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Published on March 29th, 2018 | by gareth

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James Bond’s 4 Favorite Casino Games

James Bond is no stranger to taking bold risks. In all aspects of his life, his bravado is a key part of his personality. He’s parlayed this bravado into big wins on the job, in his love life, and in the casino.

From the beginning, casino games have played a big role in the 007 saga. Indeed, the first novel revolves around a single game of baccarat. Subsequent scenes in the films have gone down as some of the most iconic in movie history. Bond often seems at his best while wearing a tuxedo, drinking a cocktail, and playing a high-stakes casino game in an upscale venue.

He’s played many different games throughout the years, but the following four are ones that stand out.

Baccarat Chemin de Fer

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Image via Flickr by niallkennedy

Three main versions of baccarat exist. The French version, known as chemin de fer (French for railroad), is Bond’s favorite casino game. In “Casino Royale,” the first novel of the series, the plot largely revolves around a game of baccarat. Bond’s assignment is to bankrupt the French paymaster of a Russian spy organization. He heads to the casino Royale-les-Eaux in the north of France and engages Le Chiffre, the paymaster, in a high-stakes game at the baccarat table.

The game has appeared in many Bond films and has earned itself the name “The Bond Game” due to its close association with the character. The first 007 film “Dr. No” features a game of baccarat chemin de fer, paving the way for later casino scenes.

Chemin de fer also appears in “Thunderball,” “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” “For Your Eyes Only,” and “Goldeneye.”

Chemin de fer was developed in the late 1800s as a way to speed up the pace of baccarat, hence the name “railroad.” Players compete against each other rather than against the house, and the game features a combination of luck and skill. Chemin de fer is most commonly played in Europe.

Conversely, players compete against the house and rely solely on luck in Punto Banco, the most common type of baccarat in the United States, Australia, and Canada.

A third type is baccarat banque, which is similar to chemin de fer and is usually found in Europe.

Texas Hold ’em

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Image via Flickr by Tiago Daniel

The 2006 version of “Casino Royale” starring Daniel Craig substitutes Texas Hold ’em poker for baccarat, largely due to the immense popularity of the game at the time. In what is one of the tensest scenes in modern Bond films, 007 keeps his cool and maintains his poker face. It’s a scene that’s worth re-watching: Even if you know what’s going to happen, it’ll still raise your heart rate.

Although the history of the game is obscure, it’s believed to have originated in the early 1900s. It was introduced to Las Vegas in 1967 but exploded in popularity during the early 2000s due to exposure on television and the availability of online gaming. The famous 2003 win of the World Series of Poker by online entrant Chris Moneymaker helped to embed Texas Hold ’em in the popular consciousness. It’s now played at casinos and social gatherings throughout the world.

Craps

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Image via Flickr by Lisa Brewster

Bond wins big at Craps in the 1971 film “Diamonds Are Forever.” Was he familiar with the game? Plenty O’Toole, a woman who shows interest in him at the craps table, asks him if he’s played before. “Just once,” he responds with a coy smirk. We get the impression he knows his way around the game.

Craps is fast-paced and exciting, and it has a long history: Some say it can be traced back to crusading knights in the 12th century A.D. It often draws quite a crowd — up to 20 people can play. Although it may appear confusing to a newcomer, it’s relatively simple once you understand the rules. You can find a great introduction to the rules of craps online. In addition, you can read about countless betting strategies and tailor them to your own tastes.

Roulette

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Image via Flickr by abby chicken photography

George Lazenby’s one appearance as Bond in 1969’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” featured Bond rescuing Countess Teresa di Vicenzo from a bet on the roulette wheel. Roulette is not as commonly featured as baccarat, for example, but Ian Fleming himself described Bond as a fan of the game. A roulette strategy is even named after Bond.

Roulette has a long history and goes back at least 400 years to 18th-century France. Some attribute the creation of the game to the French polymath Blaise Pascal, although the connection is uncertain. Roulette is eternally popular in casinos throughout the world and is one of the most easily recognized casino games.

A True Natural

Bond has played many other casino games throughout his illustrious career. His cool, suave demeanor makes him look like a natural when the stakes are high. Fans of the series can look forward to more of Bond’s big bets in the future.

 


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