Wednesday, April 25, 2012


 The April issue of The Atlantic ran a great article about gambling. The title was The Gambler Who Broke Atlantic City. It is a fun article to read and it really explains in an easy to read way about how to win in a casino. Don Johnson is the man who won millions in Atlantic City. The only factual problem was when the author was describing a double down hand; a dealer always turns up their hole card before they hit their hand. But as a casino professional we know that they always get it wrong. It is a rare movie or television show set in a casino that doesn't make some mistake. That is why we took so much care when we were writing Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos And Cruise Ships to get it right.

Don't even start me on 'The Cooler' there is no 'Cooler' it was just something made up to sell a movie. Casinos don't cheat, they may lure you in with bells and neon but the donations you make are purely voluntary.

After we both read the article my husband Ray and started talking about the few movies that have gotten it right. I enjoyed Casino and Bugsy Malone but they were a little before our time. I felt like Owning Mahowny was the best movie about the modern casino business that I have ever seen. This is a movie about an assistant manager at a Toronto branch of a leading Canadian bank. On the weekends he flies to Atlantic City where he gambles hundreds of thousands of dollars. The gambler is played by Oscar winner Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and his love interest is Minnie Driver. It is the most realistic portrait of a compulsive gambler I have ever seen, maybe because it is based on a true story. Set in the 80's before gambling had expanded into all corners of the country. It shows an Atlantic City at the top of its game.

Ray loved Croupier, which I also loved because who doesn't like to look at Clive Owen? Clive Owen plays Jack Manfred an aspiring writer who becomes a croupier to make ends meet and falls under the spell of casino life. Ray said it really replicated his experiences in casinos in London, he learned to deal there and we talk about his training days in our novel Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos and Cruise Ships. The dealers all used to frequent a Greek Restaurant, The Grecian Grill, after the casino closed at night just like in the movie. What male doesn't like to relive his carefree bachelor partying days? There is a heist in the movie with the usual amount of holes in the story but don't let that get in the way because it is the mood and settings that make this movie so great. 
Both movies are a few years old so you will probably have to download them or catch them on a movie channel. But if you like to gamble and are interested in what goes on behind the scenes in a casino they are worth a watch. Or you can read all about it in our novel Cruise Quarters - A Novel About Casinos And Cruise Ships.

Click to find Cruise Quarters at Barnes and Noble

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