Blackjack is much more rare in movies than roulette or craps – the other two games are more spectacular and easier to understand. But the movies 21 and Rain Man chose to include blackjack.

21, which is an alternative name for blackjack, is also a movie that came out in 2008. It’s about an MIT group that successfully plays blackjack using card counting and team work. The relationships between the people are the main point, but the game is important too. Ben Cambell, MIT senior, needs money for medical school. He joins the blackjack team of professor Micky Rosa, which also includes other students – Kianna, Jill, Choi and Fischer. They play by having the spotters tracking the count while playing the minimum bet, then secretly informing the big players who place big bets and win. Campbell is a big player. Fisher gets jealous and gets him removed from the team. Campbell starts having problems, which affects his blackjack games. He ends up losing $200,000 and gets caught card counting.

The blackjack scene in Rain Man, a 1988 movie, is smaller but significant. Charlie Babbitt finds out that his brother Raymond, who has autism, got $3 million inheritance from their father. Charlie kidnaps Raymond to get some of the money and discovers that his brother has amazing memory. He decides to go a casino in Las Vegas and play blackjack by having Raymond remember all the cards dealt. That’s not how card counting works in reality – you only need to memorize values using codes.