What’s the next best thing to playing a brilliant game of chance at a glamorous gambling table or pitching your skills at the latest online casino?

Watching someone else do it of course!

That’s why gambling shows and films are so popular with audiences. We all love watching the tension, excitement and drama of the gambling environment.

Whether you know all the poker games online by heart or you’re a beginner who hasn’t a clue what ‘bingo’ means, gambling shows are always great fun to watch.

Across the generations, gambling and casinos have been featured in so many big movies and TV shows that here are plenty to choose from. Increasingly the gambling world has formed the backdrop to captivating reality shows and docu-series too.

It’s a chance to sit back and enjoy the gaming action – without risking your own budget!
There are so places to watch, stream and see films, series and shows now, it’s hard to find all the best stuff. So we’ve compiled a guide to help you find the finest gambling TV and movies.

The best gambling on TV

Smart Live Casino

Real players play different real games in every episode of this show. The programme started in the UK in 2007 and was a big success.

The thrill of gambling is combined with the fun of a reality show and the excitement of a game show. Find it online – it’s a great combination!

Breaking Vegas

The idea was simple: get a group of American participants and challenge them to make money quickly at a Las Vegas casino.
The players were all students from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They were all playing blackjack at the gaming tables.
The students came up with lots of ingenious ways to try to win. Casino bosses of course, set out to try to stop them.
What happened next? Watch this great 90-minute TV movie made by Bruce David Klein in 2004 to find out.
It’s freely available on YouTube.

King of Vegas

Hosted by a boxing commentator Max Kellerman and professional gambler Wayne Allyn Root, this series involved lots of different casino games being played.
It first aired on Spike TV in the US back in 2006 – but has become a cult classic since.
The 12 players received $10,000 to stake before each round. Games ranged from blackjack to Texas Hold ‘Em. The hands and rounds were limited by the strict one-hour time-slot of the programme.
Half the players were pros, half were amateurs. Each week one player was eliminated.
The last player standing is the winner – and is crowned ‘The King of Vegas’ and takes home $1,000,000.
Find this classic gambling show on Channel 5 (UK) or Paramount.

Win It All

This Netflix film is more modern. It was made in 2017 and features the dramatic and amusing trials and tribulations of a desperate small-time gambler.
The TV movie was directed by Joe Swanberg and starred Keegan-Michael Key. Audiences loved the gritty humour.
It scored 85% on Rotten Tomatoes and has remained a popular option to stream.

The Casino

It’s worth going back to 2004 to finds this classic American TV series. The Fox reality show followed two Las Vegas millionaires who owned and ran The Golden Nugget Casino.
It was the first reality show ever shot with HD video cameras and the theme tunes for the programme was written by Bono.
Track down the series on You Tube for a glimpse inside the workings of a top casino in Vegas – before the online casino revolution.

Big Deal

Something very different here. Way back in 1984 this drama series hit the British TV screens and was a big hit among anyone who likes games of chance.
The hero of the story is a London-based gambler who finds his pastime conflicts with his love life. It was a popular enough theme and the drama and jokes were good enough to keep the show running for three series until 1986.
There were 30 episodes in the end and it’s easy to find the BBC show online.

Poker After Dark

This is one of our all-time favourite gambling shows. It features a real poker game in each episode, with all the tension and excitement that entails.
Hear the real chat at the table and see how the stakes gradually escalate during the hour. It’s tense!
The hour-long shows started airing on NBC in 2007 and ran right through till 2011. It returned in 2017 on a private subscription streaming service.
It’s easy to find original episodes of Poker After Dark online.

Whichever of these best gambling shows you choose, you’ll be sure to have an entertaining time. Watching is almost as good as playing the games yourself – and just remember, however unlucky you feel today, you won’t end up losing anything.