Whether you are into gambling or not, a gambling scene in a movie is guaranteed to get the heart racing as you will on your hero or heroes to take the bank to the cleaners. It was a tough one but we’ve managed to root around for the top ten gambling scenes of all time. The odds on you agreeing with each and every one, who knows? Here is your 10 to 1!
10) The Hustler
The king of the gambling movie, Paul Newman, introduces ‘Fast Eddie’ to the world in this timeless classic. One of the greatest gambling rivalries to hit the big screen. This trailer has you rooting for ‘Fast Eddie’ over ‘Minnesota Fats’ every time, but in the back of every viewer’s mind they just know it isn’t going to end well for our small-time hero. Gripping, yet understated, they just don’t make’ em like this anymore, as the sequel The Color Of Money, quite clearly, showed us.
9) Casino Royale
A scene that has poker fans in stitches at the pure outrageousness of the hands on show, but then it’s James Bond, what did we really expect?! Sure, it’s unrealistic and over the top but that’s what makes us love it even more. Plus it’s one of the biggest casino wins we’ve ever seen in movie history, so has to be in for that alone. All that money and Bond still didn’t go and buy a round at the bar, typical!
8) Ocean’s Eleven
A star-studded table headed by Brad Pitt and George Clooney just has to be in. Ocean’s Eleven is one of the greatest Las Vegas set films of all-time and this is just a cracking opening scene. Funny and superbly shot, with a who’s who of cameo appearances sending themselves up, you feel safe in the knowledge you are just about to watch a blockbuster with this.
Long before Vince Vaughn insisted on making second-rate rom coms and Jon Favreau made films about street-food (yes, we’ve got no idea why either), came Swingers. A cult classic. This scene is hellishly funny as the awkward pair squabble over the two cards in front of them.
6) Rain Man
The 80’s soundtrack, the matching suits, the hitting on 18 and, of course, the big big win! Hoffman rules in this film and this scene is no exception. ‘There’s lots of them, lots and lots of’ em’. Quite simply, brilliant.
5) Austin Powers
If you thought the Bond scene was good, the spoof is even better. Stupidity at its finest, even the game is being played incorrectly, Number Two hits before Austin Powers even gets his second card. The dialogue is where this scene earns his keep though. The stare Austin Powers makes towards Number Two as he utters the infamous words ‘I also like to live dangerously’ is absolute gold.
4) Cool Hand Luke
Appearance number two for the legendary Paul Newman, it was a toss up between the egg scene or this. The egg scene is gambling to a certain extent but this is more in keeping with the list, plus we hate boiled eggs here at Next Projection! The camaraderie of the whole shot is enthralling and ‘Cool Hand Luke’ earns his nickname with the best poker face in movie history. ‘Sometimes nothin’ can be a real cool hand’ and he wasn’t wrong!
3) The Sting
The hat-trick for Newman, and this time alongside his favourite partner in crime, Robert Redford. Gambling mixed with a con, the best kind! A scene to define a movie, hero meets villain. The intensity pours out of the screen as Henry Gondorff turns the tables on the mean looking Doyle Lonnegan by out-cheating him, as he turns over four jacks to the gangsters’ surprise, and the viewers’ as well.
2) Lock, Stock & Two Smokin Barrels
Another ‘Fast Eddy’ but this one’s on the opposite end of a hustle. Guy Ritchie nails the London lad gangster movie and this scene is the mutt’s nuts. You know Eddy’s going to lose but it doesn’t stop you from wanting him to somehow turn the tables on the intimidating Hatchet Harry. The close and intense cinematography mixed with Iggy & The Stooges kicking in as soon as the cards hit the deck. Mesmeric from start to finish.
We’re not sure we’d like to get into a showdown with the Teddy “KGB” (brilliantly played by John Malkovich), let alone tell him not to splash the pot! A film that makes underground poker look exciting but daunting at the same time, the stained walls and boxing in the background and a poker scene that is realistic yet enthralling at the same time. One for the die-hards but arguably the best gambling film of all time and this scene is its crowning glory.