Ten Best Acting Roles Portraying Gamblers

Hollywood has always had a love affair with gamblers. I’ll wager a bet that you too love this kind of movie and that you have your own list of favorites. Here’s mine:

  • 1. John Malkovich in “Rounders”: What a great movie about poker! Some reviewers compare it to “Caddyshack”. We think John’s portrayal of Teddy KGB is terrific, one of his best roles ever.
  • 2. Joe Pesci in “Casino”: Joe has had so many terrific roles – it’s always hard to single one out, but his take on Anthony Spilotro aka Nicky Santoro was volatile and scary, just how we like it.
  • 3. Dustin Hoffman in “Rain Man”: An iconic role for a master actor. His casino scenes are classics. Word is that Dustin used to wander off set to play dice with the crew.
  • 4. James Caan in “The Gambler”: His role of Axel Freed has weathered well over time. Our favorite line: “It’s only insane if I lose and I’m not going to lose”. It’s a hoot!
  • 5. George Clooney/Frank Sinatra in “Ocean’s 11”: How often is a remake as good as the original? I’m not sure which version was better, but I think both stars portrayed Danny Ocean beautifully. These guys are cool.
  • 6. Paul Newman in “The Hustler”: The quintessential pool movie, Paul played Fast Eddie Felson with all the required desperation. Originally, Paul turned down the role due to a conflict and Bobby Darin was supposed to get it. Luckily for all of us, Paul was able to make the movie and turn in a terrific performance.
  • 7. William H. Macy in “The Cooler”: Macy is an actor’s actor – top notch and completely unassuming. His role as Bernie Lootz, a born loser, show how bad luck and Las Vegas don’t mix. His luck starts to change and he starts to dress more extravagantly. Maybe that’s a tip?
  • 8. Phillip Seymour Hoffman in “Owning Mahowny”: This film didn’t get the respect it deserved. Hoffman plays Dan Mahowny, and his portrayal is a masterpiece. Based on a true story.
  • 9. Richard Dreyfuss in “Let it Ride”: The role of Jay Trotter is one we can all identify with – a guy who presses his luck too far. A great sideline bet: Jennifer Tilly is luscious in this movie.
  • 10. Zack Galifianakis in “The Hangover”: What a laugh riot! As far as I am concerned, Zack stole the movie as Alan Garner.

Well, that’s my list – what do you think?

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