If you were asked to name the first board game that comes to mind, would that game you name be Monopoly? Arguably, Monopoly is the most celebrated board game in the history of board games. It has recently had its 75th anniversary and there is no sign of it’s popularity slowing down. Monopoly is as much part of pop culture as it is a board game. And there are so many ways to play the game, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone these days that hasn’t heard of the game. With a game as popular as Monopoly, you almost have to wonder why it took so long for there to be a documentary about it.
What is it about Monopoly that has made the game such an enduring success for so many decades? San Diego based filmmaker, Kevin Tostado decided to find out. Not only did Tostodo explore the history of the game, he traced the enduring legacy of the game in popular culture, met with serious collectors that like to collect just about anything that the Monopoly brand has licensed, and even spoke to a winner of the million dollar grand prize in McDonald’s annual Monopoly game. Perhaps the highlight of Tostado’s exploration of Monopoly was following some of the game’s most competitive players through the 2009 international championships, where every four years the national champions from over forty countries compete in hopes of being crowned the newest World Monopoly Champion. Kevin Tostado compiled his findings and presents an extensive look at the world of Monopoly in his new movie entitled “Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story.”
Continue reading Under The Boardwalk Documentary Showcases Monopoly
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The new movie “21” has just hit stores on DVD and Blu-Ray disc from Sony Pictures. As a dealer for a casino, I was interested in seeing a Hollywood glamorized version of what I do for a living, and I was not disappointed. Granted the perspective of the movie is a loose retelling of M.I.T. Blackjack Team story of how they made and lost a fortune card counting at the blackjack tables of Las Vegas. And the story is about the card counters, not the dealers. In any case, while the plot takes tremendous liberties with the facts for the sake of making an entertaining story, the premise is simple, that students from M.I.T. who are good with numbers spend their weekends away from campus moonlighting as high rollers in Las Vegas. They work as a team and take Las Vegas for hundreds of thousands of dollars through card counting and team work to stay under the radar.
The group employs disguises and fake names and ID cards to become different people every time they go. Profits get split and everyone stays happy. Of course, cockiness sets in and trouble sparks as one member of the team gets jealous of the new guy because the new guy is outperforming the former star of the team. Then as the new guy starts to build up his confidence, he too is unable to escape the temptations of gambling and starts to ignore the rules of the team and continues to squander away on tables that have grown cold and past the time to stop playing on that table. It becomes a race against greed and being caught. The outcome of the story resolves itself through backroom deals, begging for forgiveness, and even more blackjack. To know how it resolves itself, you’ll have to check it out.
Now as a dealer, there was some amusing aspects about the film that really only people in the casino industry, specifically table games, and fans of Las Vegas would notice. One of the things I found amusing was that for all the scenes at real tables in Las Vegas, that all the cards used are canceled cards which you would never find being used on tables for real money. If you aren’t sure how cards are canceled, when you pay attention to the movie, look closely at the edges of the cards, where two of the four corners of the cards on diagonally opposite sides of the card are rounded while the other two are more square. This becomes especially apparent when the dealer places his face-up card over his face-down card and the corners don’t line up cleanly. Continue reading 21 Movie Makes Card Counting Entertaining
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