here are countless films out there about gambling, and several of them have scenes that show people cheating at the game of blackjack. It was hard to narrow the list down to the top three! Here is our pick of the three best films that feature blackjack cheats.
This classic Scorsese film features Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Sharon Stone. While the movie is not specifically about blackjack, it does include one truly unforgettable scene. Pesci plays the tough and kind of crazy Nicky Santoro. At one point in this movie, Nicky catches some guys cheating at blackjack in the Tangiers Casino.
The cheaters are using a technique called “spooking”, where someone actually stands behind the dealer and peeks at his cards, then secretly conveys this information to his partner who is sitting at the table. Nicky offers one cheater a choice – either walk away empty-handed, or keep his winnings and get his hand smashed by a hammer. If you have seen the movie, you know what the cheater chooses!
We should note that Spooking is highly illegal. It’s also extremely hard to do. It’s definitely not a recommended practice in Vegas or anyplace else.
Rain Man (1988)
Rain Man is a great film starring Tom Cruise as Charlie Babbit, who suddenly finds himself in the care of his brother Raymond, played by Dustin Hoffman. Raymond is an autistic savant, and while he can’t function very well in normal social situations, he has an uncanny memory.
When Charlie notices how fast Raymond can count, and how well he can remember numbers and things, he tests his brother with a deck of cards. Before long, the two are in Vegas, with Raymond counting his way through a six deck shoe with no troubles. They do well, but eventually they get noticed, and have to leave in the end. Interestingly, the dealer at the blackjack table was also the dealer in the movie Casino!
This film is, bar none, the best blackjack film ever made. Not only is it based on a true story, but the entire film focuses on the world’s best card game – blackjack! Kevin Spacey plays Micky Rosa, a maths professor at MIT. Micky brings together his brightest math students to form a team of card counters who frequent Vegas and win big.
The 21 team uses a sophisticated card counting technique. Instead of memorizing all the cards that have been played like Rain Man did, the team kept a running tally that depicted an average of how “hot” the table was. Using a set of code words, they communicated the current count to one another, and were able to make better choices when playing. Just like in the other movies, the players eventually get caught, and things get ugly.
All blackjack fans need to see these three movies at least once. If you’ve never watched them, go rent them tonight. Or, better yet, just rent one, then spend the rest of the evening getting your blackjack fix at one of the internet’s top online blackjack casinos!