What has been the most popular choice of casino games in film?
The most popular casino games that are shown in the movies tend to change over time as different games become popular while others fall out of fashion.
Roulette is one game that seems to avoid the vagaries of fashion, and it can be seen in just about every movie that has a casino scene, even if the movie has nothing to do with the game. Similarly just about every casino movie features slots, even if it is just a shot of a slots hall. In fact roulette and slots are frequently used simply to inform us that we are in a casino.
Over recent times poker has become very popular both in real life and the movies, and in particular the form of poker called Texas Hold’em. Although it is said that the game was developed in Texas as long ago as 1900, it wasn’t until the late 1960s that it appeared in Las Vegas where it was simply known as Hold’em, and the game didn’t emerge from Nevada until the 1980s. Even then it wasn’t particularly popular, draw poker was the game that was mainly played, not until the turn of the twenty first century did its popularity surge.
It is interesting to see the changes in casino poker fashion:
• The 1966 movie A Big Hand for the Little Lady depicted no-limit five-card draw poker
• The 1965 move the Cincinnati Kid featured five-card stud poker
• The 1998 British movie Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels directed by Guy Ritchie featured a version of three card poker called ‘three card brag’
• The 1998 movie Rounders starring Matt Damon was all about Texas Hold’em and was said to have been influential in popularising the game
The most popular casino game in James Bond movies is Chemin de Fer (or baccarat) and he tends to be good at it, which is a little strange given that the game is entirely based on chance, there isn’t a single element of skill in it. His legacy in casinos can be seen by the fact that online establishments Gaming Club’s online pokies have developed slots games dedicated to the man. In the 2006 remake of Casino Royale the game favoured by Bond was switched to Texas Hold’em.