Best Gambling Documentaries

Best Gambling Documentaries

Watching a movie about gambling won’t quite have the same action factor that a Hollywood blockbuster will, but there are other reasons for tuning into these types of documentaries. Available all over the internet, gambling documentaries in the USA can provide you with tips and strategies for improving your gameplay, they can show how casinos really work and how bettors can make the most out of gambling opportunities, and they also highlight the pitfalls of gambling addiction. There’s something for everyone.

Best Gambling Documentaries to Watch

Almost any major streaming service will have a couple of gambling-related documentaries for you to choose from. You aren’t just limited to watching gambling movies. There are plenty of worldwide productions for you to check out. What are the best gambling documentaries you can choose from, though?

From tragic tales to top tips and super strategies, gambling movies span all sorts of interests in the betting world.

If you’re eager to learn a thing or two about how it all works, we’re here to chart the very best gaming documentaries around. Their list includes:

  • The Player: Secrets of a Vegas Whale.
  • Frontline: The Fantasy Sports Gamble.
  • The Best of It.
  • Life on the Line.
  • Out of Luck, and several others.

Let’s introduce you to some of the must-see TV you can expect to find.

The Player: Secrets of a Vegas Whale

Arguably a leading contender for the best gambling documentary about USA players, The Player: Secrets of a Vegas Whale is a TV movie from 2014 that focuses on the exploits of Don Johnson, a famous high roller who pockets millions playing in a Las Vegas casino. It is even available to watch on YouTube.

The Player: Secrets of a Vegas Whale
A scene from The Player: Secrets of a Vegas Whale

Frontline: The Fantasy Sports Gamble

The New York Times investigates sports betting, in particular, fantasy sports betting, for this documentary. The 2016 documentary studies the growth of the business while the police and law enforcers attempt to crack down on the habit. It all seems silly now, but it was a major issue back in 2016.

Louis Theroux: Gambling in Las Vegas

This BBC documentary spans several parts and follows the famous broadcaster, journalist and author as he explores the myths related to the online casino world. Special focus is paid on two high-rollers in this documentary.

The Best of It

The Best of It is one of the more original documentaries you’ll find focusing on the gambling world. It sees two professional sports bettors square off against one another, with their fierce rivalry descending into pure carnage.

Out of Luck

This US documentary is available on Prime Video and is one of the few to take a closer look at US lotteries. If you ever really wanted to know how poor your odds of success were, Out of Luck is well worth a watch.

Life on the Line

There are a few documentaries out there with this title, but this 2013 one follows professional sports bettors over the course of the year as they gear up and prepare to bet on the Super Bowl.

Now Place Your Bets

As sports betting has become legalized in America, Now Place Your Bets charts the history of betting on sports, where it came from, how big the business is today, and where things are likely to be headed in the future.

30 for 30: The Legend of Jimmy the Greek

30 for 30 is more of a biographical documentary than most others on our list, and it tells the story of Jimmy the Greek, one of the most recognizable names in the Las Vegas betting scene, charting his birth, early exploratory gambling habits, and his ultimately hugely renowned career.

Understanding Joy

One of the more somber entries on our list, Understanding Joy, explores how a 57-year-old woman (Joy), decides to swindle $700,000 from two employers over a seven-year period to feed her gambling addiction.

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Top Gambling Documentaries About Poker

While many documentaries focus on land-based games (not so much online roulette or slots), some are dedicated to poker. Here are a few top poker documentaries worth exploring.

Bet Raise Fold: The Story of Online Poker

A must-see show for poker fans, Bet Raise Fold, covers an entire sprawling generation of online poker players. Released in 2013 at the height of online poker’s rise, this telling documentary is a must-watch for online players in particular.

Documentary Poster
Bet Raise Fold: The Story of Online Poker

Drawing Dead: The Highs & Lows of Online Poker

If you want both sides of the story told, look no further than Drawing Dead.

It covers poker with a special emphasis on both the highs and extreme lows of playing the world’s most famous card game.

A Kid’s Game: The Story of Online Poker

Another documentary to focus on online players themselves, A Kid’s Game charts the rise and habits of several online poker players, including their habits, quirks, and biggest moments.

What Casino Players Should Learn from Gambling Documentaries

Ultimately, you’re not going to learn anything about the best gambling sites in the USA by watching these documentaries. You probably won’t even uncover the holy grail of cheats and betting systems, and you won’t learn to count cards. However, there are pros and cons to watching any gambling documentary, and we’ve included a few of those for you below. They are listed below.

The Pros and Cons of Watching Gaming Documentaries
You can understand the struggles to make it to the topNot always widely available on multiple streaming platforms
Meet real winners (and losers) who offer genuine, heartfelt adviceSome have fictional elements that have been over-dramatized for creative license and don’t represent the whole truth
Understand the dangers associated with gamblingSome are outdated and no longer relevant
Learn what it takes to be successful by listening to professional bettorsSome documentaries are slanted to showcase specific point of view

That depends on the documentary that you watch. Some are informative and helpful. Others - not so much.

Not many. Online casino games, including online slots, get a mention, but most gambling movies focus mostly on card and roulette games.

Some of them are, yes. However, others are designed to highlight how fun and richly rewarding gambling can be, too. Again, it depends on the one you watch.

Films are often developed using (a lot of) creative licenses. Therefore, the dramatization of the real-life stories they are supposed to depict has been ramped up for the audience. You’re not getting a true version of events in most cases.

Most major streaming sites have them. Amazon Prime, Netflix, the BBC, and many other on-demand streaming services have documentary sections, and most have one or two programs on gambling. Some can even be found and watched freely on YouTube.

Publication Author
Donald Peterson
Author of articles
Donald Peterson is an avid gambler from Edmonton, Alberta, who also writes about his experience with casinos. He’s been in the business for over 10 years, following the ever-changing industry landscape. His articles are aimed at helping beginners with choosing casinos, suitable games, and strategies.
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