It’s fair to say that Hollywood has always had something of an obsession with casinos and gambling.

Whether it’s the ‘anything goes’ allure of the Vegas Strip, the glamour – and tension – of Bond’s countless face-offs with super-villains at the card table or the idea of the perfect heist, there’s a certain something that keeps directors coming back.

In fact, some of the greatest movies made have been based on the subject; think The Gambler, Rounds and Oceans 11 – we’ll leave it to you decide if we’re talking about the original or the remake.

And while we’re not even half way into 2017 we’ve already seen talk of a couple of new releases this year. There’s ‘Molly’s Game’, a movie based on a true story of an underground, celeb-heavy poker game run by a former cocktail waitress – Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon were reportedly regulars. Starring Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain, the film is currently in post production.

Then, in April, Netflix launched Win It All. From director, Joe Swanberg, it was a gritty tale of a small-time gambler who gets caught up in an underground gambling ring – you see a theme developing here?

But Hollywood doesn’t always get it right. It’s hardly surprising that there are a few howlers that have crept onto the screen and are a little wide of the mark when it comes to authentic casino play.

If you don’t know your big blind from your rabbit hunting (yes, that’s really a term) then no problem as here, courtesy of, the world’s leading casino insight website, are five casino movies that came in way short of the jackpot.


Burt Reynolds stars in this card-heavy movie about a former card play who quit the game several years previously. Somewhat predictably, Reynolds’ character is battling a few past demons related to the game and, after meeting a young hopeful, finds a renewed vigour for poker playing. The twist – if you can call it that – is that they end up playing each other for the honour of champion. Yeah, you probably guessed that.

What went wrong?

Amazingly, the clichéd storyline isn’t what we’re focussing on here. It soon becomes apparent that the film’s makers had a limited understanding of Poker. For a start, our protagonist checks on the small blind when his is heads up, and he also sees his opponent’s cards. If poker’s your thing there are a number of movies out there that do it well. This isn’t one of them.


This isn’t actually a bad movie and, it’s fair to say that there are many that will actually consider it a good movie. But those people will not be blackjack fans.

From a team of producers including Kevin Spacey, the movie is ‘based on’ a true story of a college blackjack team that learns the fine art of card counting (it’s OK, it’s not strictly cheating) and goes on to rinse Vegas casinos for millions of dollars.

What went wrong?

It’s hard to know where to start. It includes fundamental errors in the skill of card counting, sequence and in the game of blackjack itself. Ouch.

All in

Is this one of the worst gambling movies ever made? Some will have you believe that’s the case, and they may have a point.

The plot involved a medical student and her friends who start playing poker to pay her college fees. Discovering she has talent she goes on to achieve some pretty big wins. But, to see that you have to sit through the rest first so maybe just take our word for it.

What went wrong?

The less time we spend on this the better for everyone, after all, a cursory look at iMDb will tell you all you need to know. Needless to say, what little card play there is comes across as stale, dull and not even really played that well. In all, the whole movie is a little messy.

National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation

Everyone loves a laugh at the National Lampoon movies, right? Wrong. Particularly in the case of ‘Vegas Vacation’. By the time that Chevy Chase and the gang were on their way to the Nevada home of casinos the Lampoon format was already getting tired.

In this, the ninth movie in the series Chase and family visit some of the Strip’s famous casinos to take on the slots and table games. Laugh’s, however, aren’t aplenty and neither is realistic casino play.

What went wrong?

Quite simply, a misunderstanding of casino and gambling rules, as well as many aspects of the most basic gameplay. As an example, one machine says that three coins are needed to win, but Chase wins with one. Hmmm…

Lucky You

Drew Barrymore, Robert Duvall and Eric Bana are all well respected actors, with a fair few decent movies to their names. Why they chose to appear in this awful com-com come gambling shocker is beyond us.

Following the well-trodden path of ‘brilliant yet troubled protagonist who could be oh so successful if only the could keep their emotions in check’, the movie sees Bana trying his luck at a Vegas poker tournament while fighting his demons.

And Barrymore? Unfortunately bucking the trend for strong female characters she’s relegated to spending most of the film standing in the corner and looking attractive.

What went wrong?

Pretty much everything related to casinos and gambling.