Movie Heroes Who Love Blackjack
Blackjack has its roots in the English game Vingt-Un which is most likely of Spanish origin. Referenced as far back as the early 17th Century by Cervantes in his seminal work Don Quixote, it is likely to have been commonplace even earlier than that. First official records date the game back to France in 1776, and the first rules date back to 1800 in Britain. Introduced to the USA in around 1825, it was not until 1899 that Vingt-Un was renamed and morphed into the version of Blackjack that has become popular in casinos worldwide. A time line of Blackjack can be found here.
Popularity of Blackjack
Until the 1950s, Blackjack was just another casinos game, with fairly poor odds for winning. In 1956 Roger Baldwin, Wilbert Cantey, Herbert Maisel and James McDermott ‘The Optimum Strategy in Blackjack’ in the Journal of the American Statistical Association, giving players a strategy to increase their odds of winning; following this strategy the house advantage could be lowered to just 0.5%. Thus, Blackjack became popular amongst those tired of losing at the craps table. The 1956 paper was the foundation for the 1962 book ‘Beat the Dealer’ by Ed Thorp, which shared Thorpe’s Ten Count system and other ways of counting cards. Armed with knowledge of how to beat the house, players flocked to play Blackjack, making it the most popular casino games.
Other reasons Blackjack is popular:
- Ease of play
Unlike poker and other casino games, Blackjack has simple rules and simple game play. This makes it accessible to all types of player, irrespective of experience, and the wealth of hints and tips online also helps.
- Low House Edge
A low house edge means that players are more likely to win a pay-out, making it more popular that other games with a higher house edge.
- Mixture of luck and skill
Players do not need the same skill as when playing poker, and there is more skill involved that slots, making Blackjack a nice middle ground for players.
Famous faces that play Blackjack
There are many famous movie starts that enjoy playing Blackjack, and many can be seen on roulettesites.org.
The Oscar-winning actor, writer, and director, known for films such as ‘Good Will Hunting’, ‘Gone Girl’ and ‘Argo’, is one of the best celebrity players in the world. Affleck has spoken publicly about learning Blackjack strategies, including card counting, and was even kicked out of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for winning too much money. Equally, he also lost US$400,000 in one hand, but given his celebrity status and matching celebrity bank balance, this has not proved to be much of a problem.
What would Ben Affleck be without Matt Damon? This dynamic duo has been close personal friends for decades and have worked together a number of times, in particular winning a joint Oscar for ‘Good Will Hunting’. Damon has also starred in blockbusters including the Bourne series and the Martian. When researching the movie ‘Rounders’ Damon developed an interest in gambling and is often seen at high stakes poker tables and Blackjack tables, usually with Affleck.
Star of hit sitcom ‘Two and a Half Men’, the ‘Scary Move’ franchise and ‘9/11’, Sheen is equally known for his tumultuous off-screen life. Ex-wife Denise Richards states that he lost upwards of US$20,000 a week during their marriage, and whilst wives have come and gone, Sheens love for Blackjack has remained, and he is a frequent site in Vegas casinos.
Iconic in the horror film community, Tilly is most recognisable for her role as Tiffany Valentine in the ‘Child’s Play’ franchise, as well as voice roles in ‘The Simpsons’ and ‘Family Guy’. Tilly is a prolific poker player, becoming the first celebrity to win the coveted Ladies’ World Series of Poker bracelet, and is currently dating Phil Laak, a professional poker player himself. Gambling and Blackjack are an integral part of her life, and she is regularly on televised blackjack, and was selected for the ultimate Blackjack Tour.
Though more famous for being famous, and not always associated with acting, socialite Hilton has been in a couple of films, most notably cult classic ‘Zoolander’ and not-so-cult 2005 remake of ‘House of Wax’. Hilton has demonstrated her prowess on the Blackjack table; after DJing a prestigious event in Vegas, she took to the Blackjack table and within a few hours was up over US$50,000.
Curtis Jackson is better known as a rapper, but he has had critical success as an actor. His acting debut was in ‘Get Rich or Die Trin’’, and subsequent films such as ‘Den of Thieves’, ‘All Things Fall Apart’ and ‘Escape Plan’ were all well received. He commissioned a game based on one of his favourite hobbies: ’50 Cents Blackjack’, released on tablet and smartphone and which proved incredibly popular amongst his fans. Blackjack has managed to retain its popularity for centuries, and even the biggest celebrities on the planet have been lured by its appeal.