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Must-see movies about gambling based on true life

According to world gambling statistics, 26% of the global population gamble. The idea of taking a risk, and winning big is completely thrilling and could even be life-changing. If you want to experience the drama of putting in all of your chips, there are some amazing movies about gambling and casinos that you can watch.

These movies aren’t just about the James Bond glamor of rubbing elbows with professional roulette players whilst sipping Martini. They really give you a taste of the nitty-gritty that comes with winning big, taking a chance, losing it all and enjoying the ride. 

21 – 2008

The shady fictional gamblers in movies like Maverick and James Bond often rely on sheer luck, gumption and a good suit to win their games. They often have a gray sense of the rules too, and would certainly break the CAP code for not being socially responsible. The movie 21 however, directed by Robert Luketic, is based on the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team. This group of social misfits certainly don’t depend on luck to win their games, instead relying on their genius-level math skills.

The students trained to become experts in card counting and covert signaling, which helped them to massively increase their probability of winning. The MIT Blackjack Team made millions in the Las Vegas Casinos and inspired a new generation of gamblers to study the science behind the card games. 

Molly’s Game – 2017

Molly’s Game is another great movie based on a true story of overcoming adversity. The incredible Molly Bloom had trained for years as a professional skier, but her career took a downturn when she was injured whilst training to compete in the Olympic games. Molly Bloom, played in the movie by the charismatic Jessica Chastain, took a drastic career change and moved into the world of gambling.

One of the owners of The Viper Room nightclub approached Molly about organizing poker nights in the basement of the club. This inspired Molly to start her own events businesses, running high-stakes games, which attracted the rich and famous to play. Unfortunately, it also attracted the attention of the police. 

Owning Mahowny – 2003

Owning Mahowny is a must-see thanks to the superb acting by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. This biographical movie is about a Toronto bank manager who embezzled more than $10 million from his employer, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, to fund his gambling habit. Owning Mahowny shows a completely different side of gambling, far away from the glitz and glamour of the Atlantic City casinos.

The movie is about the spiraling pain that gambling addiction can cause, and the lengths some people will go to in order to feed their habit. Seymour Hoffman portrays this brilliantly, and as a viewer the terror and panic is almost palpable. 

The risk of gambling always makes a great subject for high drama in the movies. This is made even more captivating when you know that you’re watching a true story unfolding before your eyes. 

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