Bond, James Bond. Those three words were uttered in the opening scene of the opening movie of what would become the most famous and franchise of them all. And where was Sean Connery when he said the line? Why, sitting at a card table in a high end casino, of course, where else?
The stage was set, and not just for the events that unfolded in Dr No. The drama, opulence and risk of high stakes casino gaming has featured time and again in Bond movies over the past 60 years. Here, we take a look at the games he has played and we explore how you can follow in his footsteps – but without having to stake $100 million on the outcome!
Starting at the beginning, Bond was in the middle of a game of baccarat when he introduced himself to fellow player Sylvia Trench. She was one of the few Bond love interests to reappear in a subsequent movie, in this case, From Russia With Love.
In Ian Fleming’s novels, baccarat is Bond’s casino game of choice. The version we see him playing, Chemin de Fer, is rarely played in casinos these days, but a simplified variation, Punto Banco has enjoyed a renaissance over the past decade or so thanks to the rise of online casino platforms. The rules are easy – simply place your bet on Player or Banker to be dealt a score closest to nine. Any of the platforms listed at the Gamble Online will offer baccarat, just search under live table games and give it a try.
Fast forward to the end of Sean Connery’s tenure as Bond and we see him at the craps table with another love interest. When she introduces herself as Plenty O’Toole, we see the first signs of the tongue in cheek humour that will be such a feature of 007 movies in the Roger Moore era to come.
Craps looks complicated due to the many areas marked on the table, but most of these are concerned with side bets that have an unfavourable house edge. Stick to the basic pass / don’t pass bets and keep it simple for the best chance against the house.
Timothy Dalton brought a welcome sense of grit back to Bond after the innuendos and one-liners of the Roger Moore movies. In Licence to Kill, Bond intentionally drew attention to himself by walking into a casino owned by drug lord Franz Sanchez and taking the house for $250,000 at the blackjack table.
Here, Bond is playing the most popular casino game in the world. Everyone knows the rules, but devote a little time to learning basic strategy and you can reduce the house edge by more than one percent.
The most famous casino scene is, of course, in Casino Royale. Daniel Craig’s Bond takes on Le Chiffre at the poker table and there is more than $100 million in the pot.
Even if you’re no poker expert, you could follow in Bond’s footsteps at a safe distance with a poker variation like casino holdem. Played against the dealer in the same way as blackjack, it’s a great way of learning poker basics without having to go up against more experienced players.