Gambling and movies go hand in hand, with some of the most memorable films featuring high stakes games and risky bets. Netflix offers a great selection of gambling-themed movies ranging from casino heists to poker hustling.
While brick-and-mortar casinos often feature prominently in these films, the rise of online casinos such as SoCanadianCasino has opened up new settings and stories to explore in recent gambling movies. This list covers 8 of the best gambling movies currently available for streaming on Netflix.
“Casino” is a crime drama directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, and Joe Pesci. It depicts the rise and fall of mobsters and gamblers in Las Vegas in the 1970s. De Niro plays Sam “Ace” Rothstein, a gambling expert assigned by the mafia to run the Tangiers Casino. Alongside his volatile childhood friend Nicky (Pesci), Ace grows the Tangiers into a gambling mecca while also falling in love with hustler Ginger (Stone). However, greed, deception, drugs, and violence threaten to destroy everything Ace has built. “Casino” provides an exhilarating look inside the high-stakes world of Las Vegas casinos.
“Rounders” follows the story of Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), a talented law student who is also a gifted poker player. After losing his entire savings in a high-stakes poker game against Russian mobster Teddy KGB (John Malkovich), Mike decides to temporary stop gambling to focus on law school. However, when his childhood friend Lester “Worm” Murphy (Edward Norton) is released from prison, Mike is pulled back into the underground world of illegal, high-stakes poker across New York City. With the lure of easy money and high reward also comes great risk that ultimately tests Mike’s morals and future plans. Directed by John Dahl, “Rounders” provides an intriguing glimpse into the secretive subculture of high-stakes poker.
“21” is a drama film directed by Robert Luketic and inspired by the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team. The film follows brilliant MIT student Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) as he is recruited by math professor Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey) into a secret blackjack card counting team. The team uses their genius-level IQs to tip the odds in their favor and win big at casinos across Las Vegas. Along with teammates Choi, Fisher, and Jill (Kate Bosworth), Ben has to learn to shuffle cards and handle the pressures that come with raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, as internal conflicts and casino security threats grow, the team finds their winnings – and lives – at increasing risk. “21” delivers an exciting fictionalized take on real-life MIT students who beat the system at blackjack.
“The Gambler” (2014)
Jim Bennett, played by Mark Wahlberg, is a literature professor leading a double life as a compulsive gambler in the 2014 crime drama “The Gambler” directed by Rupert Wyatt. Bennett borrows money from his wealthy mother (Jessica Lange) and makes risky bets with underground bookies, including gangster Michael K. Williams, to try to repay his massive gambling debts. His obsessive gambling destroys relationships with his students and colleagues, including aspiring writer Amy (Brie Larson). As the consequences of his addiction mount, Bennett finds himself in a dangerous race against time to repay what he owes to violent bookies. “The Gambler” provides a gripping look into the downward spiral of compulsive gambling and its damaging ripple effects. Joshua Cramer commented that Wahlberg gives a compelling performance as a man unable to stop self-destructing through his gambling obsession.
“Ocean’s Eleven” (2001)
“Ocean’s Eleven” is a heist film directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Julia Roberts. Just released from prison, charismatic Danny Ocean (Clooney) recruits a gang of experienced thieves for an elaborate casino heist in Las Vegas. His target is ruthless casino owner Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) who happens to be dating Danny’s ex-wife Tess (Roberts). With the help of his longtime friend Rusty Ryan (Pitt) and other criminal specialists, Danny’s crew plans to rob three prominent Las Vegas casinos simultaneously during a boxing match. However, executing their complex heist proves challenging as rivalry and romantic tensions arise within the group. Featuring an all-star ensemble cast, “Ocean’s Eleven” combines slick con game strategies with cunning twists and personality-driven humor.
“Molly’s Game” (2017)
Jessica Chastain delivers a captivating performance as Molly Bloom, a world-class skier whose stunning career is cut short by a devastating injury, in Aaron Sorkin’s fast-paced biopic “Molly’s Game.” Forced to leave competitive skiing behind, Bloom stumbles into the underground world of high-stakes poker in Los Angeles, where she builds an empire running exclusive games for Hollywood elites, business titans, and millionaires. As her prowess grows, so does her client list of powerful men, from movie stars to business moguls, who play in her glamorous poker games for staggering sums of money. But keeping these volatile egos happy proves challenging, and Bloom struggles to stay in control as players rack up massive debts, the Russian mob intervenes, and the FBI closes in. Based on her real-life memoir, “Molly’s Game” highlights Bloom’s tenacity and sharp mind as she navigates the seductive but dangerous realm of high-stakes gambling. Chastain is riveting as the ambitious, whip-smart woman determined to thrive in this male-dominated world on her own complex terms.
“The Cincinnati Kid” (1965)
“The Cincinnati Kid” is a 1965 drama film about poker directed by Norman Jewison and featuring an all-star cast led by Steve McQueen. McQueen plays Eric “The Kid” Stoner, a young poker player seeking to prove himself against veteran player Lancey “The Man” Howard (Edward G. Robinson). When a big poker game is organized in New Orleans, it’s The Kid’s chance to challenge The Man head-to-head in a high-stakes match. Complicating matters, The Kid falls for Christian (Tuesday Weld), the girlfriend of cocky shooter Slade (Rip Torn). With both romance and his reputation on the line, The Kid finds himself pushed to the limit during the tense final showdown. Also starring Ann-Margret and Joan Blondell, “The Cincinnati Kid” captures the gritty allure of New Orleans poker during the Depression era.
“Win It All” (2017)
Jake Johnson stars as Eddie Garrett, a small-time Chicago gambler who takes possession of a bag full of cash belonging to an acquaintance headed to prison, in director Joe Swanberg’s comedy “Win It All.” When Eddie discovers the duffel bag given to him for safekeeping is filled with money, he sees it as a chance to turn his luck around and pay off debts. However, after using the money to gamble, Eddie must scramble to raise the stakes and win big before the owner is released from jail. With humor and sharp dialogue, “Win It All” captures the real anxieties and risks of compulsive gambling as Eddie’s frantic scheme forces him to lie and put more on the line than he can afford to lose.
Netflix offers an entertaining and varied selection of movies exploring the perilous world of high stakes gambling. From stylish heists to gritty dramas, these films spotlight fascinating characters risking it all in games of poker, blackjack, and more. Whether looking for casino glitz or a cautionary tale, these 8 movies provide an inside look at lives fueled by the risks and rewards of gambling.