The Movie Waffler Will We See a New Wave of Gambling-Themed Movies in 2023? | The Movie Waffler

Will We See a New Wave of Gambling-Themed Movies in 2023?

Will We See a New Wave of Gambling-Themed Movies in 2023?

The casino has acted as a popular setting for Hollywood blockbusters for many years. Not only do gambling houses evoke feelings of excitement and risk in viewers, but the games also act as an excellent backdrop for conversation. That’s why the casino table trope has been used so many times in James Bond movies. With the rise of the online gambling industry, it could be argued that casino films need to adapt. 2023 could be the year that begins the shift towards a new wave of gambling offerings on the big screen.

Time for a Modern Twist on Blackjack Offerings

Of all the casino games used in film, blackjack has been the most prevalent. It’s the most popular card game in the world thanks to its simplicity, which helps to translate it easily on the screen. It doesn’t take long for filmmakers to explain the rules and for viewers to follow the action. The way people play blackjack has changed in recent years, though, with most of the action now taking place online. This has brought about a wide range of new options, including Super Stakes Blackjack, Multihand Blackjack, and even themed games like Quantum Blackjack Plus.

Filmmakers who want to create blackjack movies now need to consider the way the game has changed and look at strategies to incorporate these new themes. That’s because modern audiences have grown up with these titles, and more players in the future will start learning about blackjack in this way. Indeed, some of the old methods of playing blackjack are impossible in the contemporary era.

For example, one thing that has often been a recurring theme in blackjack movies is the concept of card counting. This is when skilled players keep track of the cards and make predictions about whether a high or low-value card will come next. That means that they can choose the best times to double, hit, and stand. Some of the movies that have used this theme well include Barry Levinson’s Rain Man in 1988 and Robert Luketic’s 21 in 2008.  

A trailer for 21.

Nowadays, however, the idea of card counting is almost obsolete. Players are unable to employ the same methods that card sharks of the past used for numerous reasons. Casinos have developed ways to mitigate against the strategy, such as using multiple decks of cards and shuffling them more frequently. There are also more cameras around to keep track of players who could be working together. Card counting, therefore, could be a no go for filmmakers now. Instead, they could look to make films about the modern game. For instance, a player who is skilled at Multihand Blackjack and quickfire games could be fun to watch on the screen.

How Could Poker Movies Be Adapted for the 2020s?

Some of the best poker movies of all time were released before the poker boom in the 2000s and even helped to inspire the game’s rise to worldwide notoriety on the internet. These films still stand up to scrutiny today, but if they were released now, they would have to be adapted to take modern poker-playing methods into account.

Rounders is the most famous film in poker circles, and the 1998 offering from John Dahl was released just before poker started to get big after the turn of the millennium. It featured The Bourne Identity star Matt Damon and Edward Norton of Fight Club as a pair of highly skilled card sharks, with the former a particularly gifted player able to read his opponents. To the inexperienced player, the film was great to watch. However, expert poker players who watch it back find it hard to believe some of the suboptimal plays that occur in the movie.

Casino Royale was another popular poker movie that dropped in 2006 at the height of the poker boom. Martin Campbell managed to portray the tension of a high-stakes poker game supremely. However, there were some unrealistic moments, such as the final hand in which every player at the table had flopped a monster.

A trailer for Casino Royale.

Filmmakers who want to make poker movies nowadays need to be careful because many viewers know more about the game than ever. They will easily spot when unrealistic things happen, or when players make incorrect moves. There’s also a much greater focus on the mathematical side of the game rather than the psychological now, which is why Rounders would have to be significantly adjusted if it were to be remade.

An effective poker film in 2023 could be one that details the rise of an online player and shows how they adapted to the live scene, perhaps culminating in a run at the World Series of Poker Main Event. That would be realistic as plenty of amateur players have won that tournament. For instance, Scott Blumstein’s success in 2017 is well documented.

Gambling Could Be Combined with Other Futuristic Themes

It’s safe to say that with the rise of the online gambling scene, many methods of portraying casinos on screen are outdated. Today’s viewers would find it easier to relate to someone live streaming a table game than a player sitting face-to-face with a dealer in a land-based casino. Therefore, any new casino-themed movies in 2023 and beyond should take this into account.

Filmmakers could also consider what the gambling industry could look like in another ten years’ time, as this would help to improve the longevity of their offerings. For example, it’s expected that virtual reality could play a massive part in the sector once it enters the mainstream. A movie that combines card games like blackjack and poker with a metaverse-style Ready Player One setting could be a major hit.

It feels as though the film industry is on the cusp of a new wave of gambling movies. 2023 may not be the exact year that the shift occurs, but there should be a gradual move away from the pre-internet ideas about how to show gambling on screen.