The best and worst gambling movies
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I think I've watched every movie that's ever been filmed.

And if you're anything like me, you've likely resorted to killing time watching a lot of them during this extremely monotonous sports-betting hiatus.

Today, I'll take off my handicapper shoes and play film critic to give all you suffering sports bettors a couple of tips on which movies you should and shouldn't watch to get your fix.

The Best


I grew up on "Rounders" even though I never really had a cards background. That should speak volumes about how elite this movie is.

While the film never directly involves sports gambling, it has enough jargon for the recreational handicapper to get immediately hooked by the lifestyle of Mike McDermott, the poker-playing protagonist played by Matt Damon.

If you want to indulge in a movie that'll make you sweat, I'm not sure there's a better one out there. "Rounders" has everything, and if you simply swapped poker tables for sportsbooks, the script would only need a few tweaks. You'll find a colorful cast of characters ranging from the sage and seasoned veterans to the dirty, shady crooks to the token degenerate. The crazy part about all of it? There are only one or two shots of Las Vegas in the entire movie, which mainly takes place in New York and New Jersey.

Overall, it's a top-notch throwback gambling flick and has just enough lingo to resonate with today's bettors. And if it's up your alley, I guarantee you know someone in real life who represents Damon's best friend in the film, played by Edward Norton.

'Two for the Money'

It's obvious that "Two for the Money" has its flaws. While Matthew McConaughey and Al Pacino form a star-studded duo, they have a difficult time grasping the concept of playing sports gamblers. Simply put, the two weren't made for their roles.

However, what "Rounders" lacks in the sports-betting sphere, "Two for the Money" makes up for tenfold. The film follows McConaughey, a former college star turned handicapper with a knack for finding psychological edges in the football markets. Despite the odd casting fit, he and Pacino live a story that feels straight out of a Twitter handicapper's life - selling plays, losing it all, and giving a new meaning to "flip a coin."

The Worst

'The Gambler'

I walked into the 2014 remake with lofty expectations, only to be hit with a reality check that few people can really tap into the life of a gambler. This felt like a movie that was made for dummies who think every high-roller bettor is stuck in a middle-class life, goes to Vegas on weekends, and resorts to lawbreaking - including fixing games - to find an edge. The film tries way too hard.

There's a part of me that thinks "The Gambler" is simply behind my times and tailored for more novice bettors. But the more I think about it, it seems the movie just has it wrong - it's choppy, misinformed, and not relatable whatsoever.

Of course, if you're looking for more of a love story with a gambling twist, this one could be for you.


OK, so "Dodgeball" isn't a gambling movie, but I was watching it the other day and had plenty of questions.

Near the end of the film, Vince Vaughn's character, Peter Lafluer, takes the $50,000 bribe and places it all on his team to win the dodgeball tournament at 50-1 odds.

First of all, who the hell approved that bet? I can't put down four figures on an ACC basketball total, yet this man got 50 large down on a futures bet that was happening that day?

Second, you're going to make a team in the finals a 50-1 'dog? Whoever made that line should be fired on the spot. These are human beings throwing balls at each other!

Last, why did Lafleur get a little treasure chest for his winnings? Next time I go to the casino and put $100 on the Wizards-Suns over, I'd like my loot delivered in a mini treasure chest - all in $1 bills.

Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.

The best and worst gambling movies
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