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Cool Real-Life Gamblers Who Got Movies Made About Them

Gambling movies are released now and then, but some are biographical that leave even the most seasoned bettors’ mind boggled. Hollywood has a habit of glamorizing the events that show them in contrasting light than the reality, still, there are some gems of movies based on real-life gamblers.

Today, OddsMax brings you the best biographical movies based on cool gamblers that is a must-watch for every bettor.

21 (2008)

When the book Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions first came out in 2003, it created a stir. Intelligence is a boon but if you use it to make some unprecedented advancements in the gambling sector it can turn more heads than you want.

The book was destined to be made a movie with its nonfictional details of how barely legal kids from one of the most prestigious colleges in the world gamed casinos. These kids developed complex card-counting system and became to known as the MIT Blackjack Team. At one time this elite team had over 50 card-counters. Now the 2004 Canadian made-for-TV movie titled ‘The Last Casino’ is loosely based on the book, but 21 stands out as an incredible gambling movie that every bettor must watch.

The movie indeed has some fictional elements, but the movie overall entices you to relive the moments into the MIT Blackjack Team that existed for over two decades. The storyline is based on the main character’s evolution played by Jim Sturgess, but it does contain some important gambling lessons that might be helpful to you.

Eight Men Out (1988)

Baseball is one of the most popular sport for the Americans, so it doesn’t come as a surprise when we have so many betting markets focused around the sport. In the early 20th century, Baseball had a different era and the struggle to remain corruption-free was real. You get the taste of how things were back then from watching Eight Men Out.

The 1988 classic flick is the closest representation of the shenanigans that took place in the sport. The story is entirely based on the infamous 1919 World Series games played between the Cincinnati Reds and the Chicago White Sox. During the series, eight White Sox players allegedly took payoffs from bettors to intentionally lose the series to the Reds in the best-of-nine series. The allegations were true, and the trust of the fans trembled to the core when the incident came to light. Later the eight players were acquitted from the trail but the newly-appointed baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis expelled all of them from the game and refused to consider lifting the ban.

Eight Men, Out is an excellent gambling movie that captures the pervasiveness and the immensity of the betrayal, shame and humiliation America faced in 1919.

Bugsy (1991)

Las Vegas seemed to be destined to become another ghost town among the shifting sands of the Mojave Desert until destiny tried to play its cards. The construction of the Hoover Dam from 1931 to 1936 brought thousands of construction workers to Las Vegas who had plenty of free time along with money in their pockets, thanks to their healthy paychecks. Also, the relegalization of gambling in Nevada in 1933 scribbled the fate for Las Vegas as the casino city of the world. However, for these things to kick there was needed a catalyst.

Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel became that factor. Bugsy was already mostly on the muscle side of the gambling business in Las Vegas. But he was not without his dreads. The Italian Mob, The Women’s League Auxiliary, the Untouchables and the IRS were on his trail and he knew that to survive for the next few years he will need to legitimize the dealings. That became the foundation of the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in 1946 that later became the Strip. The entirely mob-controlled casino was the best entertainer in the middle of the desert.

Warren Beatty gets everything right playing as Bugsy and the 1991 flick captures almost all facts right about the charm and violence in Bugsy’s life and the end his mysterious death.

High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story (2003)

Every gambler deserves to know the story of the real-life three-time World Series of Poker winner who is still considered to be the best poker player of all time.

High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story is the feature film based on the life of Stuart Errol “The Kid” Ungar who ruled the game of gin rummy. In his words, “I suppose it’s possible for someone to be a better no-limit Holdem player than me. I doubt it, but it could happen. But I swear to you, I don’t see how anyone could ever play gin better than me.”

The fact that he was so good at gin rummy (extremely popular at that time) forced him to leave the game and move on to poker as no one will play against him in Vegas. Backed by his high IQ and an eidetic memory, Ungar became a gifted poker player but only to fall into the perils of cocaine addiction.

The movie follows a flashback storyline in which Ungar narrates his life story to a stranger from his Las Vegas motel room. Michael Imperioli is undoubtedly the best choice for the role, making this anti-hubris move a must-watch for bettors.

Casino (1995)

Highlighting the true-life relationship between Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal and his mafioso buddy Anthony Spilotro, this fictionalized movie is based on the book Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi.

You will be left longing as the Casino has no sympathetic hero to root for and the gritter storyline makes it a hard watch but still you must watch this gangster movie for all its loveable Pesci portrayals and more. This move is again employing both Scorsese and De Niro that leaves us asking what’s with these two workings in all gambling movies together.


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