When a hobby takes over your life, it takes over your life. You eat, sleep and drink that hobby. You read only pieces that relate to your hobby, and you watch only movies on that same subject.
When your hobby has the legendary status of gambling, you have more than enough material to keep you busy throughout your leisure hours. There are innumerable movies featuring the casino that have acquired iconic status in their own right, most of which even your non-cardsharp friends are bound to enjoy.
Any movie centered on gambling is bound to tap into the excitement of the casino. There is no substitute for the breathless anticipation while watching the cards being dealt, the enormous kick when the deal goes well, or the sharp pang of disappointment when a hand is lost against all expectations.
Movies such as "21", "Casino Royale" and the "Ocean's Eleven" series mirror real life and life in the game with a sensitivity that only the expert eye of directors like Robert Luketic and Steven Soderbergh can produce. "21", in fact, adds an extra dimension to the already thrilling theme of gambling, as the people involved are MIT mathematicians - now involved with numbers and counting in more ways than one.
Martin Scorsese's masterpiece "Casino" is in a different league altogether, featuring superstars such as Robert DeNiro, Sharon Stone and Joe Pesci in a film remake of Nicholas Pileggi's non-fiction book of the same name. Pileggi's book is based on two real-life characters every gambler will be familiar with - Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, and Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro.
Rosenthal, named Sam "the Ace" Rothstein in the movie, was a gambling handicapper who ran three Las Vegas casinos for the Chicago outfit for several years in the 1970s and early 1980s. Spilotro, whose movie version is named Nicky Santoro, is an intimidating psychopath used to keep the Vegas gangsters in line. Last but not least, we cannot forget Sharon Stone, who plays Ginger - Ace's cunning and self-centered wife - and earns a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination for her efforts.
In a sense, the casino offers everything in life, but at an accelerated pace. Events happen that are out of our control, just as the hand we are dealt is purely a matter of luck. Those cards can be used according to anyone's discretion, or according to the gambler's skill. In spite of all efforts, there are winners and losers.
If the casino offers an accelerated version of real life, the casino movie offers accelerated versions of gambling, making things even more exciting for the audience.
For a more realistic way of staying in touch with the casino from a distance, you can also choose poker magazines. These inform readers - more accurately than the movies - about the lives of famous cardsharps, as well as offering regular insights into the recent developments in poker. If you want to keep your game in shape and stay in touch with the latest in strategy, it is definitely a good idea to stock up on your casino movies and poker magazines.
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