Gamble Movies & Addiction

Gamble movies the gambler 2014

Gamble movies are always fun to watch. The drama that they offer and the way we always support the players in their games kind of gives us a whiff of what’s it’s really like to sit next to the table and just watch the game unfold.

Naturally, displaying real emotions during a gambling session is very hard to do, therefore these movies usually hire the most talented actors to convey the players’ feelings. Especially when they display some sort of addiction.

Today, we’re here to discuss exactly those scenes in Casino and gamble movies, where our heroes get wound up in gambling and lose all common sense just to get their daily dose of a game of chance.

These gamble movies are sometimes real life stories and how people messed up their lives with gambling, so read closely to see the symptoms of addiction, and how to cure it.

Owning Mahowny

Owning Mahowny is a film based on a true story of Brian Molony, who was an employee of several banks over the course of his career. The character is played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman but carries a different name of Dan Mahowny.

Mahowny quickly gets promoted at his job in the bank and discovers that he can embezzle millions of dollars without anyone noticing. The bank didn’t know but Mahowny was a chronic gambler with an addiction never seen before.

Even when faced by criminal charges, Mahowny didn’t stop playing and sam millions in winnings. It’s a real description of gambling when it stops acting like a hobby and turns into a drug, that requires daily fixes.

However, there are hints on how to improve such a condition. Thanks to Mahowny’s work schedule, he’s able to visit the casino only during the evening or night hours. It’s a great start to limit your frequency, but it’s imperative that you keep reducing it regularly before you’re ready to cold turkey.

The Gambler

The gambler is also a great description of how gambling quickly switches from a desire for monetary gain to the desire of risk and adrenaline.

The movie expertly follows Axel Freed who is a university professor with a relatively stable life. But, he has a crippling gambling addiction that destroys his livelihood and puts him in massive debt. He even takes money from his mother to continue his addiction.

In one scene where Freed is sitting in a car, he mentions that he doesn’t care about the money, if there was no risk then he wouldn’ feel the “juice”. This is where gambling stopped being a hobby and became an addiction.

The best way to deal with this is to talk to as many family members and friends as possible. In most cases, they would intervene and simply deny the funds to you for the continuation of the addiction.

The Hustler

The hustler is also a great display of gambling addiction although it’s not really about gambling. A former pool champion loses his title to an opponent and quickly becomes obsessed with redeeming himself.

This is quite common with chronic gamblers as they continue losing more and more in their attempts to get back what they lost. Soon enough gambling becomes a reinforcement of their worth to themselves, rather than a dose of dopamine or monetary gain.

According to NorskeCasino’s article, the best way to avoid this is to have as many self-assuring activities as possible. Things such as rehabilitation groups and spending time with family is the best way to go about it.


The movie is about Matt Damon’s character who quickly becomes addicted to poker and how he loses to a Russian mafia boss. Soon enough, the same thing happens to his character as it happened in the Hustler.

Damon’s character sacrifices his education as he drops out of law school and loses his girlfriend to his bad habits. But the fact is that the character isn’t addicted to playing poker, he’s in fact addicted to winning.

Unfortunately, once he loses that addiction becomes even stronger, as they start chasing more and more winnings to make up for their loss.

In this case, most psychiatrists suggest using SSRI, which is a medication used for supplying enough dopamine for the user. Since his winnings will not be there anymore, the regular dopamine intake that the body is used to will be gone, causing serious problems.

With SSRI it’s easy to reduce it step by step and quickly getting rid of it in the end.


21 is a movie about a couple of MIT students who think they’ve broken the system of the casinos, as they’ve figured out a way for counting the cards without being noticed.

The film displays a cruel reality as they get ousted and beaten on multiple occasions, but its also a portrayal of the excessive confidence that some players feel when they think they’ve figured out the system.

Only a simple win is enough to blast the person with dopamine as they get caught up with the action. But soon enough, the casino security will find a weak spot and exploit it.

Here as well, it’s best to use the SSRI medication if the psychiatrists prescribe it as the amount of dopamine the person receives when they get that boost in confidence is very hard to deal with by simply attending rehab.

Although there are far more scenes in various gamble movies about gambling addiction, these 5 movies are able to portray the ramifications of the hook. Thankfully the films are designed to show the worst part of gambling, showing the good and bad sides as well.

The most important takeaway should always be that, yes you can make some money, but the price you pay is much higher.

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