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The 5 greatest gambling movies of all time

Some of the most underrated movies are gambling movies. On this list, we focused on gambling being the key element. A movie like Casino, for instance, has gambling, but at its heart it is a mafia movie. The Sting is a classic, but it would fall in the con movie genre. Maverick is good too, but it is more of a Western. There are a lot of great movies that have gambling scenes or backdrops. In the movies on this list, gambling is the fundamental driving force of the plot. These are a must for all degenerates:


5) The Hustler

The classic Paul Newman/Jackie Gleason tale takes us back to a time when gambling was conducted in back rooms and in this case, pool halls. For younger viewers, it represents a bit of a history lesson. While gambling has become mainstream, this was a time of hustlers, con men and shady people. Worth a watch.

4) The Cincinnati Kid

Another history lesson, Steve McQueen is basically Mike McD from Rounders decades earlier. The hot young up and comer who goes against a legend. It again harkens back to a time when gambling was deep underground. It's gritty, and like all gambling stories does not always have a happy ending.

3) Owning Mahoney

Based on a true story, Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a Canadian degenerate gambler who embezzles millions from his bank in order to feed his gambling habit. It is a cautionary tale of what can happen when addiction takes over. It's dark, hopeless and the late Hoffman is amazing in the role.

2) Let it Ride

The gold standard for horse betting movies. Richard Dreyfuss plays a cabbie whose friend overhears a conversation about a fixed race in this little-known gem. After Dreyfuss cashes, he goes on an unprecedented hot streak. It also deals with the social distinctions of the track, from the high rollers to the down on their luck. It features a young, sexy Jennifer Tilly - who is better known now for her real-life poker skills - and Teri Garr is terrific as the drunk wife. A must watch for anyone with even a passing interest in horse betting.

1) Rounders

Simply the best, most realistic gambling movie ever made. Matt Damon is terrific as the main character, a brilliant poker player who tries to bail out his friend Worm, played by Ed Norton. John Malkovich plays the iconic Teddy KGB, and John Turturro is Knish, the wise old grinder. Gretchen Mol plays the overbearing, unlikeable girlfriend perfectly. The movie is filled with realistic characters and covers the highs and lows and massive swings of no-limit hold 'em as well as other games. Memorable lines, moments, people...It really is the gambling movie all others will be measured against.

Just missing out

The Gambler with James Caan is another classic. Also, check out Mississippi Grind with Ryan Reynolds, an underrated indie movie.

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Life after Correa may not be the worst thing. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Carlos Correa is having a damn good year. The Astros shortstop is hitting .285 with 24 homers, 87 RBI, 72 walks, .862 OPS, a 7.2 WAR, and a .981 fielding percentage. In any other year, those would be numbers worthy of being in the mix for AL MVP (if it weren't for that dastardly Shohei Otani). Correa is also in a contract year. He and the Astros were far enough apart that the season started and he's held true to not wanting to negotiate midseason.

The offers of six years for $120 million and five years for $125 million were both rejected by he and his camp. They're seeking something much longer and for more money on the annual average. With the team unwilling to meet those demands, it seems as if the team and the player are headed for a split.

Lots of Astros fans are not happy with the prospect of Correa leaving via free agency. Some think the team isn't doing enough and should pony up to bring him back. Some feel Correa should take what they're offering because it's a fair deal that'll allow the team to sign other players. Then, there's that small band of us that are totally okay with him leaving.

One of the main reasons I'm okay with him leaving is the players the team still has under control that are potential replacements. Aledmys Diaz and Pedro Leon are the first two guys that come to mind. Diaz is a 31-year-old vet who's stepped up when he's called upon. He can slide over to third and allow Alex Bregman to play shortstop. Leon is the team's 23-year-old hot prospect who signed as an outfielder that the team has been trying to turn into a shortstop. If Correa were to leave, he could instantly plug the hole Carlos would leave behind. Either of those options lead to my next point of being okay with Correa leaving which is to...

...allocate that money elsewhere. Whether it's signing a replacement (at short or third), or boosting the pitching staff, I'll be fine as long as it's money well spent. Signing a shortstop or third baseman would determine where Bregman would be playing. If said player takes significantly less than Correa and fills 70-80% of his offensive shoes, it'll be worth it. Others will have to step it up. If they find a deal on a top of the rotation starting pitcher, that would be ideal as well. As I stated a couple of weeks ago, this team has employed a six-man rotation, but doesn't have a true ace. Spending anywhere from $20-30 million a year on a top-notch pitcher to add to the staff would bolster this staff in more ways than one. It'll finally give them the ace they lack, plus it'll bump all the young talent (still under team control) down a peg creating depth and perhaps even creating bullpen depth.

The only way any of this works is if Correa isn't back. Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander's money comes off the books also. Freeing up that much payroll and not re-appropriating those resources to ensure this team stays in contention would be a first degree felony in sports court. I don't think Jim Crane wants that for this team. I for sure don't think James Click wants that as his legacy. Let's sit back and watch how the organization maneuvers this offseason and pray they get it right.


Editor's note: If you want to read the other side of the argument, check out Ken Hoffman's piece from Tuesday.

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