions are, at most times, too far-fetched to be true, we allow ourselves to be transported by our fantasy and fancy while we dream “if only…”.
In this article, we’ll revisit three of these most memorable wins in casinos on the silver screen in Casino Royale, Ocean’s 13, and Rain Main.
Ocean’s 13 — The Magnetron Scene
When the shrewd gambling connoiseurs-cum-crooks played by Brad Pitt and George Clooney put their plan into action at the casino run by Al Pacino, total chaos ensues in just over 3 minutes. The two make use of magnetron devices masked as lighters to jam the entire casino’s security system as well as the machines. The management is helplessly locked inside the control room as they restlessly observe through closed-circuit cameras players throughout the entire main hall take down this empire one metaphorical gold block at a time. The rising figures displayed in digital neon light combined with players’ glee at every table contrast with the frenzy and dismay displayed by Al Pacino and his crew, adding up to a truly entertaining scene.
Casino Royale — The Texas Hold’em Poker Scene
James Bond has been interpreted by several different actors over the years. However, in my books, Daniel Craig arguably stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Sean Connery, together making the two best candidates for Bond movies ever. His suave, British style and glacial demeanour verge on the unreal, even if in a way we could easily imagine James Bond being impersonated. And his appearance exudes a level of self-confidence and poise that fits the picture perfectly as he plays a few high-profile hands of Texas Hold’em against Le Chiffre, a terrorist financier played by Mads Mikkelsen — a top choice for the role of villain in several movies and TV series.
After having previously lost to Bond, Le Chiffre organises a private and exclusive high-stakes poker table to try and win back his money. MI6 signs Bond up for a tournament at Casino Royale in Montenegro. The intention is to make Le Chiffre go for bankrupt so then they can persuade him to join MI6.
After the other two high-profile players shovel in 6 million and 5 million respectively, followed by Le Chiffre’s exorbitant 12 million, Bond and Le Chiffre take turns at one-upping each other by calling ‘all in’ and betting everything down to the last chip. Le Chiffre looks self-confident when he lays a full house on the table. After a few moments of pause, Bond tops that with a straight flush and doesn’t bat an eyelid. Typical Bond!
Rain Man — Counting Cards
It’s hard for any movie featuring Blackjack, or casinos in general for that matter, to succeed in topping the tragic-comic emotional rollercoaster Rain Man is. This 1988 Best Picture Award-winning piece featured two reconciled brothers — Charlie and Raymond – played by Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. Charlie is egocentric hustler who’s hit a life crisis. As his father dies, he finds out that he left a will of $3 million to someone else. Charlie discovers that this someone else is his brother — Raymond – whose existence he wasn’t aware of. However, Raymond is an autistic savant. Charlie kidnaps Raymond from the institute where he resides and takes him on a lust-for-life tour to Las Vegas with the intention to claim the money from him.
However, things take 2 interesting turns — The rocky relationship develops into one of deep brotherly love through ups and downs. The second interesting turn is that Charlie realises that Raymond’s autistic condition allows him to count cards to perfection at Blackjack tables, which eventually gets them in trouble with the casino management.
Charlie’s escalating frustration with his brother’s condition is displayed magnificently in several scenes as Raymond is out of touch with the reality surrounding him in a child-like a playful manner. As the two descend into the main hall of the casino, the chaos of people scurrying around and buzzing sounds and dazzling lights intimidate Raymond. This lies in stark contrast with his complete unfazed demeanour he displays when the two brothers keep on winning and the numbers rolling in. Rain Man is a brilliantly set timeless piece.
If you’ve seen these movies and other ones featuring memorable casino scenes, you might be feeling a little nostalgic and in the mood for some gaming at the tables. If so, head over to our casino review section, choose a casino that offers the services that fit your needs, and get playing! Who knows? You might get lucky with wins bigger and better than those in the world of fiction!