If you’ve ever watched a good casino movie, you know that leading characters in these gambling classics are often unstoppable machines at the tables. Complete with a bad-ass attitude and a well-honed skillset, these wagering legends often step inside of a casino for a quick game of chance, only to walk out hours later with newly-won stacks of cash and a confident swagger that tells passersby that they knew they’d win from the very beginning. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest bad-asses in cinematic gambling history.
Eric Stoner from The Cincinnati Kid
When it comes to poker, few films can compare to the story of Eric ‘The Kid’ Stoner in this classic film. On a mission to establish himself as the very best, he challenges Lancey ‘The Man’ Howard to a climatic final hand designed to prove once and for all that he’s as good as it gets. Steve McQueen’s unforgettable portrayal of Stoner is often credited with introducing poker to the world of Hollywood in a major way, and films have been attempting to recapture the magic ever since.
Micky Rosa from 21
Plenty of films have toyed with the idea of counting cards and eliminating the house’s statistical edge, but this epic story’s detailed portrayal a group of MIT students and their blackjack odyssey is difficult to top. Micky Rosa, played by Kevin Spacey, serves as the patriarch of the gambling squad with all of the skill and intimidation you’d expect. Based on a true story, this film puts a Hollywood spin on a classic ‘stranger than fiction’ tale of MIT alumni who took down the house at blackjack tables around the world.
Nicky Santoro from Casino
For an in-depth look at the inner workings of a casino operated by the Italian Mob, none are better than this Martin Scorsese classic. Nicky Santoro, played by Joe Pesci, is a Mob enforcer sent to Vegas to make sure that local mobsters stay in line. Based on real-life figure Anthony Spilotro, Santoro uses his position of power at the tables, cashing in on incredible winning streaks along the way. This critically-acclaimed film gives viewers a better idea of casino operations in the 1970s with plenty of eye popping drama along the way.
James Bond from Dr. No
Has there ever been a more suave, sophisticated and utterly irresistible gambler than Ian Fleming’s most famous fictional character? In this portrayal, Bond, played by Sean Connery, takes part in an old-fashioned version of baccarat at a club in London, but 007 has played his share of casino classics over the years. If you’d prefer craps, check out Diamond are Forever, where Bond’s aggressive style leads to $65,000 in winnings. If Texas Hold ‘Em is more your style, you’ll want to see Casino Royale, where Bond, played by Daniel Craig, takes on his enemy is a series of high stakes hands.
When it comes to bad-ass gamblers, Hollywood has produced some unforgettable figures. So, do you have what it takes to match their amazing confidence and attitude? There’s only one way to find out!