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- Gambling Movies on Netflix
Melanie Porter February 5, 2024 13 min read
Gambling Movies on Netflix
Netflix is a cultural phenomenon no matter where you stand on password sharing or cheesy documentaries about Tyson Fury, a heavyweight boxer with a distinct charisma. Today, we brush this aside and take a good hard look at the best gambling movies on Netflix, bringing you some of the untold stories that you may want to explore.
Our selection of Netflix gaming movies includes action, drama, thriller, and documentaries, along with a few international picks that will make for a great watch no matter what your preferred genre is. With this said, let’s plunge right into our Netflix must-watch gambling movies list.
- Year: 2006
- Language: English
- Director: Martin Campbell
Casino Royale (2006) is the critically acclaimed remake of the 1967 original, which has won accolades & praises across the cinepholie spectrum, and promoted Daniel Craig to the stature of the best James Bond or 007 actor that has ever graced the big screen. Craig’s character, the charismatic daredevil double-oh-seven, appears in the movie to play a game of cat and mouse against Le Chiffre, portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, who is a criminal genius with a soft spot for poker.
Poker may soon finance Le Chiffre’s entire criminal organization if he is to win a high-stakes poker game hosted at the Casino Royale in Monte Carlo. As the British secret services seem to be out of their depth, they cannot outright go and arrest Le Chiffre, but what they can do is get close, play with the man’s hand, and beat him at a game of poker. Of course, there is no better-qualified agent to embark on this task than 007 himself.
He is assisted by the gorgeous Eva Green who serves as a distraction and an aid to Mr Bond, setting up the plot for one of the best gambling movies on Netflix worth seeing. Yet, the movie does not simply come down to a play of cards. There is action, murder attempts, kidnapping and a few perilous moments that make us all ask ourselves if we will see Mr Bond come out of this alive. If you love poker, can look past the fact that Daniel Craig knows nothing about the game, and enjoy good cinematography, Casino Royale may yet be the best movie about gambling on Netflix today.
- Year: 2019
- Language: English
- Director: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie
Uncut Gems is perhaps one of the most gutting dramas on the big screen which goes to show how successful people, through bad judgment calls, can end up in bad situations caused by gambling. So far as gambling movies on Netflix go, this one is a fair warning to everyone who hopes to turn gambling into a full-time job and highlights the dangers that the activity invites.
Adam Sandler plays Howard Ratner, the owner of KMH, a jewelry store in New York, but he also has some problems on the side. For one, Ratner is a gambling addict who has raked in massive amounts of debt, and he owes money to many people – not all of whom are willing to cut Ratner a break. Among his list of creditors is his own brother-in-law, but that’s the least of his worries as he’s also in bed with Arno, a loan shark and a mafiosi-type who is very keen to get his money back by whatever means necessary.
This includes assaulting Ratner at his daughter’s school and kidnapping him. The scene is gutting as Ratner is stripped naked and locked up in the trunk of the Mafiosi’s car. He then has to call Dinah, his girlfriend, who comes to his rescue, but that’s hardly all. Ratner tries a few ways to secure the money he owes – mostly by gambling more, going deeper into debt, and ultimately relying on his wife, with whom they are about to get a divorce.
After losing even more money, the mobsters eventually assault Ratner at his store, but he is all ready for them this time and traps them in the security room. In the meantime, he convinces his wife, Julia, to place a parlay bet hoping that he will make enough money to repay everyone, and he does as the bet wins.
Ecstatic at having won, he lets the gangsters go, with one of them, Phil, Arno’s handler, shooting him point-blank in the face. Arno protests, but he gets killed by Phil as well. With nothing left to do, the rest of the gangsters start looting the store with both Arno and Ratner dead on the ground.
- Year: 2021
- Language: English
- Director: Various
Money, Explained may not be your typical movie about gambling on Netflix, but there is a good reason why we have included it here. Gamblers are often tempted by the idea of making money and a living by just playing casino games. Money Explained though is a documentary that goes deep into the institution of money and how it works.
The series features Maria Konnikova, one of the most accomplished poker players of our time. Konnikova started playing poker recently, as a result of her PhD research into the psychology of poker players and her take on money is equally interesting and worthwhile The documentary series includes five episodes, one of which is called “Gambling,” but the series also talks about “Get Rich Quickly,” “Credit Cards,” “Student Loans,” and “Retirement.”
The “Gambling” segment is particularly good as it goes deep into the gambling industry and how it knows that many players are trying to “beat the odds.” This is how the industry takes advantage of players who believe that they can tilt statistical probability and the house edge in their favor. Spoiler alert: they (we) cannot.
We wholeheartedly recommend watching Money, Explained in its entirety as it’s a highly educative if somewhat mass culture series. The insights are nevertheless accurate and they will definitely help you not just enjoy the institution of gambling as fiction but look at the hard facts and come back to the green felt a much smarter player.
- Year: 2008
- Language: English
- Director: Robert Luketic
21 is a 2008 movie about blackjack and gambling, and it’s based on the real story of the MIT Blackjack Team which found out a card counting system that allowed them to beat the house repeatedly over the course of years before getting caught. The movie is of course a highly romanticized version of actual events, but it’s captivating and definitely one of the top gambling movies on Netflix to watch on any day.
Ben Campbell, a maths major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wants to study medicine but he cannot afford the tuition fee. He is then recruited by one of his professors Micky Rosa, who asks him to solve the Monty Hall Problem, which Campbell does. Impressed by Campbell’s sound mathematical knowledge and understanding, Rosa reaches out and recruits him to join the Blackjack Team which the professor has put together, involving other highly talented and successful students from the university.
Although there is nothing illegal in what the students and their professor are going to do, the air is heavy with tension. Campbell quickly finds out that by counting cards he can win hundreds of thousands of dollars – enough to pursue his medical studies and not have to worry about the money coming in. He agrees reluctantly to join the team and displaces the former leader, Fisher, who adds even more tension.
Of course, the casinos are soon onto Rosa and his crew. Rosa himself is banned from entering casinos as his card counting skills are known to the establishments and they are not happy to be losing that much money to a trick. This gambling movie on Netflix is probably one of the most realistic ones as well, as card-counting systems in blackjack do exist and casinos need to be extra careful not to allow a player to take advantage of a weakness in their security.
- Year: 2018-2019
- Language: Japanese
- Director: Tsutomu Hanabusa
Kakegurui is Netflix’s highly acclaimed series about a girl who gets admitted to a school that teaches pupils how to gamble and cheat. Based on the award-winning popular Japanese manga, the TV series stays true to the original and creates a great gambling movie. The series also got adapted into a movie. The plot centers on the Hyakkaou Private Academy, which, as noted, is all about teaching its students to gamble.
In fact, the better a student is at gambling (or the more they have won at the very least) the higher up the food chain they rank. Everything is going well at the academy until the day Yumeko Jabami, the main character transfers to the academy. The girl is ignored and put down by her peers but that quickly ends when everyone realizes that she is the best gambler they have seen.
Jealousy takes over but Jabami has a presence of character that helps her overcome the pettiness of schoolmates and continually excel at gambling. The girl continues to defeat the school’s best gamblers and she soon takes on the staff and anyone who has money or ambition to challenge her.
No matter where you stand on animated series being adapted into TV or movies, you have to admit that Kakegurui is a truly outstanding work and Netflix has really made sure to craft one of the best movies about gambling to ever grace screens.
Win It All
- Year: 2017
- Language: English
- Director: Joe Swanberg
Forget the suspense and drama that most gambling movies on Netflix seem to focus so heavily on. Win It All is a refreshing change with the flick being a comedy more so than the gutting plot of Uncut Gems or even the tantalizing seductive action-packed plot of Casino Royale. No, Win It All is a comedy at its heart, and although some of the situations do get serious quickly, they have a happy resolution – and it may just be the type of gambling movie you want to see for the nonce.
In any event, Eddie Garrett, a gambling addict, is tasked to stash the money for an acquaintance – if that’s what you can call a local thug who is rummaging through your kitchen one morning – who is heading into prison. Now, Garrett has no idea that he will be safekeeping a bag of money, but upon discovery, his gambling addiction kicks in. He smiles to himself, sweats profusely, and decides that fortune has truly smiled upon him.
Embarking on a hazardous and devastating financial journey, Garrett begins to gamble the money, never really caring about how much is in the bag but taking money out of the bag in increments – usually $500. As you can expect, his gambling habit forces him to repeatedly come to the duffel bag oblivious of the consequences that may befall him and his family once the criminal who tasked him with safekeeping comes out of prison.
Even the promised reward of $10,000 for safekeeping the bag cannot help Garrett hold onto his word. The movie then goes on to trace how he continues to stack up gambling debt until he has his lucky break and even wins $400 more than was in the bag. Of course, there is also the fact that Garrett has no idea how much he actually lost, so he gets lucky winning a huge pot.
But he is about to spend it again when he has a medical emergency and is rushed to a hospital. His friend Ron sorts the bag and puts the money into the bag. Luckily, Garrett had his lucky break and all is even with Michael. The movie ends, but although it depicts a happy ending, we need to be reminded that gambling addiction and problem gambling ought to be treated seriously.
- Year: 2018
- Language: Dutch
- Director: Victor D. Ponten
Catacombe is a Dutch movie directed by Victor D. Ponten and one of the grittiest movies about gambling you will find on Netflix. Telling the story of match-fixing in soccer and the organized crime that preys on vulnerable athletes, the movie is a masterpiece of both narrative and cinematography.
The movie follows the story of a young player, Jermaine Slagter, who ends up addicted to gambling and raking in steady gambling debts. His debt is eventually purchased by a match-fixing syndicate who see Slagter as an asset and push him to fix games in a low-tier division of the event.
Untold: Operation Flagrant Foul
- Year: 2022
- Language: English
- Director: David Terry Fine
Another great documentary series on Netflix, Untold takes a good hard look at some of the biggest scandals in sports – from match-fixing to doping and performance-enhancing substances. The episode we have in mind has to do with the story of Tim Donaghy, an NBA referee who was caught red-handed betting on his own games, and seriously putting the integrity of the game at risk.
The year 2007 was not exactly easy for the NBA, and the Donaghy scandal made it even less so. The documentary focuses on the events and goes into detail. Even Donaghy appears in the series to tell his story and admits that he acted foolishly, costing him a lot over the years. However, the documentary needs to be taken with a grain of salt, because it mostly portrays events as told by Donaghy.
Critics of the production have argued that many of the arguments made in the documentary were actually debunked and disproven over the years and that Fine should have done a better job of the narrative he put together in the end. Regardless, we still think this is one of the best gambling movies on Netflix and definitely worth seeing.
- Year: 2003
- Language: English
- Director: Jeff Probst
Finder’s Fee is a gripping gambling movie on Netflix about poker. Directed by Jeff Probst, the movie has an interesting if somewhat unlikely plot. Tepper, the protagonist, finds a lost wallet on the street and he calls the owner to come and pick it up. In the meantime, Tepper is also part of a bizarre poker game in which the players agree to each purchase a lottery ticket and throw it in the pocket.
If any of the tickets is a winner, the person who has won the pot gets to keep the winnings. Tepper looks into the wallet he found and realizes he already has a lottery ticket. He volunteers the ticket but soon discovers that that is the winning ticket of a $6 million jackpot, putting him in a difficult spot. With the owner coming to retrieve the ticket, Tepper realizes that he needs to win the game not just for the sake of the owner, but also for the chance to get his Finder’s Fee for securing the ticket and the lottery ticket.
From there on in, you can imagine the game getting pretty intense with Tepper visibly concerned about his lottery ticket which alarms the rest that something is not quite as casual as the initial agreement was and everyone beginning to play to their best ability to secure the win and discover why Tepper is on edge.