What Makes the Craps Scene in The Cooler so Iconic
Over the years, the biggest movie industry in the world produced many excellent gambling-related movies and one of these is most certainly The Cooler released in 2003. The movie is directed by Wayne Kramer and this was Mr. Kramer’s directing debut. Later, Wayne Kramer directed Crossing Over in 2009, Running Scared from 2006, and Pawn Shop Chronicles from 2013.
The movie stars William H. Macy as Bernie Lootz, Maria Bello as Natalie Belisario, Alec Baldwin as Shelly Kaplow, Shawn Hatosy as Mikey, Ron Livingston as Larry Sokolov, Paul Sorvino as Buddy Stafford, and Estella Warren as Charlene.
In the movie, we meet Bernie Lootz played by William H. Macy and his job is quite simple, he ruins high rollers’ chances and winning streaks by playing with them at the very same craps table. Essentially, he makes money by professionally losing or making it more challenging for high roller craps players to win.
Bernie struggles financially as he owes his boss Shelly Kaplow, played by Alec Baldwin, a lot of money. Almost all of the money he earns as Shelly’s cooler goes to Shelly.
Everything changes when Natalie Belisario, played by Maria Bello, who also acted out one of the hottest scenes in Hollywood history, finally takes notice of struggling Bernie after he saves her from a casino customer who approached her aggressively.
It is not long before Bernie falls in love with Natalie madly and his cooling abilities start to fade which makes Shelly worried about his business. Not long after, Bernie says to his boss that he will be leaving Las Vegas and Shelly agrees but he will not let him go until he pays off his debt of $150,000. This is when Bernie tries his luck at the craps table possibly for the last time.
The Cooler Iconic Craps Scene
One of the most iconic scenes from the movie is most certainly the craps scene in which Bernie takes his last shot at winning at the craps table to pay off his boss and leave for good. For fans of craps, this is an amazing movie scene that has everything, high stakes, stunning girls, and people cheering. As William approaches the table, everyone around gets very excited as they know William is good for as long as luck is on his side.
This is one of the most precious movie scenes for craps fans and even some of them relied on it when devising their craps strategy.
The scene was filmed in a casino in Reno, Nevada that at the time was called the Flamingo Hilton Reno. Bernie’s luck was on his side this time around as he went off on an amazing roll. However, he soon loses around $100,000 on just two place bets. He has around $80,000 left in his pockets and decides to invest everything in the field.
The scene truly makes everyone watching it feel as if they are there with Bernie and the crowd cheering since the director did an amazing job with building the suspense.
Eventually, Bernie wins $320,000 after hitting twelve again. After paying off his debt of $150,000 he owned Shelly, he could walk away with $170,000. However, Shelly never intended on letting him go.
After he leaves Las Vegas with Natalie by his side, Shelly meets his partner Larry Sokolov played by Ron Livingston to follow, and Larry is furious at Shelly for letting Bernie walk away with his money. However, Bernie and Natalie get their happy ending as they manage to escape from Shelly and Larry.