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How Gaming Has Shaped Entertainment

Gaming has been around for millennia, from the evidence of dice games found in ancient China and Egypt to the latest digital gaming software at online games like Slot Lords. And where there are bets, there is bound to be culture influenced. From depictions in classic literature to poker lingo that pervades everyday speech, wagering and games of chance have left an indelible imprint on entertainment of all varieties. 

Film and Television: Lights, Camera, Action

Gaming and casinos have long been a fixture in cinema and television. From classic films like Casablanca and Oceans 11 to modern depictions in Hangover and Molly’s Game, the high stakes of poker, blackjack, roulette and more translate well to the high stakes of the silver screen. And who can forget mafia movies like Casino and Goodfellas, which memorably portrayed the seedy underbelly of Las Vegas and mob-run gambling dens.

On the small screen, poker in particular has benefitted from the poker boom of the 2000s. ESPN’s coverage of the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour brought no-limit hold ’em into the mainstream. Reality shows like Celebrity Poker Showdown and drama series like Tilt starring Kristin Lehman as a young poker pro kept the cards flying on network and cable TV. Game shows have also incorporated gambling elements, from the classic Card Sharks to more recent fare like Catch 21.

Music: Singing a Gaming Tune

Playing the odds has also made its way into the lyrics of numerous pop, rock, folk and hip hop songs over the decades. From blackjack and roulette references in classic tracks like The Gambler by Kenny Rogers and Viva Las Vegas by Elvis Presley to poker metaphors in more modern hits like The Gambler by fun and Poker Face by Lady Gaga, singers and songwriters have found no shortage of musical inspiration in games of chance. 

And that’s not even counting the numerous examples in rap, R&B and country music. Just a few of the standout gambling-themed tracks across genres include Blowin’ Money Fast by Rick Ross, Check Raise Fold by Lady A, and Queen of Hearts by Juice Newton.

Literature: Betting on Books

Plenty of influential works of literature also revolve around gambling. Fyodor Dostoevsky’s 1866 novel “The Gambler” explored the psychology behind betting mania. And Mark Twain’s 1894 short story The Million Pound Bank Note nodded to the popular British pastime of making wagers.

In modern fiction, gambling often acts as a plot device to ratchet up tension. From high-stakes poker games in novels like Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas series to daring casino heists in books like Ocean’s Eleven author George Clayton Johnson, wagering odds stack the deck in favor of drama.

Notable Examples of Gaming in Pop Culture

CategoryExamples
Film/TVCasablanca, Oceans 11, Rounders, Celebrity Poker Showdown
MusicThe Gambler by Kenny Rogers, Poker Face by Lady Gaga
LiteratureThe Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Ocean’s Eleven by George Clayton Johnson

Language: Gaming the System 

Gambling terminology also crops up often in everyday speech. Common phrases like “go for broke,” “wild card,” and “know when to fold ’em” originate from betting on poker, blackjack and other kasinot minimitalletus 5e games of chance. The word “jackpot” comes from poker, while “on a roll” stems from shooting dice. 

People also frequently use gambling metaphors to describe taking risks, whether in business, relationships or other high-stakes scenarios. Sayings like “playing your cards right” and “throwing caution to the wind” equate calculated wagers to bold life choices.

Fashion: Dressing for Success 

The images of glamor, risk and reward evoked by casinos and betting have inspired many fashion designers. Iconic little black dresses are often referred to as “LBDs.” The term’s origin? A black dress worn by Martine Carol in the Bob Hope film Casbah, which featured gambling motifs. 

Modern fashion houses like Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood have also incorporated gambling elements into their collections. Runway shows and editorial shoots have models posing as card dealers or roulette croupiers, with dice bag purses and poker chip necklaces as bold accessories.

It’s clear gambling culture has snaked its way into the very fabric of entertainment, language, and art. Whether in depictions on stage and screen, metaphors in music or nods on the fashion runway, wagering continues to pay creative dividends across every arena of popular culture. Lady Luck provides an endless font of artistic inspiration.

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