In movies, casinos are often portrayed as a place where people can get rich and lose everything. Casinos have always been attractive to filmmakers because of the drama they offer. From the glamorous to the gritty, casinos are portrayed in many different ways in film and TV.
Whether it’s using a system to win at blackjack, roulette, or poker, there are many different strategies shown on screen. Some of these methods are based on real life, while others are complete fiction. But either way, they make for some great entertainment.
One technique which appears in numerous movies is the martingale strategy. This is a gambling strategy that has been used for centuries in an attempt to increase the chances of winning the game of roulette, but it can also be used in various card games too. It’s based on the idea that the player doubles their bet after every loss and continues to do so until they win and then goes back to their original wager.
The martingale strategy is often depicted as a surefire way to beat casinos and make them pay out big in movies and TV shows. But in real life though, using the martingale strategy can be expensive. It’s risky and can lead to huge losses if you’re not careful and don’t know when to stop.
There is a couple of variations to this approach. There is the anti-martingale strategy, which flips the idea, so the player doubles the bet after a win but goes back to the original wager following a loss. Also, the spilt martingale strategy, which is a bit more complex…
With the split martingale, the player decides before playing how much money they want to win and writes down a list of numbers that adds up the amount. On each bet, the player stakes the sum of the first and last number in the list. If they win, those numbers are removed. If they lose, the lost amount is added to the end of the list. This continues until the player wins the desired amount… or runs out of money!
The split martingale, also known as the Labouchère system, was a favourite of James Bond, and can be seen in a number of films over the years, such as ‘Dr No’ and ‘Diamonds Are Forever’.
Another common gambling technique found in films and TV shows is the use of card counting. Card counting is when gamblers try to keep track of which cards have been dealt so that they can increase their odds of winning by betting on those cards.
You can see examples of this in films such as ‘Rain Man’, which sees Tom Cruise’s character taking his autistic-savant brother, played by Dustin Hoffman, to a casino to win the money they need playing blackjack and counting cards. Whilst card counting isn’t illegal (so long as you aren’t using outside help), casinos do have the right to eject anyone from their establishment who they find doing it!
There is also a movie example which combines both of these ideas in the 2004 movie ‘The Last Casino‘. This film is heavily inspired by the real-life case of the MIT Blackjack Team, where a professor trained a group of his students to use card counting and other sophisticated strategies to beat casinos. In this film version, they are depicted using a combination of card counting and the martingale strategy.
While we all hope to strike it rich while gambling, the odds are always against us. But that doesn’t stop people from trying to beat the system. And in some cases, they’ve even been successful.