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Remembering All In, 15 years later

BY Staff Reporter | Sep 24, 2018 01:47 PM EDT


All In, the South Korean television drama series, celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. In 2003, it was released to widespread critical acclaim. It was particularly well-received in Korea, Japan and Thailand, ranking as the seventh most popular Korean Drama in 2007. All In received high ratings across the board, gaining a respectable 7.5/10 on IMDb and a user rating of 90%.

However, All In was a short-lived show, airing just 24 episodes and failing to get renewed for a second season. Despite a great casting choice and exciting plotline, the show was never renewed - much to the disappointment of loyal fans.

Love and gambling: the pillars of an engaging tale


Enticing viewers with its thrilling story plot, All In follows the main character, Kim In-ha, who spends a great deal of his time hanging out with his friends in the basement of a movie theatre.

In-ha is in the care of his uncle, who also happens to be a hardcore gambler and bets away any money he has. However, it isn't all doom and gloom as In-ha eventually befriends Choi Jung-won, the wealthy son of the theatre owner. There's just one catch - they both fall in love with Min Su-yeon, the attractive daughter of the theatre's projectionist.

Despite the blossoming love triangle, the two boys remain close friends and when Su-yeon's father is murdered by loan sharks, In-ha and Jung-won plot a revenge plan. However, it doesn't go according to plan and In-ha is sentenced to seven years in prison. On the other hand, Jung-won depends on the wealth of his family to avoid a jail sentence.

Seven years later, all three end up working at the same casino. In-ha becomes a gambling professional and, winning championships and gaining immense wealth and fortune along the way. But importantly, the two ex-friends are still head over heels for Su-yeon and must battle to win her affections.

Why did All In come to an end?

Following the remarkable success of the show, many fans were left wondering why the show ended. One leading theory has to do with the gambling laws in Korea, which could have been an attributing factor as to why the series was so successful and why it wasn't renewed for a second series.

According to The Korean Law Blog, Korean citizens are prohibited from gambling outside of Korea. However, tourists may gamble in the casinos located in major tourist cities. These complex gambling laws are thought to be a possible reason as to why the show, All In, and others like it such as The Royal Gambler, are immensely popular and successful. It has alternative, edgy appeal that many saw as connected to an unpredictable underworld.

It just goes to show that a film's success is often associated with a political and cultural context. For example, gambling is largely commonplace in equivalent dramas broadcast in the UK and US - where most forms of gambling are legal in a regulatory framework. Even James Bond likes to try his luck in a game of poker in the blockbuster hit, Casino Royale.

Online gambling operators in particular have flourished in the UK in recent years - and now take up more than one-third of total gambling revenue in the country. That's enabled gamblers to of all kinds to play their favourite casino games from the comfort of their own home, or if they're on the move. The games themselves have also become more engaging than ever before - with everything from dazzling card games to immersive live casino available at the click of a button or swipe of a screen.

You'll find one of the most reputable online casinos operating in this space here at 777 Casino. It features a strong 1950s Vegas theme that really makes you feel part of the golden age of gambling, using high-quality audio and video to bring you into the world of Wurlitzers and chequered flooring that were popular at the time. This gives it huge stand-out appeal compared to many other online casinos.

A star studded cast destined for bigger things

All In was well known for its pristine casting. The main character, Kim In Ha, was played by actor, singer and model, Lee Byung-hun. Lee was highly regarded for his work in The Good, the Bad, the Weird (2008), I Saw the Devil (2010) and even starred alongside Bruce Willis in Red 2 (2013). He also played Billy Rocks in The Magnificent Seven (2016) and has made a name for himself in Hollywood since All In.

Other stars included Song Hye-kyo as Min Su-yeon. Song starred in many leading roles in television dramas since All In, such as Full House (2004), Descendants of the Sun (2016) and films such as The Grandmaster (2013) and The Queens (2015). She's also a renowned philanthropist, making significant contributions to charity and is ranked 7th in Forbes magazine's Korea Power Celebrity list.

Ji Sung starred as Choi Jung-won in the series, which is one of his best-known roles. The actor also found success in the 2017 thriller, Innocent Defendant. Another member of the main cast of the show was Park Sol-mi, who played the role of Seo Jin-hee.

Widespread critical acclaim

The original run of All In aired on SBS from January to April 2003. The show was broadcast twice a week, and viewers raced to tune in at 21:55 on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Many people praised the show for its suspense, superb supporting case, heart-wrenching romance and aching realism. The show won a string of prestigious awards including the Grand Prize for Lee Byung-hun at the 2003 SBS Drama Awards.

The ratings went through the roof, with the final episode acquiring nearly half of the entire TV audience at the time - placing it as the 42nd highest-rated Korean drama episode of all time. This is quite a significant achievement as competition for such a title is fierce.

All In: is a renewal on the cards?

With the 15-year anniversary of All In looming, a lot of people are wondering whether it's a good time to bring back an exciting remake of the show. We're sure that it would gain a massive audience interested in the series, especially if it's anywhere near as good as the first season.

There's been a lot of talk of a renewal of the series in recent years, and there seems to be a large audience eagerly anticipating a return. However, it's yet to be confirmed. As you may know, Netflix has been picking up a few Korean shows of their own such as Busted! which has been quite popular with a western audience. So, will Netflix turn its attention towards All In? Only time will tell.

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