Blackjack is an incredibly popular game, enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds and it’s very easy to learn. Nonetheless, it’s still exciting; hence why it features so often on the big screen. Whether it’s a realistic view of the game, a warped mega-win, or even the thrill of card counting, you can guarantee that you’ve seen the game before, even if you aren’t totally familiar with it. Before we countdown some of the greatest films featuring Blackjack, visit Paddy Power and play along yourself, if you’re feeling lucky.
21 is probably the most famous blackjack film and ironically, is what the game was previously called. Based on a true story, the film centres around the MIT Blackjack team, a group of students who cheated casinos out of millions of dollars after being taught how to card count by their math teacher. They then go out to play in casinos in Las Vegas, under false names and win big. However, the film has a moral ending when they are caught by casino security and the teacher is arrested.
Rain Man (1988)
Rain Man tells the story of Charlie Babbit (played by Tom Cruise), who has to look after his autistic, but specially gifted brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman). Raymond has an advanced ability to memorise numbers and carry out quick calculations and so Charlie takes advantage of that by hoping to win big at the casino, namely at the blackjack table. Despite the casino bosses originally being skeptical about the card counting, they eventually review security footage. Although, it’s not solely a gambling film, bettors are likely to be jealous of Raymond’s skill.
The Hangover (2009)
Not primarily a film about blackjack, or gambling for that matter. The Hangover centres around a group of friends that head to Vegas – but it does feature one key blackjack scene. When the group of friends’ car is purposely hit by another car of gangsters, their boss Mr. Chow claims that they owe him $80,000. Thanks to a book called ‘The World’s Greatest Blackjack Player’, Alan uses his knowledge of card counting to win $82,400 while playing blackjack.
Licence to Kill (1989)
It’s impossible to talk about gambling films without mentioning James Bond; and while baccarat and poker feature heavily, he turns his hand to blackjack in Licence to Kill. While of course, the film is all about fast cars, villains and martinis – as opposed to the gambling aspect, there is a blackjack scene which sees Bond (Timothy Dalton) win £250,000 after challenging the casino owners and lead villain, Franz Sanchez, to a game.
The Last Casino (2004)
Another film centred around the MIT Blackjack team, The Last Casino is set in Canada. However, it’s under the same premise as 21, with math teacher Doug Barnes utilising card counting to improve his odds. After being caught on camera in the casino and blacklisted, Doug is unable to pay back debts and so recruits a card counting team made up of his students. The students hit all the casinos in Ontario and Quebec to win the money back, until they are discovered.