“All In” Playing casino games can often evoke powerful, uncontrollable emotions, creating the rush of gambling that many find so pleasurable. When movies manage to successfully recreate this sheer buzz it can lead to some epic and awesome scenes. Here’s a look at some of the most intense gambling moments in cinema ever.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Guy Ritchie’s seminal London gangster flick was all centred on the main character’s loss of £500,000 to a cockney crime lord in a game of poker. Released in 1998, this was before Texas Hold’em enjoyed its massive surge in worldwide popularity, so the film’s protagonists played a different form called Three Card Brag. Eddy, the card sharp seeking a windfall in the game believes he is an expert at getting a read on his opponents. But Hatchet Harry, the antagonist, has a crony spying on the cards and relaying the information to him. When Eddy loses everything, his world comes crashing down around him to the tune of “I wanna be your dog” by The Stooges.
Although Daniel Craig is not generally considered as the best James Bond ever, Casino Royale is regarded by many as his most enjoyable outing as the spy. The film is based on a high stakes game of Texas Hold’em poker in Montenegro. Released in 2006, this was a perfect time to jump on the rising popularity of this version of poker and pull in audiences who were fans of the card game. Online poker was just getting big, and events like the World Series of Poker were becoming more prominent in the mainstream. 007’s slick domination of his opponents (shown in the video above) has inspired even more players to try their hand at Hold’em. Practice at 888poker if you want to be as cool as the MI6 spy.
The Deer Hunter
Michael Cimino’s epic Vietnam War drama features a harrowing scene that has major repercussions on the characters in the movie. Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken are captured and sent to a Prisoner of War camp where the sadistic guards force them into playing Russian roulette while they gamble on the outcome. The Americans pull of a daring escape but Walken’s character is scarred irreversibly which leads to a devastating turn of events later on.
Joe Pesci won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the psychopathic Tommy in Martin Scorsese’s phenomenal gangster movie. One of his finest scenes is during a poker game when a misunderstanding results in Pesci pumping the waiter full of lead. The other wise guys watch on in amazement as Pesci casually goes to look for a shovel.
Due to the worldwide popularity of casino games and gambling, it has been captured on the big screen numerous times over the years. Other great films to check out are Rounders, Cool Hand Luke, and Ocean’s Eleven.