books,  fiction

Casino Movies: Where’s Lady Luck?

There’s nothing better than a good-looking woman going on a roll at a crowded craps table and knowing what she’s doing. This happened in Vegas on Saturday night when my college roommate walked up to the table in a short black dress and red heels. On her turn, she took the dice and showed the boys how it’s done, placing the right bets at the right times. I heard a guy next to her say, “Wow, you really seem to know the game. How did you learn?” Her reply?Madame Moustache

“I like math.”

I think we can agree that this is a sight everybody loves to see…unless you’re playing the “don’t come” line, in which case, you deserve what you’re getting. So why, then, aren’t there more casino movies that feature women as the high rollers? Usually women in casino movies are relegated to the roles of cocktail waitresses, strippers, or silicone arm candy who cheer on their men. Yes, that can be sexy in its own way, and many of the women in these roles play strong characters (think Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale).

Still, I think it would be far sexier to see a female lead, not on the arm of some man, but playing for herself with money that she’s earned. The history from which to draw certainly is there. Eleanor Dumont, probably the most famous woman gambler of the Wild West, was nicknamed “Madame Moustache,” but rumor has it she was still quite beautiful. I’d love to see a movie made about her taking all the gold miners’ money and opening her own casino. Or a movie about “Poker Alice” Ivers, who was deft at counting cards and calculating odds (there was one made in 1987, but I think we’re due for another). While we’re waiting for those movies to be made, you can read about Poker Alice, Madame Moustache, and other female cardsharps of the Wild West in Chris Enss’ book, The Lady was a Gambler.