Imagine the old-fashioned, opulent casinos with their chime of slot machines, the hypnotic tinkle of the roulette wheels, and the distinctive crash of the dice. It was the epitome of traditional gambling—a sensory feast. However, technology intervened and caused a disturbance.
Thanks to the innovation of internet casinos, the flash and glamor of the casino can now fit into your living room. The excitement of betting was no longer a far-off luxury but rather a convenient pastime. And boy, did they take to it!
Online slots became the pied piper for a new generation of players because of their captivating graphics and promise of large prizes. This popularity wave extended beyond the digital sphere. The allure of casinos started to permeate our TVs and cinemas, spawning a genre that skillfully combined the exhilaration of gaming with gripping narratives.
In 2024, this genre is still very much in demand. Viewers can have an exhilarating glimpse into the world of high-stakes gaming while lounging in their favorite armchair. This article will explore the pinnacle of gambling-themed television series and films that you should be watching this year.
With its intense action, the compelling television series “High Stakes Poker” captivated poker fans all around the world when it debuted in 2006. The show’s remarkable 9 rating on IMDb is proof of both its high caliber and its audience’s great attraction to it. It makes for captivating watching as it has a range of poker professionals competing in high-stakes games with every move watched and evaluated. The show offers a singular perspective into the world of professional poker, exposing the tactics, bluffs, and psychological tricks that are essential to the game. “High Stakes Poker” is a must-watch for both poker enthusiasts and casual viewers due to its great entertainment value and perceptive comments.
A fascinating drama on British television, “Big Deal” explored the life of a gambler in-depth and ran from 1984 to 1986. The main character of the show is Ray Brooks’s character Robbie Box, a part-time professional gambler who balances his personal and professional lives while navigating the complex world of gambling. The premise of the show tackles the highs and lows of the gambling industry as well as how it affects Robbie’s relationships and his battle to support his family. Even though “Big Deal” is set in the 1980s, its realistic depiction of addiction and its repercussions makes it relevant even now. The series is a noteworthy part of television history because of its ability to strike a balance between humor and dramatic tension, as well as Brooks’s outstanding performance.
“Everyone in Vegas needs to keep an eye on everyone else.” In Mean Streets, starring alongside Harvey Keitel’s cool mobster in 1973, Robert De Niro portrayed a volatile, erratic hothead; a few decades later, De Niro played the man burdened by duties. In the film Casino, he plays Ace, a gangster who is trying to run a mob-owned casino “the right way,” but he keeps getting pushed back by his impulsive friend Joe Pesci and an ambitious woman he shouldn’t trust, Sharon Stone. Are you curious about how Vegas gambling operates on the inside? This complex film directed by Martin Scorsese, which follows the transformation of Sin City over several years from dirty to sanitized, is for you. Like he did in GoodFellas before, Scorsese is familiar with how American business operates in the criminal underbelly and how people are trampled on while doing so.
With an astounding 8.1 IMDb rating, the 1998 British crime-comedy “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels” is a highly regarded movie. The story, which was directed by Guy Ritchie, centers on four friends who, as a result of a rigged card game, find themselves deeply in debt to an East End hard man and his goons. Through a succession of hilarious yet perilous occurrences, this dilemma highlights Ritchie’s distinct fusion of quick storytelling and sharp language. Strong performances throughout the film, particularly from the ensemble cast, give the story a unique appeal and genuineness. Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels stands out in Ritchie’s filmography and is a must-watch for fans of criminal-comedy flicks because of its unique blend of humor, action, and crime. Its lasting influence in popular culture was further cemented in 2000 when a TV series was inspired by it due to its immense cultural impact.
A well-liked television series, “Poker After Dark” (2007–), centers on the exciting world of professional poker. The show has a strong 7.7 rating on IMDb, which is a testament to its high-caliber material, captivating gameplay, and wide appeal. Every episode puts viewers in the driver’s seat by showcasing high-stakes games starring some of the best poker players. The show has garnered special praise for giving viewers a close-up view of the tactics, bluffs, and tells that characterize the game of poker. Even though “Poker After Dark” is no longer releasing new episodes, its extensive back catalog manages to keep viewers interested. “Poker After Dark” is still entertaining to watch, regardless of your interest in poker or merely intense competitiveness.
The entertaining American comedy-drama television series “Las Vegas” (2003–2008) received an impressive 7.4 on IMDb. The NBC programme, which was developed by Gary Scott Thompson, offered viewers a fictitious look at a Las Vegas casino’s workings. The show is renowned for its cleverly crafted narratives that center on security, surveillance, and other behind-the-scenes facets of managing a casino. During its five-season run, “Las Vegas” attracted audiences with a blend of drama, humor, and intrigue. The ensemble cast of the series, which includes Josh Duhamel, Vanessa Marcil, and James Caan, is what makes it stand out and helped make the show successful. Even though the show ended in 2008, viewers still like it for its entertaining value and distinct perspective on the fast-paced life of Las Vegas.
Though we say it every time we write about Rounders, “It’s basically Citizen Kane for gambling addicts and… perfectly fine for everybody else,” it still holds true. That makes it rank higher than it would on nearly any other ranking, but it does a great job of encapsulating the swaggering, vacuous masculinity associated with being a professional poker player. (Or maybe of having been one in the late 1990s.) While it’s good that Matt Damon outgrew his parts in the end, a supporting cast like this one (John Malkovich! Famke Janssen, Martin Landau, and John Turturro! Not even Bill Camp!) can resist adding characters to this who gives a largely manufactured environment a genuine, lived-in sense.
Although it was regarded as a slight parody of The Hustler at the time, this film, which focuses more on poker than pool hustles, is still relevant today, if only because more people play poker than hustle pools. Additionally, it features a legendary performance by Steve McQueen as “the Kid,” a haughty player who discovers he may not be as talented as he believes. The film has a tight, contemporary, and meaningful atmosphere. To put it another way, obviously none of the guys you know who believe that Rounders is the greatest movie ever have watched this.
The script for The Gambler, written by James Toback (who has since been accused of a variety of problematic behaviors), was inspired by his own gambling addiction. However, the great thing about The Gambler (the 1974 James Caan version, not the 2014 Mark Wahlberg one) is that the main character is more fascinated with danger, even self-destruction than he is with gambling. His Axel places wagers just to put himself in more and more danger; he even goes so far as to claim that the enjoyment of gambling is in the process of losing. To put it mildly, that’s a dangerous situation for a gambler, but Caan makes us believe that Axel is frantically searching for the next surge. Axel is playing Russian roulette instead of placing a wager on basketball.