Pontoon, 21, blackjack, call it what you will, but the card game in which players attempt to get a hand worth 21 without going bust is unquestionably one of the most popular and well-known casino games on the planet.
So, it should not be hugely surprising to learn that blackjack has featured in many famous films over the years. Here are five of the best.
In Martin Scorsese’s epic 1995 gangster film Casino, there are plenty of casino games being played. But one of the most memorable scenes from the movie involves blackjack.
Sam Rothstein, played by Robert De Niro, has taken over operations of the fictional Tangiers casino in Las Vegas for the Mafia, accompanied by his pal Nicky Santoro, played by Joe Pesci.
When Santoro catches gamblers cheating at blackjack, he grabs the player at the table and asks him to either forfeit the game or keep his winnings and face the consequences.
Based on a true story, the 2008 film 21 is about a professor building a team of six students who become experts in card counting.
Armed with a way of increasing the probability of winning at blackjack, the gang head to Las Vegas to steal as much as they can from the Strip’s casinos.
If you are looking for a movie that is all about blackjack, 21 is a winner. And if you want to play blackjack yourself, you don’t have to go all the way to Las Vegas.
Instead, you can play live blackjack at a live online casino, in which you play in real-time with a real croupier.
Another movie that is largely centred around the game of blackjack is 1988’s multiple-Oscar-winner Rain Man starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman.
After Cruise’s character Charlie Babbitt’s father dies, Babbitt learns he has an older brother who is an autistic savant. His brother, Hoffman’s Raymond Babbitt, has inherited $3 million from his father.
Not before long, the two brothers meet and Charlie convinces Raymond to go on a card-counting blackjack tour of Las Vegas.
Raymond’s autism allows him to count cards to such a precise degree, that it looks like the pair can’t lose. However, as any cinema audience knows, things never go to plan.
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
While the Austin Powers comedy films do not centre around gambling or casinos, there is a memorable blackjack scene in the first movie.
In a game featuring Number Two and the outdated 1960s secret agent Austin Powers, Number Two ignores advice to stick on 17 and insists on hitting.
Unbeknownst to Powers and the others, Number Two’s x-ray vision allows him to see the next card to be dealt will be a 4, enabling him to reach 21.
Mike Myers’ Austin Powers attempts to compete with Number Two. Only, his stubbornness to stick on 5 does not pay off!
One of the funniest films of the 2010s has to be The Hangover, in which four friends head to Las Vegas for a stag night.
After a night of hitting the town, three of the friends wake up the next morning with no memory of what happened the night before. Furthermore, the groom is missing.
The three friends retrace their steps in the hope of piecing together the evening and finding their friend in time for his wedding.
Along the way, the threesome is tricked into believing the groom is being held hostage and they must raise $80,000 in ransom money.
One of the funniest scenes in the movie is when the character Alan, played by Zack Galifianakis, decides to win the ransom money by playing blackjack via counting-card techniques he learns in a book called The World’s Greatest Blackjack Book. Incredibly, he wins.