Cassino’s setting is one of the most common movie tropes in the world. The problem is that the movie casinos and real-life casino experiences are not necessarily the same. You see, there are a lot of things that movies and series get wrong about gambling and casinos, in general. Some of these things they miss on purpose (the story benefits from mischaracterization, etc.), but they’re still wrong. Here are six things movies and series get wrong about gambling.
1. Mob no longer runs casinos
While this was true in the past, it’s been decades since the mob is no longer running casinos. Still, the idea of massive shareholder societies is not nearly as romantic or cinematographic as the old-school concept of a mob-run casino.
Most people are familiar with Vegas from movies like Casino or Ocean’s 11, which is what they expect to see in future installments. The fact that this is no longer the case should never get in the way of a good story.
Some people are even nostalgic for the mob-run Vegas. You could get $1.99 steak and eggs at 4 am, you could drink for free for as long as you were gambling, and there were regular free shows and slot tournaments. While you can no longer experience all of this in real life, you can definitely live this life through movies.
2. There are no coolers
In the movies, whenever a person is winning too much, the casino sends a “cooler” to resolve the situation. This is either a special dealer or an employee renowned for spreading “bad luck” to others. They would turn the luck in the casino’s favor and turn your winning streak around.
Needless to say, there’s no such thing. You see, the casino doesn’t need to win every single gambling iteration. The way in which profits in the casino work are simple. The volume of games, combined with the house edge, ensures that the house is always profitable. Even a single massive winning streak is not going to set them behind.
In other words, it’s not that they can’t interfere with your winning streak – it’s that they really have no reason to. Moreover, they don’t have or need to cheat, and there’s no way to transfer bad luck to someone.
3. The language is different
There are a lot of interesting gambling terms and phrases that are never used in the movies. Why? Well, for cinematographic reasons. The audience is not familiar with them, and it would take a while to get them all on the same page with the audience.
There’s a discrepancy between the language of the actual field that’s the movie’s topic, and your audience’s knowledge about it. Imagine if science was the major theme in the movie, and you had to lecture your entire audience on the rudimentary rules and laws of the field before they could enjoy the movie. Imagine if you needed to have a degree to actually enjoy the movie.
Now, while things aren’t as complex, this also translates to gambling. So, if you actually want to start frequenting the casino, you might want to learn some of the terms ahead of time.
4. Poker hands are not as ridiculous
In every single poker movie/episode you’ve ever watched, there’s someone with a royal flush, four-of-a-kind, etc. The chance of getting four of a kind is 0.168%. In other words, you’re lucky if you get it once every 1,000 games.
Even when you do, it won’t be aces or kings (which is always the case in the movies). You all know the scene where the bad guy with four kings goes all in against our hero with four aces. The same can happen the other way around, with the difference that the protagonist uses this loss as the motivation to embark on the hero’s journey to get the money back.
In other words, it’s never as dramatic and as iconic. Needless to say, the hands are not as ridiculous, either. Speaking of which…
5. Ridiculous bets
While people have made many bets in the past, when watching movies, you get the impression that this is the norm. This is really not the case. Many people have their budget, and once they spend the money, they go home.
It’s not like you can just take off your Rolex and demonstratively hurl it to the middle of the desk. You also can’t do this with your car keys. The reason why this is portrayed so in the movies is that it’s more interesting. You can’t afford to confuse a plot device with a real-life occurrence.
Casinos are not malicious entities trying to lure people into indebted servitude by offering them unlimited credit. This is just not how things work. Also, most casinos work in a structured way and accept only chips.
6. People cheer as you play
You probably already saw a scene where a character is on a wild winning streak with half of the casino chanting to cheer them… yeah, this is not a real thing. People are at the casino to have fun on their own accord, not to look at other people’s hands or tables.
You see, most of the time, it’s not a skill issue. It’s not like you can admire the way the other person is holding the cards or even their decision-making. It’s just a matter of luck. So, why would you want to look at someone having better or worst luck than you playing the same game while you could be making your own gains/losses?
Sure, a long streak can be impressive and even gather a small crowd, but the majority of people at the casino mind their own business.
In the end, casino movies were never meant to represent real casinos. They’re the representation of what people think casinos are like or what they believe casinos should be like. While there are numerous similarities to the real world, the directors would never allow the truth to get in the way of a good story.