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Roulette: Is the reality the same as the movies?

Maybe it’s those final tense moments as the ball slowly meets its final resting place on the wheel. Here are the most popular roulette films of all time.

Roulette: Is the reality the same as the movies?

Roulette is without a doubt one of the busiest tables in the casino, no matter where you go. Vegas, Macau – in any of the best casinos in the world, you’re sure to find the hustle and bustle of the roulette crowd. 

You’ll see professional gamblers with stacks of chips piled high, and there will be casual bettors with a couple of chips in one hand a drink in another just looking for some fun. They all gather round to place their bets and then watch that small ball bounce around the wheel until it comes to a stop on one of the numbers, and only luck will then reward them with prizes.

The attraction of the roulette table has always been strong, ever since the casinos started to flourish in the 1970s. Casinos were appearing everywhere and so the world’s fascination with the roulette wheel began. 

Watching games in popular movies entices movie fans to play the games themselves. Here are five games featured in some of our favorite movies.

The game has always been linked with glamour and entertainment but perhaps the original inventor, Frenchman Pascal, never expected his beloved game to grace the film screens of Hollywood and the rest of the world. The game has a certain charm to it that makes it perfect for the big screen. 

Maybe it’s the shiny wheel, the towering stacks of chips, or perhaps it’s those final tense moments as the ball slowly meets its final resting place on the wheel. Whatever it might be, several directors have already decided to set up the cameras around the table in some of the most popular films of all time.

Roulette in the movies

Roulette has been portrayed across the big screen in a different manner of ways from the glitz and glamour to the corrupt underworld. Perhaps the game has been made most famous by one of the all-time classics, Casablanca. Although not set within a real casino, the roulette scene is fundamental to the storyline and takes place in the backroom of a cafe. 

Gentlemen in tuxedos and ladies in elegant dresses. It’s the classic casino atmosphere and touches upon something that has long been connected with the game – is the game fair? It’s certainly not in Casablanca, with the table designed to payout on 22 more often than other numbers, and it’s this fixed gameplay the plot of the movie is spun around. 

In the real world casino environment, you shouldn’t need to worry about games being fixed – unless you find yourself playing in the backroom of a cafe!

In another example of roulette being used on the big screen, the 1998 film Croupier was famously shot in traditional smoky casino surroundings within the city of London. Roulette is the main focus in the casino scenes and the film manages to show an edgier side to the game that has been praised for portraying a realistic casino environment, rather than the backroom style of Casablanca

You’ll also find the game featured in James Bond films due to the spy, and writer Ian Fleming, both being huge casino fans. Diamonds are Forever shows the typical casino roulette atmosphere as Bond finds himself in Las Vegas and simply can’t resist a spin of the wheel in front of a crowded table. He bets on 17 and comes up with a winner, obviously.

It’s the Bond film that has the closest resemblance to the reality of roulette with the crowds of people gathered around the table in a typically clean and lively casino environment. This is how we all picture roulette, rather than the fixed games in backrooms of cafes and in the dark smoky halls of London casinos. 

You’re less likely to find such a big crowd when you play at your casino but the same principles apply: it’s a social game that is played alongside other people and that’s what makes it so enjoyable.

Today’s roulette fans can also enjoy the game online at many of the online casino sites. This is becoming more popular each year as these casinos allow you to play at your own pace in the comfort of your own home, or even on the go thanks to the increasingly popular mobile-ready games available on your smartphones and tablets. 

Some online casinos and gambling sites even offer free roulette games where you can play for fun with no money involved. The new style of live dealer gaming brings the roulette experience even closer to you with HD streams bringing the action straight into your home or gaming device. 

Roulette has played a big part in Hollywood, but the experience and the atmosphere is often a lot more subdued and relaxed than the films portray. Unless, of course, you’re in a crowded Vegas casino on a Saturday night, then you might just get to feel like James Bond yourself for a few spins of the roulette wheel!

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Frankie Stein is from Italy, but lives in Ingolstadt, Germany. Her hobbies are: reading about science, doing experiments, and travelling. She's been all around Europe and loves Scotland, London, and Russia. Her boyfriend is called Victor and they both love listening to The Cure, reading Byron, and gazing upon William Blake prints.

fstein@filmdaily.co

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