Winning Against The House

While most movies about gambling focus on the ritz and the risk of playing for high stakes in Roulette or Poker, the movie 21 focuses on one of the more overlooked games: the game of blackjack. Based on the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team, 21 shows a group of math majors who team up to take Vegas casinos for lots of money by card counting in high stakes blackjack games.

The Premise

The movie is a highly intelligent heist movie. In 21, a group of highly gifted young math whizzes perfect a plan to win the maximum amount possible at Vegas. Some members of the group would place small bets and count the cards played in the game, keeping track of when the table was favorable to the player. They would then signal to the other team who would come in and make large bets, capitalizing on the favorable balance of the deck.

Personal Problems

The drama in the film comes from personal issues that prevent the main character from playing his best. Tensions arise due to jealousy between the main character Ben Campbell and one of his teammates, leading to increased scrutiny from casino security. Also, because of an attraction for a fellow teammate, Campbell begins to lose concentration and loses a great deal of money.

The movie 21 can teach players a lot about the intricacies about blackjack, as well as the risks inherent in card counting. However, in the end, the movie is a fictionalized portrayal of the game, and should be appreciated for its drama, and not its blackjack tips.