Jul 162013

The Actors Who Keep Cassinos CoolCasino gaming has always been a popular activity, both for those doing it recreationally, and for those looking for a big score. This is why millions of tourists flock to shining gambling destinations like Las Vegas every year. However, in the past decade or so, casino gaming has stretched to include the massive industry of online gaming. Sites like and Party Poker bring in incredible traffic as people find joy in gambling from their computer screens at home.

In addition to adapting industry practices, however, one thing that has helped keep casino gaming so wildly popular over the years is its inclusion in Hollywood. Some of the biggest actors in film have starred in roles that saw them stacking chips and flipping cards, and these images have helped to keep casino gaming cool over time. With that in mind, here’s a look back at the 5 actors we most associate with casino gaming in modern cinema.

5. Philip Seymour Hoffman

Hoffman did his part to keep gaming hot in Hollywood with his role as Dan Mahowny in the 2003 film “Owning Mahowny.” Though the film was ultimately more about Mahowny’s bank fraud (based on a true story), the character’s inability to give up his gambling addiction plays a major role. Mahowny may not be the smoothest character we’ve ever seen in a casino, but he knows how to win and he gambles big.

4. Jim Sturgess

Jim Sturgess doesn’t quite have the reputation of the other actors on our list, but he made a fantastic casino movie in 2008’s “21.” The film, also based on a true story, concerns a group of MIT students who are chosen by a professor (Kevin Spacey) for their elite mathematical abilities. The group forms a gambling club that jets off to Vegas on weekends to use teamwork and mathematics to dominate the Blackjack tables.

3. Matt Damon

It’s a bit unfair to pick between Matt Damon and Edward Norton given that their 1998 film “Rounders” is probably the most poker-intensive film made in the past two decades. Nonetheless, Damon has the larger role as Mike McDermott, a young man who gives up gambling to focus on his life, only to be pulled back into the game by his indebted friend Worm (Norton). It’s simply a film all about the risks and rewards of high stakes gambling.

2. Daniel Craig

For a Bond movie, “Casino Royale” had a lot to do with poker, and not much looks cooler than Bond (Daniel Craig) sitting in a casino gambling millions of dollars mid-mission! Need we say more?

1. George Clooney

Finally, there’s George Clooney, who after 2001’s “Ocean’s 11” remake became the king of casinos in film. It’s worth noting that Clooney’s character, Danny Ocean, barely touches a card table the whole movie. Regardless, the lasting image of the film, and perhaps of Clooney’s career, is his smugly confident look as he strolls through casinos. It just makes you want to go to Vegas.


Post contributed by Mark Langdon who is a freelance writer and entertainment blogger with a passion for all things related to film.