Tag Archives: Casino

Casino – An Explosive Movie Ride!

1995 film Casino
Source: flickr.com

Las Vegas, often referred to as Sin City, is the setting for legendary director Martin Scorsese’s violently fascinating 1995 film, Casino. Set in the 1970s and early 80s, the film chronicles the mob’s infiltration of Vegas through the lives of several characters, most notably Sam “Ace” Rothstein, played by Academy Award winner Robert De Niro, Ginger McKenna, played by Academy Award nominee Sharon Stone, and Nicky Santoro, played by Academy Award winner Joe Pesci. In the movie’s opening scene, a car blows up and the body of Ace is seen soaring through the air. How did this happen? The movie goes back in time to detail the events that led to this explosive outcome.

What’s it About?

De Niro’s Ace is a gambling handicapper who is drafted by the ruthless Chicago Outfit (Chicago Mafia) to oversee the day-to-day operations at Las Vegas’s Tangiers Casino. Here, Ace takes advantage of the lax gaming laws, which allow him to run the casino in spite of his still pending gaming licence. What’s more, he’s a whiz at numbers, doubling the casino’s profits so that the mob can skim it before reporting any earnings to the income tax agencies. Impressed, the big mafia bosses send Ace some muscle for protection – in the deadly form of Ace’s childhood friend, Nicky.

Ace and Nicky are characters that exist outside the rules, who are able to get things done, and what better city for them to realise their violent fantasies and insatiable appetite for power than Sin City herself – a place where day and night don’t exist. Scorsese and his screenwriter, Nicholas Pileggi, understand that Vegas is also a city built on hope – where, if you’re lucky, you can win millions in an instant. They also understand that people can be incredibly unlucky here, too. So, it isn’t a surprise when things start going horribly wrong for Ace.

His first mistake is befriending Nicky when they were children. Running protection for Ace’s entire Vegas operation as an adult, it isn’t long before his volcanic temper starts causing problems. Soon he is banned from every casino in Vegas, so he starts engaging in independent burglaries and shakedowns instead. In short, he’s a loose cannon and making everyone nervous. Then there is Ginger, Ace’s second mistake. She’s a beautiful and charming con artist / call girl, whom Ace falls hopelessly and obsessively in love with, when he meets her in the casino. The problem is, she’s also a self-destructive drug addict, with a soft spot for her former boyfriend and pimp, a loser named Larry, played by James Woods.

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It isn’t long before Nicky and Ginger become the noose that tightens around Ace’s neck. Add to that his battle with a county commissioner, the FBI closing in on him, and his souring relationship with the mob, and you have the hallmarks for a Shakespearean-type downfall – yes, Ace’s luck is about to run out. Or is it?

Casino is a stunningly long film – almost 3 hours in running time – but it has all of Scorsese’s flair, as well as scintillating performances. De Niro and Pesci effortlessly inhabit their roles, while Stone as Ginger, delivers what many considered to be her finest performance – she received a Golden Globe award and an Oscar nom for her efforts.

Based on a True Story

The screenplay was written by acclaimed scribe, Nicholas Pileggi, and based on his novel, ‘Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas’. What’s interesting to note is, that while Pileggi had written the book and wanted it to be released before the movie, Scorsese persuaded him to release it after, instead. The novel chronicles the real-life antics of Chicago bookmaker, Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, his friend, and fellow Mafioso, Anthony Spilotro, and Lefty’s wife, Geri McKee. The film, on the other hand, takes certain liberties with their story, which is why Scorsese and Pileggi decided to change the names of the central characters – Lefty became Ace, Anthony became Nicky, and Geri became Ginger. The result is one of the defining movies about the mafia, gambling, and Las Vegas.

Final Thoughts

Casino is a truly fascinating account of violent and destructive characters, as well as the years the mob controlled some of Sin City’s biggest casinos – before the corporations took over and Sin City became a little less sin-full. Sit back, grab your popcorn, and enjoy the ride!

How to Make Your Casino Budget Stretch

Casino Budget
Source: Pexels

A good session at a casino is a fine balance between the excitement of winning, hope that your last loss won’t mean the end of play, and getting a decent amount of time at the tables or slots. That’s entertainment at its best, and running out of funds can put a real damper on your day. To help you out we’ve drawn up some tips on how to manage a casino budget for losses and ensure you get maximum entertainment for your money.

  • Set a Loss Limit

Only play with the amount you have set aside for this purpose. As a new player it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all, and why not? That’s why you are playing. Setting a maximum loss will stop you from falling into the trap of believing that the next bet will turn things around. This is true for your winnings as well. It’s a great feeling when you win and one of the many reasons to play. Decide in advance whether you want to walk away with any winnings or a percentage of them. If not, play away.

  • Pick Your Poison

Once you have set your budget you need to choose your games accordingly. If your budget is relatively small, choose games where you can bet smaller denominations. There’s no point in joining a game where the buy in or minimum bet is as much as your entire budget. Choose something that reflects the funds you have at your disposal. When you win you can join a higher stakes games. This will ensure that you get a reasonable number of wins, losses and playing time to make your session enjoyable.

  • Practice Makes Perfect

Choose to play games you know and that require a little bit of thought. If you play a game, you have no experience in; it is just about guaranteed that you will lose your money way before you have had your fill of entertainment. So, practice first.

  • Play for Fun

To extend your playtime and really get the most out your session, slow down! It’s not a race; you are there to have fun. If fun is not the point, then you should leave. It is never a clever idea to gamble for any reason other than entertainment. Get your head right. If you play for any other reason you are going to be disappointed. Sure, there are people who make a living gambling, but if you were one of them you wouldn’t still be reading this.

  • Don’t Drink And Play

This one may seem obvious and its good advice when going into any situation that requires us to have all our faculties in tiptop shape. Losing your inhibitions and throwing money around like you are a Mob boss can only lead to tears. When it’s time to order your martini or whatever mob bosses drink, log out or walk away.

Gambling is good fun and depending on your preference you can log on for a quickie or make a day of it. But, be sensible; don’t leave your head behind, and always manage your casino budget.