I’m not what you’d call a “winning” blackjack player. I couldn’t count cards if my life depended on it and being dealt an ace routinely confuses me. It can be used as a one or an eleven?! Who am I? Galileo He liked math, right? I’m sure he did. Anyway, while I may be a verified blackjack nincompoop, the subject of the 2019 documentary Inside the Edge: A Professional Blackjack Adventure is a bonafide card shark.
Now streaming on Prime Video, this captivating film offers an honest peek into the life of a professional gambler. Director Chris Buddy follows a high-profile card counter, KC, as inside the edge a professional blackjack adventure he travels across the country playing blackjack. But Inside the Edge is far more interesting than your typical gambling documentary. Thanks to the ambiguous gaming laws when it comes to blackjack, KC has been banned from innumerable casinos. His reputation as an advantage player forces him to play a game within a game, changing his look on a daily basis in an attempt to evade casino surveillance systems. While the life of a professional gambler is inherently fascinating, watching myriad casinos blatantly bend or outright break the law when dealing with KC is truly astonishing.
The old adage is “the house always wins,” but I had no idea they were such a dick while doing it.
The most interesting aspect of Inside the Edge is the way it humanizes the often romanticized world of professional gambling. Rounders is one of my all-time favorite films, but anyone who’s ever played Texas hold ’em understands that poker, and gambling in general, is hours of boredom punctuated my minutes of heart-pounding exhilaration. Inside the Edge doesn’t conceal the blemishes of gambling. Instead, it highlights the boredom, loneliness, and, yes, even the inevitable downswings.
Without giving too much away, halfway through the movie I thought to myself, “Should I quit my job and become a professional blackjack player?” which is a somewhat normal reaction when watching a film about gambling (right?). But Inside the Edge eventually shows the realities of such a volatile vocation as KC hits an inevitable rough patch.
“My career playing blackjack, I’ve had many, many days where I’ve both won and lost hundred of thousands of dollars,” KC admits during Inside the Edge. “It’s quite an emotional rollercoaster.”
If you’ve ever lost way too much cash during a drunken night in Las Vegas, you’ll appreciate the authenticity of Inside the Edge. If you’re looking for another indie doc to stream on Prime Video, Decider also recommends At the Drive-In, a feel-good film about a drive-in theater in rural Pennsylvania, and Perfect Bid, a documentary about the man who outsmarted The Price is Right.
Where to stream Inside The Edge
Inside The Edge: A Professional Blackjack Adventure