Blackjack Is The King On The Big Screen

Source: Rain Man via Facebook

It’s hard to think of a casino offering that has been immortalised in film as many times as blackjack has. While other games like slots are far more popular to play, it’s the card game in which players have to beat the dealer that works better in a movie story line. The gambling game which was first played around the turn of the 17th century has appeared in hit films such as 21, Rain Man, The Hangover, and Swingers. So what makes blackjack so perfect for the silver screen?

Blackjack players make great movie characters

The idea that there is a strategy to blackjack and a way of overcoming the house odds to win makes it an intriguing game to learn about. Ever since the game has been played, people have been refining their blackjack strategy and working out exactly when to double down, split, surrender, or take insurance. Skilled players have realised that they can tip the scales in their favour, and actually win more often than they lose. Adept blackjack players also make pretty cool characters for films, and some pictures have decided to add an extra edge by writing their protagonists as proficient card counters.



One of the first movies to do this was Rain Man, the multiple Oscar-winning film directed by Barry Levinson. In the movie, Dustin Hoffman played an autistic man with exceptional maths ability. Although blackjack wasn’t the main focus of the story line, there were some memorable moments when Hoffman put his abilities to good use in the casinos in Las Vegas. These scenes allowed the viewer to experience the thrill of winning at blackjack, and also feel what it was like to be in the head of someone with such unique and desirable skills.  Check out 25 free spins no deposit canada 2022.

Mathematical suspense

Cart counting themes have worked well in other films, as they provide an extra element of excitement. The process of mentally recording which cards have been played to give yourself better odds when drawing is not illegal, but casinos don’t want players to do it. If the players are caught, they are often thrown out of the gambling house. Sticking to this theme was why 2008’s 21 directed by Robert Luketic is considered to be one of the best blackjack films of all time. There was an element of danger involved, which created great dramatic tension. The film was based on a true story about a group of highly skilled mathematicians from MIT who took their skills to the casinos. In the movie, Kevin Spacey led a cast which also featured Brett Ratner and Dana Brunetti.

Blackjack has also been used well to comedic effect, and many people will remember the hilarious scene in Austin Powers when the James Bond wannabe chose to stand on five, saying he liked “to live dangerously”. The Hangover also featured a scene which spoofed Rain Man.

Perhaps the main reason why blackjack has been used in film so much over the years is because the rules are simpler than poker or baccarat, and easy for most viewers to understand. With the additional elements of risk and danger thrown in, it makes for excellent viewing.


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