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Blackjack Goes to the Movies

Blackjack Goes to the Movies


Filmmakers are always on the lookout for exciting backdrops and storylines, and casinos seem to make their most popular lists time after time. Of course, the casino is a glamorous location, and in the films, it can be slanted by the cast and cameras to have real Hollywood, rich and famous escapism feel, with audiences wanting so much to be at the center of the action. One of the most popular casino games is Blackjack, so it comes as no surprise that many screenwriters have chosen to incorporate the game into their plot. Next time you are playing online blackjack imagine you are the star of one of these fabulous movies!


This 2008 box office hit is described as the ultimate blackjack film and based on events from actual life. In the 1980s an ambitious group of MIT students managed to devise a mathematically based algorithm to cheat casinos out of millions of dollars. The head of the group was the professor, and his prodigy students were taught the art of card counting and honed their skills until they had created a method that managed to go undetected by the casino team — bypassing all methods already in place to prevent this from happening.

As the story unfolds, the team use false names to win big and create a distraction by convincing croupiers that they are spoilt rich kids with money to burn, but the money does not bring happiness. Instead, it leads to fighting as greed takes over. This eventually sees them being rumbled by the Las Vegas casino security team and their professor is arrested for masterminding the scam, although actually, it is not illegal. Well worth a watch if you do not know the story, it is certainly clever but remember card counting is not something we advise anyone to try.

The Cooler

In an unlikely combination, blackjack meets romance in this casino based movie starring William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin, and Maria Bellow. The action is set around the blackjack tables featuring the most unlucky man ever seen in Vegas (Macy). But when he falls in love with the pretty cocktail waitress (Bello), she seems to bring lady luck with her and his fortunes are set to change big time. The problem with this, however, is that Macy is being used by the old-style mob, who run the casino to prevent high rolling, so they are not remotely impressed by this sudden change in fortunes. Casino boss (Baldwin) tries to sabotage the budding romance between the pair in the hope his back luck will return, and their plan can proceed. Lots of action and frolics ensue in this 2003 film which was nominated for an Oscar and claimed eight awards and 17 other nominations. It was written by Frank Hannah and Wayne Kramer, and the latter went on to direct it. Another film that is well worth a watch if you have the time to spare between your blackjack games.