By now, James Bond has evolved from a movie character into a cultural icon. The popular literary and movie character has become a synonym for a spy with smooth moves and cool gadgets dressed in high-end suits. However, aside from saving the world every couple of years, Agent 007 also spends a considerable amount of his time gambling in some of the best casinos in the world.
As it turns out, James Bond has a very specific taste in casino games. Apparently, although he’s not into slots, he enjoys playing cards. Here are James Bond’s favorite casino games, served as a means to outsmart opponents or tools of seduction.
Chemin De Fer: James Bond’s Signature
Of all the casino games, James Bond undoubtedly loves Chemin De Fer the most. Although, Chemin De Fer might sound like an obscure game to some people, it’s actually a version of Baccarat where players bet against each other instead of the house.
The goal in Chemin De Fer is to make a hand as close to 9 as possible with 2 or 3 cards. When the value of the cards exceeds 9, only the second digit counts: for example, 13 counts as 3 and 10 counts as 0. Picture cards are seen as 10 and Aces as 1. At first, 2 cards are dealt to every player and whoever has a hand of 8 or 9, the game ends immediately and the biggest hand wins. However, if no one has such hands, players can choose to pick up a third card.
Chemin De Fer appears in the 007 films a total of 4 times. It’s easy to see why because the game makes for charming and dramatic one-on-one encounters. In the first James Bond film ‘Dr. No’, the Baccarat table introduces Bond to the lovely Sylvia Trench. Bond beat Trench twice in a row and she was so impressed by him that they started talking.
In ‘Thunderball’ (1965), Bond plays Chemin De Fer against Spectre’s Emilio Largo. Not only did Bond intimidate Largo by hinting at his allegiances, he beat him 3 times before passing the shoe to someone else. This casino game consequently shows Mr.007’s affectionate side as he paid off Tracy’s debt when she lost a hand too big for her to pay in ‘On Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ (1969).
And in the 1995 James Bond movie – ‘Golden Eye’, this version of Baccarat is a symbol of friendship: Bond had an intense car race with Xenia Onatopp through the hills then they played the card game together and discussed their hobbies. To no one’s surprise, Bond had the better hand than Onatopp.
Texas Hold‘Em: An Iconic Scene Full of Twists
Even though Texas Hold’em was only played in ‘Casino Royale’ (2003), the poker scene with Le Chiffre is still regarded as one of the most iconic scenes in the series. The game is definitely one of the wildest you’ll ever see and the one that perfectly encapsulates the idea of James Bond: a risk-taker that always comes up against the odds, all while looking perfectly cool doing it.
Unsurprisingly, 007 came out as the winner! The director Martin Campbell also said that the famous poker scene is one of the hardest to film because there were so many players involved that it’s tricky to arrange all the shots.
One Card Draw: 1 Card for 1 Million Dollars
Even though One Card Draw is a game hardly found in casinos today, it gave Bond an opportunity to win 1 million dollars in ‘The World Is Not Enough’ (1999). If you don’t know what One Card Draw is, it’s simply each player drawing a card and the higher one wins.
Elektra King had Bond play this game with her in Valentin Zukovsky’s Le Casino L’Or Noir. She placed all of her father’s credit and while she was able to provide an impressive move with the Queen of Hearts, Bond was better thanks to the Ace of Club.
Blackjack: 5 Hands At a Time
This classic casino game needs no introduction, and James Bond once won so much with it that he had to stop before something bad happened to him. Bond played 5 blackjack hands at a time at the Republic of Isthmus Casino in ‘License To Kill’ (1989). Betting $20,000 in each hand, Bond quickly won over $250,000.
The situation was so alarming for the casino kingpin Franz Sanchez that he had to send Lupe Lamora to be the dealer to win money back for the house. Lamora was thoughtful enough to hint to Bond that the casino is after him, so Mr.007 wisely called it quits.
Backgammon: Lucky Dice
In ‘Octopussy’ (1983), we see Bond playing backgammon with Kamal Khan to expose his trickery. Khan was using his ‘lucky’ dice to win against Major Clive until he couldn’t pay any more; but unlucky for him, James Bond stepped in.
He offered his Faberge golden egg as collateral for a 200,000 rupee bet. When the time came to roll the dice, Bond used Khan’s lucky dice to roll a double six then demanded he get the money in cash.