Towards the end of the film, when Rusty and Danny are in the airport, they each mock each other. Rusty tells Danny to try and keep the weight off in between jobs next time. This is a reference to George Clooney, who put on extra weight for his role in Syriana (2005) and in turn injured his back doing some stunts. Danny tells Rusty, "Settle down and have a couple of kids," which is a reference to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's relationship and children.
Matt Damon's London street scene, showing Linus walking through London speaking on the phone was shot while Matt Damon was in London filming The Bourne Ultimatum. The Ocean's Thirteen production took advantage of this happy coincidence as they wanted Greco to be a British classmate of Roman Nagel, so having Linus in London played well to the story.
The dialogue Reuben says to Danny when he wakes up - "I hear cars pulling in.I hear whispering conversations. I hear Linus crying. Why don't you tell me what everyone else seems to know?" is an imitation of the one Vito Corleone says to Tom Hagen when he wakes up in "The Godfather" which has Al Pacino(Willy Bank) as the protagonist.
The phrase "Billy Martin" that Danny calls for to Willie during the Reuben's hospitalization is a gambling slang for second chance. The phrase refers to famed Major League Baseball manager, Billy Martin. Despite his talents as a manager (he led the New York Yankees to two World Series titles), Martin's fiery temper, fueled by his alcoholism, often got him into trouble and as a result, he was fired multiple times. Despite his character flaws, Billy Martin was always being given a "second chance".
Matt Damon's brief scene on a London street corner is very reminiscent of the Bourne movies: hand-held camera, European location, cell phone use, even the dialogue ("I've used four identities... I think I'm being followed... I have a name but I don't even know if it's right.").
When Danny and Rusty are reminiscing about meeting Reuben, they are wandering in front of the Bellagio. The tune that is playing is Clair de Lune. This is the same tune that played at the end of Ocean's Eleven (2001) when all the characters are standing in front of the Bellagio watching the fountains.
Danny Ocean (George Clooney) makes an appeal on behalf of Reuben Tishkoff (Elliott Gould) by telling Willie Bank (Al Pacino)"What I want, what's most important to me..." This is the same line that that Michael Corleone, played by Pacino, uses when making an appeal for his father's safety to Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo in The Godfather (1972)
Based upon the aerial shots of the Bank Casino, it is located near where the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, the Planet Hollywood Casino, and the Miracle Mile Shopping Center are located on the Las Vegas Strip. Its location can also be confirmed by Terry Benedict who complains that the Bank Casino "throws a shadow over my pool" (Meaning the "dancing waters" pool in front of the Bellagio. The actual location shown on the aerial shot is across from the Monte Carlo near the Polo Towers with the Paris Hotel and Planet Hollywood still directly across the street from the Bellagio pool.
The Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow logos at the front of the film are styled in homage to the 1970s/1980s intro animation to New York station WOR-TV's "4 O'Clock Movie," and the accompanying music is identical.
In order to infiltrate Willie Bank's office and distract Bank, Basher dresses up as the fictional stuntman Fender Rhodes. Rhodes' persona of being a motorcycle stuntman and dressed in the colors of the American flag, is homage (or parody) of famed stuntman Evel Knievel. By the same token, Bob Einstein, who portrays FBI Agent Caldwell, is best known for his portrayal of stuntman Super Dave Osborne, which is also a parody of Knievel.
Roman Nagel tells Danny and Rusty, 'You're like the Morecambe and Wise of the thievery world, but even they went off the boil after a while.' British comedy duo Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise pulled in audiences of more than 20 million in their 1970s heyday; their material is often thought to have deteriorated after 1978 when they left the BBC.
During the film's climax, several shots are used of various bystanders. One of them is cashing out a rather large amount of chips. It is the same actor who played "Bulldog the bruiser" in Ocean's Eleven (2001).
Ellen Barkin, who plays Abigail Sponder in this film, actually shot a small cameo for the previous film Ocean's Twelve (2004). However, it was ultimately cut from the film, and can be seen on the blu-ray release (under the additional footage section, the "Meet the Team, Again" sequence).
When discussing the blueprints of the Bank Casino, Rusty mentions that among the architects responsible for the design was Frank Gehry, with whom Brad Pitt has collaborated personally on several projects at Gehry's Los Angeles studio.
Obscure reference: In the scene where Ocean's crew is breaking the bank, so to speak, the numbers of amounts won are displayed near specific gamblers to show how much the house is losing. When the shot pans over to George Clooney, the number "5150" is displayed next to him. This corresponds to the health and safety code for placing a psychiatric hold on a deranged individual. In other words, a crazy person is often referred to as a "5150" around police and medical circles.
When the pit boss is leaving the pawn shop, he passes by a sign showing the word "Griffin". The Griffin Agency is famous in Las Vegas for helping casinos spot card counters and cheats. However, in this area of town, The Griffin is a bar located downtown.
When Robert Caldwell receives a phone call from Abigail Sponder about some "suspicious characters", he picks up the phone and says "extension 765". Extension 765 is the company and website that is owned by Steven Soderbergh.
The "Five Diamond Award" is the highest award for hotels and restaurants given out by AAA (formerly the Automobile Association of America). The award--which is sought by Willy Bank (Al Pacino)--is given to less than 1/2 percent of all the hotels AAA reviews. As of 2015, Las Vegas was the city with the second-most five diamond awards, just behind New York City.
Linus makes a joke about the 1973 Château d'Yquem wine. It was produced in between two years (1972 and 1974) of harvests "unworthy to bear the Château's name." He could be hoping that the 1973 wasn't also "unworthy."
The stunt man Don Cheadle portrays towards the end of the films last name is "Rhodes". Coincidentally, the very next year came "Iron Man" which contained a character named James Rhodes played by Terrence Howard, however, 2 years later in "Iron Man 2", 3 years after Ocean's 13, a recasting of the character ended up being played by Don Cheadle, who portrayed "War Machine",real name: James Rhodes.
In the scene where George Clooney/Danny is giving Al Pacino/Willy Bank the "Billy Martin" George Clooney says "what I want, what's most important to me.." Is the same line Al Pacino/Michael Corleone says to Sollozzo before he kills him in the restaurant.
The gold Samsung phone that Willie Bank (played by Al Pacino) covets would appear to be another reference to the Godfather films, in which Pacino starred. Specifically, in The Godfather Part II, a gold rotary telephone was passed around a board room table that included Pacino.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Linus tells Reuben that Rusty is pulling an "Irwin Allen". This is in homage to the producer Irwin Allen who is widely popular for his disaster movies and TV shows that depicted ways the world would end. His one technical contribution to the world of film and TV was his pioneering of the "shaky-cam" technique to imply aerial turbulence or an earthquake. His approach was to simply tilt the camera back and forth, and have his actors throw themselves across a set. This goes along with Rusty telling Bank there is a possibility of an earthquake, and their exit plan for the end of the movie to cause one to get all the people to leave with their winnings.
The characters make several references to a "Susan B. Anthony" in their heist. This is a reference to the Susan B. Anthony dollar manufactured by the US mint in 1979. It was similar in appearance and size to a regular quarter and many people dropped it into a slot machine without realizing what it was worth. This method was used twice in the film, though the people are using an ordinary coin they don't realize that it will be worth millions in the slot: first by the woman in The Bank who wins the jackpot and later by the VUP at the slot machine in the airport.
All members of the Caldwell (Linus') family that we know of have impersonated some kind of law-enforcing agent in the three 'Ocean' movies. Linus impersonated an officer of the NGC (Nevada Gaming Commission) in 11, his mother acted as a US Marshal in 12, and his father, Bobby, impersonated an FBI agent in 13.