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James Bond as an Eternal Gambler – A Journey Through Time

James Bond as an Eternal Gambler – A Journey Through Time

Published by Programme B

“At 3:00 a.m., the smell of perfume, smoke, and sweat is numbing. The wear and tear on the nerves created by high-stakes gambling, greed, and fear become unbearable at this hour, and the senses awaken and revolt against it.”


Bond Films as a Barometer of the Zeitgeist

What sounds like the current blog of a high roller in Vegas is actually the beginning of Ian Fleming’s very first James Bond novel from 1953, titled Casino Royale. Just like the Bond flick starring Daniel Craig. James Bond plays baccarat in the book, and poker in the movie, as we all know. 

Instead of applying 10 ways to secure a win at online baccarat, the choice of poker in the film was probably because all Bond films are a mirror of their time. A photograph of the fleeting zeitgeist of the year in which they were made.  

Bond’s poker scenes were the answer to the poker boom. Hence the fast-paced parkour scene and other sequences are inspired by the fashion.


The Last Movies Do Without a Casino

The last films are much darker and colder than all Bond films. 

Fleming draws his James Bond, quite in contrast to later film adaptations, as a sensitive character who is very much affected by his job, which is brutal, exhausting, and psychologically stressful.

Incidentally, the model for the character James Bond was the naval officer Patrick Dalzel-Job, who successfully operated behind enemy lines in World War II.

Whether this officer played is not known, but James Bond does. And he does it extensively. Always in fine threads, always in the casino. It’s not really noticeable anymore when Bond is gambling, but it’s even more noticeable when Bond isn’t gambling.


Bond Even Learned Cheating Techniques

The books Casino Royale and Moonraker have card game scenes as central elements of the suspense arc. In the book Moonraker, Bond is even asked by M to check if a member of M’s club is cheating at cards. 

To do this, Bond gets a copy of the famous book “Scarne on Cards” and learns about tricks that are still used today: Mechanic’s Grip, Palming and Canceling Takeoff.  

Again, when you get involved with the devil, the devil doesn’t change. But to call Bond a cheat because of this would probably be going too far.

Whether he is or was a gambling addict? No idea. He would have to introduce himself with: “My name is Bond, James Bond and I’m a compulsive gambler”. Well, let’s not blaspheme here. Bond only plays for King and Country.


List of All Games Played in James Bond

 Since James Bond’s administrative streak is always throbbing, we’ve compiled a list of the most amazing games that Bond has ever played:

  • Baccarat: Bond duels his adversary Le Chiffre at baccarat in the novel Casino Royale, and likewise with Emilio Largo in Thunderball. Baccarat, or more precisely the Chemin de fer variant, is apparently Bond’s favorite game.


  • Backgammon: In the movie Octopussy, Kamal Khan cheats at backgammon; Bond sees through the cheating and beats Kamal Khan at his own “lucky dice.”


  • Blackjack: The game appears in the novel Diamonds Are Fever and the movie License to Kill.


  • Bridge: In the novel Moonraker, Bond convicts Sir Hugo Drax of being a cheater at bridge; Bond cheats better and wins the game (cf. Duke of Cumberland Hand). In the film, there is only a brief reference by Sir Frederick Gray that he once played bridge with Sir Hugo.


  • Canasta and Gin Rummy: In the movie Goldfinger, Auric Goldfinger cheats a Mr. Simmons at gin rummy. Goldfinger’s secretary (portrayed by Shirley Eaton) uses a telescope to look at Mr. Simmons’ cards from a hotel room and tells Goldfinger, who appears to be wearing a hearing aid, the scores over the radio. 


  • Computer games: In Never Say Never, Bond competes with Largo, played by Klaus-Maria Brandauer, in “Domination,” a computer game invented by Largo himself, whose goal is world domination. Bond loses several games for individual countries, but is victorious in the battle for the entire world and wins the game.


  • Poker: In the movie Casino Royale, Bond and Le Chiffre play Texas Hold’em instead of baccarat as in the novel.


  • Roulette: In the novel, Diamonds Are Fever Bond plays roulette in Las Vegas and wins, of course.


  • Sic Bo (Dai Siu): To get on the trail of Francisco Scaramanga, the Man with the Golden Gun, Bond goes to a casino in Macao in the film, where he meets Miss Anders at the Sic Bo. This game is also played in the 2012 film Skyfall.