Gambling is a large part of many cultures – not only as a game but as an obsession. The idea of gambling is deeply intertwined with risk and riches, and it has become a popular theme in books, movies, and television shows.
Entertainment mediums utilize gambling and casinos to convey a sense of maturity, excitement, luxury, and wild fun. Many cultural icons that have been popularized as a result are gambling-related, including characters like James Bond.
Although casinos are often the setting of big, blockbuster spy movies, they double as a place for crazy parties and black-out fun. In a way, this reflects the versatility of gambling itself, with games that are played stoic, like poker, and others that are reminiscent of carnivals, like slots.
But it’s no surprise that gambling is so popular and widely recognized – there’s something for everyone. So whether you find yourself in black-tie formal at a Gentlemen’s Club or under the bright neon lights of the Vegas Strip, gambling appeals to anyone who’s even the slightest bit enticed by the thrill of risk.
And this is nothing new. Gambling has been popular for centuries, and it’s shown up in films that date back to the early 1900s, with movies like Smart Money in 1931. Many of these are famous for iconic quotes that not only capture the love of gambling, but also the essence of life. Others are simply hilarious.
So whether you’re a movie buff, an avid gambler, or both, here are 15 of the most memorable gambling quotes from movies:
Two for the Money (2005)
Walter Abrams: States are not enough; you need a voice! These are gamblers ready to risk what they can’t afford for what they can’t have; you’re selling the world’s rarest commodity: certainty, in an uncertain world.
As the first quote, this one from Two for the Money really captures the excitement and appeal of gambling. Even if it’s a bit dramatized, it gets the point across: people love gambling, and they’re willing to risk almost anything for it.
Casino Royale (2006)
Le Chiffre: Weeping blood comes merely from a derangement of the tear duct, my dear General. Nothing sinister. All in. I have two pairs and you have a 17.4% chance of making your straight.
Although this one’s a bit graphic, it makes you think a lot about the game itself, and in this case, poker. You can feel the intensity, but ultimately, it’s a game of skill and probability. It seems that Le Chiffre has both.
The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
Lance Howard: It’s a pleasure to meet someone who understands that to the true gambler, money is never an end in itself. It’s simply a tool, as language is to thought.
This quote from the Cincinnati Kid is especially insightful. Although gambling, as a concept, seems to entirely surround money, it’s not always about the money. Rather, the money’s just a vehicle to achieve something more.
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Saul Bloom: You expect us to just walk out the casino with millions of dollars on us?
Danny Ocean: Yeah.
Simple and sweet, this quote seems to get the gist of gambling. It’s a game about winning big (and losing hard).
Ace Rothstein: In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing and keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose. In the end, we get it all.
An interesting quote from the perspective of the casino, Ace here reminds us that, in the end, the casinos always win. Even if you win millions, the casino is making much more. According to Weekly Slots News, Nevada gambling revenues hit $1 billion in July 2019.
Let it Ride (1989)
Marty: Eight’s the one, I’d stake my life on it
Jay Trotter: They’ve got a $2 minimum bet.
From a comedy film about betting on horse racing, this one’s simply funny.
The Color of Money (1986)
Eddie to Vincent: You gotta have two things to win. You gotta have brains, and you gotta have balls. Now, you got too much of one and not enough of the other.
Although this quote is kind of funny, it also points out the two most important aspects of gambling: skill and risk.
Mike McDermott: That’s the safe play. I told Worm you couldn’t lose what you don’t put in the middle. But you can’t win much either.
Like many other things in life, you get out what you put in. And as Mike McDermott points out, this is how most casino games work too.
Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)
Willie Bank: Oh, I don’t lose. People who bet on me to lose, lose. And they lose big.
Confidence is key! But knowing when to cut your losses can probably help prevent you from losing big too (we’re not all Willie Bank).
According to Adrian Sireca at OnlineCasinoGems, “it is very important to practice your games and set your win goals and loss limits if you want to gamble professionally. The confidence often portrayed in the movies does exist. But it takes a LOT of time to build it!”
Micky Rosa: You know what’s worse than a loss? Someone who won’t admit he played it wrong.
This quote from 21 is a reminder that casino games require skill, and this develops with practice.
The Gambler (2012)
Jim Bennett: You’ve got me feeling lucky. I’m putting everything on black.
Neville: Red’s been coming up all night
Jim Bennett: You want me to pay you now?
Neville: Maybe I enjoy watching the show.
Roulette Host: 19 red.
In this scene, Jim Bennett, played by Mark Wahlberg, bets his entire stack on a single spin in roulette and loses. This scene not only has a tinge of situational irony, but it reflects an important concept in roulette: every spin is independent.
According to Gambler’s Daily Digest, after seeing a pattern to the plays, roulette players often make their bets based on a streak – either wagering for it or against it. But unless the wheel is actually biased, the previous spins are no indication of future spins.
Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)
Jack Singer: Do you know what a straight flush is? It’s like… unbeatable.
Betsy: “Like unbeatable” is not unbeatable.
Jack Singer: Hey, I know that now, okay.
Another funny quote, you can practically hear the sass in Betsy’s voice. But she’s right – a royal flush beats out a straight flush.
Vegas Vacation (1997)
Clark Grisworld: How did you win four cars?
Rusty: You know, put in a dollar, win a car. Put in another dollar, win another car.
This might seem a bit exaggerated, but it’s kind of not. Although the chances of winning a car multiple times in a row are highly unlikely, there are many stories of people winning millions from just a dollar, which can buy you many cars.
According to Gambling News Magazine, a UK soldier won $20 million from an online slot game (and he did buy himself a car).
If this makes you think that that you be you too, the statistics say probably not, but on the other hand, there are ways to up your chances of winning. Most slots work slightly differently, and so the odds of winning can vary. But you can increase your odds by picking the best ones.
High Roller: The Stu Ungar Story (2003)
Stu: See, life is a people game too. Only… the emphasis is just a little bit different
After so many funny quotes, this one makes you think a bit more and a bit deeper. Maybe it’s one of the side effects of chasing the thrill.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Raoul Duke: There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning.
The last of 15 quotes, this one is from a film based on the novel by Hunter S. Thompson. It captures the allure, excitement, and craze of the gambling scene, in what might be considered one of the most beautiful quotes about gambling.
So there you have it, 15 memorable quotes about gambling – everything from snarky remarks to deep, almost lyrical sentences from some of the best gambling-related movies. Although all these films and movies take on different sides of gambling, there’s one undeniable commonality: people love it.
Whether they’re winning or losing, playing or just watching someone on a screen do it, people love gambling. And these quotes really capture that.