Iconic Card Games Featured in Your Favourite Movies

The thrill of high-stakes games on the silver screen
| May 13, 2022
Iconic Card Games Featured in Your Favourite Movies 4

Many card game moments have adorned the silver screen throughout the years, from James Bond’s tough poker and baccarat decisions to Rain Man’s amazing playing abilities in Las Vegas.

Card game movies offer a lot of drama since gambling is all about taking chances. Through the lenses, you can see not wise and careful personalities, but ruthless and ambitious people who would risk everything to win the jackpot.

While numerous casino scenes have been included in films, here are a few iconic table card games that have been popular enough to be portrayed on the big screen.

Baccarat

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Baccarat has long been a popular card game in Europe and Asia, but in recent decades, it has also gained popularity in the United States and the rest of the world. The game has relatively basic rules and only three possible outcomes, making it an excellent choice for inexperienced players.

The game’s beginnings may be traced back to Italy in the late 14th century, with the first records published in the early 1400s, and by the end of the 15th century, Baccarat was spread throughout Europe.

The most popular variety in the United States is baccarat punto banco, which originated in Havana, Cuba in the 1940s and found its way to Las Vegas in the 1950s, when most of the famous casinos we know today were being built.

Baccarat is the game of choice of James Bond, and the game has been featured in many movies in the franchise, beginning right from the early releases. The British secret agent with a license to kill can be seen playing baccarat in a lot of his adventures, including Dr. No, Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Never Say Never Again, and GoldenEye.

Given the game’s popularity in Asia, Baccarat is Jackie Chan’s favorite game as well, and it has been featured in some of his movies, including City Hunter and Rush Hour 3.

Blackjack

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Blackjack is unquestionably the most popular casino game in the world, as well as the second most popular card game. It is also a mainstay at online casinos, where players can even enjoy live versions of the game. Blackjack, one of the simplest card games with straightforward rules, is a popular option among many players due to its low house edge and higher possibilities of winning.

Blackjack evolved from the old Spanish card game veintiuno (Spanish for “twenty-one”), and the first reports of the game trace back to the 17th century, when it was documented by Spain’s famous writer Miguel de Cervantes. It was introduced in England at the end of the 18th century, and the first set of rules was developed in the early 1900s, with the game being known as Vingt-Un.

It rose to prominence in the United States during the Klondike Gold Rush, when it was called Blackjack, another word for zincblende, a mineral discovered by prospectors in gold and silver deposits.

As one of the most popular card games in the world, Blackjack has been heavily featured in movies, also due to its simple rules, since viewers can easily understand what’s going on. Unarguably, the best movie to portray Blackjack is Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman as an autistic man who is induced by his brother to use his eidetic memory to count cards in Blackjack tables in Las Vegas.

Poker

Iconic Card Games Featured In Your Favourite Movies 2
Rounders (1998)

Poker is without a doubt the most popular card game in the world, and it has become a cultural phenomenon and an important component of modern culture since the mid-2000s. Poker is also a competitive game, featuring significant tournaments and events such as the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour, as well as being included in the Mind Sports Olympiad.

The game’s beginnings are rather debatable. Some academics think that the development of poker was inspired by a number of ancient games, including the Persian game As-Nas, the Renaissance game primero, and the French game brelan.

However, there is a recent school of thought that denies these ancestors, arguing that the distinctive qualities of poker have to do with the betting, which is not seen in any known previous game. Poker, they think, was invented and disseminated over the Mississippi River region by the early 1800s, and its development is tied to the introduction of commercial gambling.

Undeniably, poker is the card game that has been portrayed on the silver screen the most, and there are countless great movies featuring this popular game. However, it’s safe to say that Rounders is the best ever poker movie. Not only has it become a cult hit, the movie also influenced the poker boom in the mid-2000s.

Poker has also been featured in James Bond movies, most prominently in the most recent adaptation of Casino Royale. Even though both Ian Fleming’s novel and its first movie adaptation featured baccarat as one of the main themes in the plot, in the 2006 film starring Daniel Craig, James Bond must play a high-stakes game of Texas hold ‘em to put a stop to Le Chiffre’s plans.

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