Casino is an epic film that explores the seedy underbelly of Vegas. It lays out an intricate web of corruption that includes the mob, politicians, Teamsters unions, and Midwest mafia all working together. Scorsese crafted a taut thriller that manages to hold your interest throughout the three hours. The performances are excellent from De Niro and Sharon Stone, but the real star of this movie is Joe Pesci’s ruthless Santoro.

Beneath the veneer of flashing lights and free cocktails, casinos are rigged to slowly bleed patrons of their money. Fortunately, mathematically inclined individuals have found ways to beat the system, using their knowledge of probability and game theory to take advantage of weaknesses in a rigged environment.

The majority of people who walk into a casino have one goal in mind – to gamble and have a good time. They stride into the casino brimming with confidence and their wallets filled with cash, expecting to win big or at least break even. Then, a few rounds of drinks and hours later they have no idea what time it is or how much they’ve spent.

The people who run casinos are masters of manipulating human nature. They know what sounds and physical design tricks to use to make it impossible to leave the building without gambling. They keep the music blaring, the coins clinking, and the lights flashing to create a manufactured state of bliss that keeps patrons playing. They even hire mathematicians who study the house edge and variance of every game to help them maximize profits.