Just about everyone loves a good gambling movie, whether or not they’re gamblers themselves. It’s because gambling makes for great plots.
For those who do, gambling films present storylines that make them more alluring while such offerings also appeal to persons who don’t due to sheer intrigue.
Gambling is already huge in Canada but is still a growing trend. It helps that casino apps in Toronto are live at the moment. Of course, Canada has also set the stage for some of the more popular gambling movies ever released. We’ll take a look at five of them below.
1. The Last Casino
This film is similar to the Hollywood movie, 21, and is a humor-filled bit focused on the world of gambling. It delves into the history of the practice, focusing mainly on blackjack.
The Last Casino is loosely based on the infamous MIT Blackjack Team of 1979 and portrays a professor who teaches three of his student how to cut cards so they can help him flip $1,000 into $35,000 after he gets banned from Ontario and Quebec casinos.
The real MIT Blackjack Team was a group of students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who were trained by Bill Kaplan, who made $35,000 from $1,000 in nine months two years prior and put off his Harvard entrance so he could build a mathematical model to ensure his success at blackjack.
2. Owning Mahowny
If you love visiting big Canadian casinos, you’ll love Owning Mahowny. The 2003 film stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who plays the titular character Mahowny, and is focused on the uglier side of gambling as opposed to the glamorous and eccentric lifestyles gambling movies often display.
Owning Mahowny is based on a true story based on the exploits, so to speak, of a Canadian bank manager who steals money from the institution which employs him in order to partake in Atlantic City bets.
The real story is one of a bank manager stealing north of $10 million from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce due to his gambling addiction. Owning Mahowny is considered to be one of the films intended to dissuade folks from developing an addiction to gambling.
3. Lucky Girl
The 2001 film, also known as My Daughter’s Secret Life, stars Elisha Cuthbert and Sherry Miller. It focuses on a girl, Kaitlyn, whose obsession with always being right sees her develop a gambling addiction. Things start off pretty great and she claims a big prize off of a magic-wand lottery ticket but, as expected, they take a turn for the worst when she becomes more entrenched in the practice so she could make money to go off to Amsterdam on holiday with her friends.
She makes some pretty regrettable decisions along the way as her desire to win bigger payouts grows, with her risk-taking getting braver and braver, much to her chagrin.
4. Dead Heat
Dead Heat, starring Keifer Sutherland, sees the 24 actor play 35-year-old police officer Paul “Pally” LaMarr, who’s forced to retire following a heart attack that occurs on the job.
Pally’s circumstances lead to depression and he contemplates suicide, prompting his wife to summon his brother Ray, a small-time thief. This backfires as Ray convinces Pally to fund an underdog racehorse who could bring in a large payout should it win. Ray, though, fails to tell his brother that his jockey is a gambling addict who owes a huge sum to a mob boss.
The brothers inherit the mob debt and, as a result, become participants in a variety of crimes, including murder.
5. Cold Deck
Cold Deck tells the story of a poker player and gambling addict named Bobby.
The 2015 movie, directed by Zack Bernbaum, gives a bit of history on Bobby’s father, who had his life go down the drain due to his own addiction. The main character lives with his sick mother, who does not approve of her son’s lifestyle, having seen how it destroyed his father.
Bobby, though, spends most of his time playing poker at a place called Chips, where he also dates a waitress.
As his mother’s bills and his losses begin to pile up, Bobby takes on bigger risks and, when his friend Ben tells him about a high-stakes poker tournament, they steal a car to get enough money to cover the buy-in.
The pals consider the bankers involved in the tournament as easy marks, which explains why they are willing to take such drastic measures. Bobby even steals his mother’s life savings. It doesn’t help that he develops a relationship with a violent character, though it helps for good viewing as it makes Cold Deck one of the edgier gambling movies made in Canada.