Mississippi Grind a Portrayal of Gambling Addiction
Mississippi Grind essentially portrays the mental challenges related to an addition to gambling. The famous anecdote, that has been repeated so often as to have become a veritable legend, is about a gambler who was ahead with his gambling. He had won enough money to pay off all his debts, and even have some money over to start his life again with some ease. However, he ends up losing everything at the tables. His rationale when he was finally completely out of money was that it was not really that great a loss, and all he really lost was his original buy-in to the game.
This is the psychology that Mississippi Grind explores. The movie stars Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds, and although there are many aspects to the two men’s friendship, and different pressures of life that they have to deal with, the protagonist in the movie is the emotional state of the compulsive gambler. And that mental point that compulsive gamblers struggle with, the moment it is better to walk away.
The Powerful Attraction of Poker
The mathematics of gambling and casino play are such that over a longer period, the odds are stacking in favour of the house. Over this longer period, the house will win. That is the basic business model of casinos around the world, and understanding this is the key to winning and losing. In Mississippi Grind, the characters Gerry and Curtis meet during a poker game. Poker is known to be a game that defies the house odds and everyone the opportunity to collect some major wins. Provided, of course, that the player is a student of human nature and knows how to play the game.
High Stakes Hold’Em
In Mississippi Grind the two men, Gerry and Curtis, set the early tone of the movie by demonstrating that they both have a compulsion to wager on anything possible, even the clothes that the next person emerging from the restrooms will be wearing. Gerry is the prototypical gambling addict, while Curtis is the ideal gambler in that winning doesn’t matter to him and he feels no pressure nor the desperation to win. The storyline in Mississippi Grind is that these two men go around from casino to casino in order to make the $25 000 that Gerry needs to enter a high-stakes poker game. Winning this game would obviously alleviate all the problems and financial woes in one fell swoop. Another gambling fallacy.
A Picture of Casinos
Mississippi Grind deals with all types of casino play. Primarily poker, of course, but the movie stars also play craps, baccarat and pretty much anything they can possibly wager on, including horse racing. This make for an exciting movie due to the basic excitement that casino play generates, and the level of emotion involved in this lifestyle. The casinos are bright, colourful and noisy, totally the sort of attractive environment that appeals so much to gamblers, and keeps their hearts racing.
Perhaps the movie back-peddles on the key issues of gambling addition with an ending that is relies on the idea that luck does change and that with perseverance, even the most hardened addict can eventually win. This may not really be reflective of real life, but then, after all, it is a movie.