Fans of the 007 franchise love to watch James Bond playing cards. Casinos and card tables are the setting for key plot developments and some of Bond’s most famous one-liners. And although the world’s deadliest secret agent has more than 400 kills and over 50 known romantic liaisons, many people also enjoy reading about James Bond’s favourite games.
James Bond Craps
In the 1971 classic Diamonds Are Forever, Bond visits a Las Vegas casino and hits the craps tables. He quickly gets his $10,000 credit approved and is joined by the gorgeous Plenty O’Toole who shows him the ropes. Craps is at the top of James Bond’s favourite casino games, and the secret agent showcases an aggressive strategy for success.
He starts by taking “full odds on the 10,” which is a smart bet because it has no house advantage. If the number hits, you’ll win more and be paid off at true odds. He then requests “200 on the hard way,” which is slang for hitting the number 10 with paired dice. The two combinations for making the 10 are 6 & 4 and 5 & 5.
Next, Bond asks for “the limit on all the numbers,” referring to the box numbers: 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10. In some casinos, table limits can go up to $50,000 on each of those numbers. Finally, he shouts out “250 on the eleven” – a bet that the next roll of the dice will be 6 & 5 or 5 & 6.
James Bond Baccarat
Many would argue that the agent’s favourite game is baccarat chemin de fer. He plays it in Dr. No, Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and Golden Eye. It’s also an important part of the Casino Royale novel, but in the 2006 film adaptation, baccarat was replaced by no-limit Texas hold’em.
Chemin de fer (iron road) came to life because the cards were placed in an iron box. Six decks of cards are used and shuffled together. Players are randomly seated at an oval-shaped table.
Discarded cards are placed in the center of the table. At the beginning of the game, the croupier and then the players shuffle the cards in play order. Play begins to the right of the croupier and then continues counterclockwise.
The player who deals is designated as the “banker,” while the others are “punters.” The round begins when the punters and the banker are dealt two cards. There are three types of bets: the player’s hand, the banker’s hand, or a tie.
James Bond Poker
No one could claim that all of those 007 poker scenes are an accurate depiction of the game, but we can all agree that they’re fantastic pieces of cinema. Our hero bluffs his way through countless showdowns with villains at the poker table. Nowhere is this more crucial to the plot than in Casino Royale.
Early on in the film, the audience is treated to the James Bond-Alex Dimitrios duel. Dimitrios, who works for the terrorist banker Le Chiffre, loses a hand before deciding to up the stakes and bet his Austin Martin DB5.
But Bond is holding three aces – a hand that beats any other full house. Naturally, he drives off with Dimitrios’ car before adding insult to injury and sleeping with his gorgeous wife later that evening.
However, a game of no-limit Texas hold’em against Le Chiffre himself isn’t such a walk in the park. The game of bluffs and counter-bluffs with more than $120 million in the pot reaches a climax when Bond wins with a straight flush. But even though this game is highly entertaining, it simply isn’t realistic.
The final distribution of cards, which left every player holding very strong hands, is highly improbable. The probability of drawing the James Bond straight flush alone is 0.027%.
James Bond Roulette
In the Casino Royale novel, Bond also tries his hand at roulette. The book outlines a system designed to turn the odds in the player’s favour. Simply referred to as the James Bond system, it involves wagering the same amount in every round.
This is how James Bond would place a $20 bet:
- $14 on 19-36
- $5 on the Line bet 13-14-15-16-17-18
- $1 on 0
With this bet, there will be 25 numbers where you win and 12 numbers where you lose. The popularity of this strategy lies in its simplicity. But the approach has proven to be ineffective in the long term, with players unable to beat the house.
James Bond Bridge
In another Ian Fleming masterpiece – Moonraker – 007 is asked by M to investigate a member of her favourite bridge club who is suspected of cheating. Bond spends a few minutes with a guide on how to be a card cheat and brushes up on a couple of tricks like the mechanic’s grip and nullifying the cut.
The spy soon determines that Sir Hugo Drax is in fact a cheat. He quickly fixes the deck against Drax, and as is usually the case, every James Bond card becomes a winner.
The card game of bridge is played with a standard 52-card deck that’s dealt out, clockwise around the table, until each player is holding 13 cards. It involves partnerships that attempt to score points by making their bid or defeating the opposition’s bid. At the end, the team with the most points wins.