Card Counters, Coolers and Secret Agents: Four of the Best Gambling Movies of All Time

Casinos, gambling, and exotic locales have fascinated moviegoers since the earliest days of film, and that interest shows no sign of waning. In the 1930s, the stars of the silver screen were gambling in Rio de Janeiro and Monte Carlo while today, most films take place in the glamorous casinos of Las Vegas, but the glitz and drama are the same. Here is a list of four of the best gambling movies in recent decades.

“The Cooler”

This quirky romance stars William H. Macy as Bernie Lootz, one of the unluckiest men in the world. His luck is so bad that it rubs off on those around him, so he works as a cooler at the Shangri-La Casino. His boss, the dangerous Shelly Kaplow (Alec Baldwin), pays him to stand next to people on a winning streak, and inevitably, their luck changes. Unfortunately for Kaplow, Bernie falls in love with a waitress, Natalie (Maria Bello), and his luck starts to change for the better.

“The Cooler” is a dark comedy with plenty of funny moments. However, there is lots of suspense as well as Bernie and Natalie attempt to escape Kaplow, who is a violent criminal with ties to organized crime.

This film is worth seeing for the cast alone. Alec Baldwin is notable for the stellar way he portrays Kaplow, an older criminal who mostly hands off the dirty work but remains more dangerous than he looks. William H. Macy plays the kind but unlucky Bernie to perfection. The contrast between his depressed mannerisms early in the movie and his joyful behavior after falling in love is striking. Maria Bello is also excellent as Natalie, a charming and fun-loving waitress with a few secrets herself.

“Rain Man”

This story about a successful Los Angeles car dealer and his autistic brother became an instant classic when it was released in 1988. It stars Tom Cruise as Charlie, the cutthroat car dealer whose main mission in life is to earn money, and Dustin Hoffman as Raymond, the autistic savant. When the movie begins, Charlie is under heavy financial pressure and learns that his father has died, leaving his sizeable estate to Raymond, the brother Charlie never knew he had. Charlie develops a cynical plan to exploit Raymond in order to gain a share of his father’s estate. Along the way, he notices that Raymond has amazing recall abilities and decides to head to Las Vegas and use Raymond’s skills at a casino. However, the events of that trip change Charlie substantially.

Although the time in Las Vegas is a relatively small part of the movie, it is one of the most memorable gambling movies of all time. It popularized the idea of counting cards, as well as introducing the idea of the autistic savant to popular consciousness.

Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise are excellent in this movie. Hoffman is especially notable for his believable portrayal of a man with severe autism.

“Casino Royale”

“Casino Royale,” based on the book of the same name, is the first movie in the reboot of the James Bond series starring Daniel Craig as the titular secret agent. The film shows Bond near the start of his career. The movie follows his attempts to thwart the sinister Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelson), a mysterious character who is trying to finance terrorists. Le Chiffre is also a notorious gambler, so Bond’s strategy is to bankrupt him during a high-stakes poker game.

“Casino Royale” stands out from many modern gambling movies by avoiding Las Vegas. Instead, the poker game takes place in Montenegro, a small country in southeastern Europe. The picturesque location provides a memorable background to the action, which is everything you’d expect from a James Bond movie.

Daniel Craig plays an excellent Bond, although fans of the old movies may struggle to get used to him. This movie portrays him as both rougher and more emotional, although he can still play the suave gentleman when he wants to. His love interest is Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), a charming and seemingly innocent treasury agent assigned to keep an eye on the money he is given for gambling. Judi Dench as M rounds out the top-notch cast.

“21″

“21″ takes viewers back to Las Vegas for the story of a group of MIT students, led by a charismatic professor (Kevin Spacey), who become an elite card-counting team bent on beating the casinos. The film centers on Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), who was just accepted into Harvard Medical School but cannot afford the tuition. He joins the card-counting team as a way to raise the funds he needs, but quickly gets caught up in the glamour and easy money of his new lifestyle. The team develops elaborate methods to avoid detection and guarantee wins, but struggles to stay ahead of the casinos that use cutting-edge technology to recognize card counters. The stress also causes rifts within the group as teammates turn on each other and fight over money.

Getting Started in Online Gambling

So you fancy a flutter online, but you have a few concerns right? That’s perfectly understandable, particularly with the huge choice of online casinos and gambling sites out there. You may also have a few concerns about the safety of your personal information and credit card details. Again that’s perfectly understandable, particularly with some of the scare stories in the press about internet fraudsters. Hopefully then, this article will help to allay some of your concerns and help you get started in this fun and profitable pastime.

Is it Safe?

This is probably the most common concern expressed by potential online gamblers. The answer is most definitely yes, provided you choose a reputable and established online gambling site. Look for software provided by one of the major casino software providers such as Microgaming, RTG (RealTimeGaming), Playtech, Boss Media, Cryptologic/Wagerlogic, Parlay Entertainment, iGlobal Media, Grand Virtual and Odds On. These software providers rigorously test their software to ensure that it is safe and hack proof, and ensure that your personal information is rigorously encrypted and safe. Any banking information is inputted over a secure connection, meaning a hacker will never be able to access your data. Because of the rigorous security measures in place, entering your banking information is just as safe as banking online with your normal bank. There are also several other excellent casinos who are not powered by the above software, but who are equally trustworthy. Look for a secure connection when entering personal information, this may be denoted by a little padlock icon in the corner of your screen, if you are in a normal browser window a secure connection url will show up as https: the s denotes that the connection is secure.

I don’t want a casino to know my credit card info, are there any other ways to make a deposit?

Yes there are many other ways other than credit card to make a deposit. One of the most popular is Neteller – http://www.neteller.com which is an online wallet specially designed for online gambling. When you sign up for a neteller account, you receive an account number, a secure Id and a password. The secure ID acts like a pin number, you will not be able to use your account without it. You can deposit funds in your neteller account by credit card, debit card or bank transfer and you can withdraw your funds via a special free debit card issued by neteller. Thus you can not only deposit at casinos but also withdraw your funds. There are many other ways to make deposits without using a credit card, Paypark, Click2Pay, Ecocard, Moneybookers, Ukash, to name a few.

Gambling And The 20th Century Rulers Part 1

The history of the 20th century is inseparably connected with wars, revolutions, forcible change of governments and other political cataclysms in which the leading role was often played by bright, extraordinary personalities – leaders, chiefs. Impetuous was also the history of legislative regulation of gambling games and bets. They were allowed, then prohibited, then allowed again…
A lot of these bans and legalizations were directly connected with the principle political acting personalities of the 20th century. How venturesome were the most famous totalitarian rulers of the previous century and what was their role in regulation of activities on organizing and playing games and bets?

Vladimir Lenin
(1870-1924)
When in a small town of Simbirsk little Volodya Ulyanov was born nobody of the people around, including his parents, could ever guess that one of the main heroes of the 20th century came into the world. After many years it is already difficult to unambiguously evaluate the activities of Vladimir Lenin in the office of the chairman of the Soviet of National Commissars, but there is no doubt that he has gone down in history as the main ideologist of the bright ideas of communism which the Russian poor strived for so much and never achieved despite the long 70-year way.
It is not known for sure whether Vladimir Lenin was fond of gambling, in his public speeches he never mentioned the words “gambling-house” and “casino”. However, in his boyhood the future Ilyich played chess and russian bowling (gorodki) with passion. Having grown up, he played cards as well, alas, the history does not give a single answer as to the games the chief of revolutionists played and whether the bets were made

It is interesting to know that even when Vladimir Ilyich was still alive there were anecdotes and tales concerning his love of card games. But still the most favourite game of Ilyich was politics. But with regard to regulation of gambling industry, of course, Vladimir Ulyanov succeeded in the way so typical of him.

Having become the statesman, firstly, he started to fight against bourgeois heritage, established censorship. And he decided to establish order in gambling in addition to this. In provisions of the Petrograd (St. Petersburg)military-revolutionary committee as of the 24th of November of 1917 the task was set to “close all the clubs and gambling-dens where card games were played”. Despite this, in spring of 1918 the commissar of municipal economy of Petrograd the future “all-union head” M.I.Kalinin taking into account the interests of reimbursement of state treasury proposed legalization of gambling. This proposal was rejected though “on revolutionary grounds” and all the gambling establishments were found illegal.

In 1921 Vladimir Lenin introduced NEP – so to say new economic politics of the state at which the priority was no longer general equality and fraternity but earning money by the young Soviet state for its own budget for realization of revolutionary ideas. It was at that time that gambling business was founded in the Republic of Soviets. On the 9th of November, 1921, The Soviet of labour and defence of the RSFSR issued a decree according to which sale of playing cards was allowed on the territory of the country. Also in 1921 when there happened to be the worst drought in Russia, the first All-Russian lottery to help the starving people took place.
In the course of two years local authorities allowed activities of gambling-houses, following financial principles and collecting rather large amounts of taxes from organizers of gambling games. In spite of this fact, at the end of 1923 there was created a commission on struggle against “moonshine, cocaine and gambling” in the USSR.

Struggle against gambling started to follow its regular soviet course, however, Vladimir Lenin could not witness its end. On the 21st of January, 1924, Lenin died. It happened just at the time of flourishing of soviet gambling industry, but after half a year after his death CEC of the USSR and SNC of the USSR issued a Decree dated the 1st of August, 1924, “about state monopoly on production of playing cards”. And afterwards still four years later gambling industry was finally prohibited in the USSR as a remnant of the old times which was to be done away with.

Iosif Stalin
(1879-1953)
Iosif Stalin (Djugashvili) was born on the 21st of December 1879 in a small Georgian town of Gori. A friend and adviser of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, his great successor, he took the reins of government in his hands after Lenin and kept them till his death. The time of Iosif Stalin’s rule is still reflected with joy and pain in the hearts of those Soviet citizens living at the time of his being in power. Industrialization, the victory in the war and continuation of communistic construction, on the one hand, and concentration camps and mass repressions – on the other hand. Without taking into account personal characteristics of the second chief of proletariat and without estimating the deeds of his in the course of almost 30 years of his being in power, we’ll point out only one thing – Iosif Stalin was not a venturesome person and except for games in politics, where stakes were sometimes hundreds of thousands of human lives, he acknowledged only billiards and races on the race track.

Let’s point out that totalizator on the race track under Iosif Stalin the only legal pastime for venturesome Soviet citizens. The most famous race tracks were situated in Moscow, Tbilisi, Tallinn, Odessa, Gorky (Nizhny Novgorod) and other cities. The son of Iosif Vissarionovich – Vasiliy was also a great admirer of race tracks.

The death of Iosif Stalin did not have any impact on the existence of legal gambling in the Soviet country. They did not exist when Stalin came to power and did not appear after his death. The exclusion were horse races and races on the race tracks which attracted rather large cash means with the help of the totalizator for development of the Soviet horse breeding.