Distinguishing Fact From Fiction In Casino Films 


If you want cold hard facts then you’d best give Hollywood a wide berth.  They have been known to change history to suit their dramatic needs. This even applies to other movies that are based on actual events.

Aspects of true stories are frequently altered to make them more cinematic. However, even when not dealing with factual material, the movie world likes to change aspects of reality and replace it with their own. 

With this new reality comes the hope that audiences will accept these new rules in order for the movie to be successful. 

Can a New York cop single-handedly dispatch an organized gang of terrorists? In reality probably not and it would be foolish to try. 

Can our hero take umpteen punches to the head before staging a miraculous comeback to win the fight, without ending up in a head trauma unit or permanently brain-damaged? Nobody would like to try this to find out. 

It’s not just in these actions where we have to suspend our disbelief, but it’s in smaller details too. 

If you are making a movie set in the world of gambling then you will most probably attract a gambling crowd who know the ins and outs of the lifestyle and the forms of gambling involved. 

Therefore if it were a Poker game at King Casino it would be best to get your facts right about what playing Poker entails. 

Casino Royale 

Casino Royale was the 21st James Bond Film. It was released in 2006 and Martin Campbell’s effort has a casino that is integral to the entire narrative of this fine addition to the James Bond franchise. 

The casino scenes are lengthy and full of tension and drama. What this film gets right are the mind games that go on during a Poker game. 

The writers realized that when you play poker you are not just up against a card hand, you are also playing the opponent. Therefore half the time you are playing the person and not the cards they have been dealt. 

This is especially important in Casino Royale where the game is no ordinary poker night with friends. Here there are millions of dollars and the security of the world at stake. 

The flaw actually is with the amount of cash that is on the table. This takes the scene into the realms of fiction as the No Limits Texas Hold’em game has a ridiculous $115 million on the table. 

This would eclipse the biggest ever jackpot won in the World Series Of Poker and the biggest ever win in the history of live casino gambling. 

Furthermore, Bond makes the final raise in the game and should, therefore, show his hand first, instead of his opponent, but this would not crank up the tension further. Therefore the rules are broken for maximum dramatic effect. 

The authenticity of a high roller casino is well realized with sharply-dressed men and glamorous women abound in an intimate casino atmosphere. 

More fiction is saved for how the Poker game pans out as the hands James Bond and his nemesis Le Chiffre is dealt makes for a lack of bluff and double bluff that you would expect if you ever found yourself at a Poker game worth millions.


Martin Scorsese’s 1996 epic gangster flick Casino, is a fascinating examination of the two faces of gambling. 

There is the glamour and excitement of Vegas casinos that the punters experience, whilst behind the scenes, there is ugliness and violence involving the mafia. 

Released in 1995 it stars Robert De Niro as Sam Rothstein, a casino manager with mafia connections. It is actually based on the real-life experiences of Frank ‘Lefty’ Rosenthal who managed the Fremont, Hacienda and Stardust casinos In Las Vegas for Chicago mobsters back in the 1970s and 1980s 

Casino is famous for the performances of its cast members and some graphic depictions of mob violence. It does, however, shed light on the intricate day-to-day running of a multi-million dollar Vegas casino business. 

 Conversations between characters are based on the facts about what it takes to run each different section of the casino.  In fact, the casino is the visual star of this movie, however, The Tangiers is a fictional establishment created for it. 

Casino scores highly for dealing in gambling facts as most of the events came straight from real-life experiences. It’s a world away from the highly regulated casinos of today, but this took part in an era where the mob had a big influence in the casinos of Vegas. 

From the characters that inhabit the casino, to the brutality dished out to cheats and individuals who became a liability to the mafia, Casino shows the glitzy and disturbing side of gambling almost fiction free.  

Other Hollywood Gambling Movie Blunders 

In general Hollywood movies can influence the behaviour of the gambling public. Rounders increased the popularity of Texas Hold ‘Em with a sharp spike in the number of people playing this game. This coincided with Rounders doing the rounds at the box office. 

The hit cool comedy Ocean’s 11 released back into 2001, helped increase the amount of visitors to casinos thanks to its portrayal of them being fun and glamorous places to visit. 

The movie delivered a lot of facts about the everyday running of the casino that is the target of the heist. However, the rest is pure fiction verging on fantasy, as casino security is some of the tightest in the world. 

Winnings from games are usually overblown and the already mentioned Casino Royale is guilty of this along with the movie 21. 

In general the highly regulated casinos of today do not have goons that beat customers up. All casinos have security to keep the public safe. If you are caught doing something illegal you are highly unlikely to be taken around the back for your punishment. 

Movies have their own reality and clichés and these are evident in Casino movies too.

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