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The world is filled with stories of gamblers and the mafia; some real and some fictional. Here are 3 movies based on real-life gamblers.

Top 3 movies based on real-life gamblers

The world is filled with stories of gamblers and the mafia; some real and some fictional. Every year, the movie industry makes millions by selling these stories to the general public, but the sheer amount of truth in these movies is almost insignificant. Biographical films based on the lives of these gamblers are not as conventional as popular fiction. People don’t want to hear the truth; they want to listen to a story of the truth. 

Films of the gambling genre are popular all across the globe, especially in Hollywood and the East Asian movie-making culture. Plus, these movies based on gambling have been watched and re-watched by fans so many times that one could easily pick up a few gambling skills from them and try their luck in gambling sites like

Molly’s Game

Molly’s Game: The True Story of the 26-Year-Old Woman Behind the Most Exclusive, High-Stakes Underground Poker Game in the World! by Molly Bloom is her autobiography, where she writes about her dream of being an Olympic mogul skier. During a qualifying round, Molly was seriously injured and could not continue her dream of skiing in the Olympics. 

After recovering from the injuries, she moved to Los Angeles and worked as a barmaid where Mr. Darin Feinstein approached her. He co-owned a nightclub known as TheViperRoom to organize a poker game in the basement of the club as requested by Hollywood star, Tobey Maguire. 

In three years, Molly started her own event company which organized high-stakes poker tournaments by the name of Molly Bloom Incorporated. Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Alex Rodriguez, and many other personalities from sports, music, and films came to play poker. 

In 2011, Molly was charged with racketeering and running a Ponzi scheme. In 2017, based on Molly’s memoir, Aron Sorkin directed Molly’s Game and it was released in 2017 starring Jessica Michelle Chastain as Molly Bloom. 


One of Martin Scorsese’s masterpieces, Casino is based on Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas––a non-fiction book written by Nicholas Pileggi who helped co-write the screenplay of the movie. Nicholas’ other non-fiction, Wiseguy, went on to become Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Casino was released in 1995 starring Robert De Niro, Sharron Stone, and Joe Pesci. 

The movie added more spice to the reality and used false names instead of real names of the people who feature in the book. The lead, Sam ‘Ace’ Rothenstine, played by De Niro, is based on a man called Frank ‘Lefty’ Rosenthal who was a mob-connected bookmaker and ran a casino is Las Vegas. However, in reality, Frank had no legal license. 

The characters played by Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone are based on real people by the names of Anthony Spilotro who took care of all the fights and did the dirty work for Frank and Geri McGee who worked as a dancer before she got married to Frank. The film was a massive hit on the box office and won numerous awards. Although one can argue that the movie is loosely based on the lives of real people, Scorsese’s representation of them was close to accurate.


Inspired by a set of real events and based on Ben Mezrich’s book, Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions, 21 is the story of a blackjack team which graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The movie stars Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess, and a group of other actors who form the blackjack team. Ben Campbell, played by Jim Sturgess, is accepted at the Howard Medical School but is unable to afford the extravagant tuition fees. 

He faces aggressive competition for a scholarship and is approached by a professor named Micky Rosa played by Kevin Spacey. Micky gets so impressed by Ben’s brilliance in solving equations and puzzles that he asks him to join his blackjack team. Ben, using his knowledge of probability, shines as a blackjack player when the unit is sent to Las Vegas. 

The life of grandeur and richness starts to change Ben and he parts with his team. The film takes us through his life after being separated from the group.


There is a need for making movies that are based on real gamblers and people of the mafia instead of spinning a fairy tale. An adaptation or re-creation of a memoir or biography will provide better insights into the culture and lives of these bold gamblers.

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