If you watched Daniel Craig in Casino Royal, it’s only natural that you assumed that poker, especially Texas Hold 'Em was Bond's card game of choice. However, you would actually be wrong. In fact, James Bond's favourite casino game is Baccarat.
The link between Bond and Baccarat
In Casino Royale novel, Ian Fleming points out that "Bond has always been a gambler. He loved the dry riffle of the cards and the constant unemphatic drama of the quiet figures round the green tables. He liked the solid, studied comfort of card-rooms and casinos, the well-padded arms of the chairs, the glass of champagne or whiskey at the elbow, the quiet unhurried attention of good servants. He was amused by the impartiality of the roulette ball and of the playing cards - and their eternal bias. Above all, he liked it that everything was one's own fault. There was only oneself to praise or blame. Luck was a servant and not a master."
In many Fleming’s books, Bond was described playing baccarat, that is Chemin de Fer , the French version of the game. The above mentioned Casino Royal novel is actually centered around a baccarat game in the luxurious hotel in France between 007 and Le Chriffre.
007 is also plays Baccarat Chemin de Fer in the movies Dr. No, Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service and GoldenEye.
More on Baccarat
Baccarat has always been a popular card game among the high society. Nowadays, there are three popular variants of the game: Punto Banco (or "North American baccarat"), baccarat Chemin de Fer which is also known as the James Bond game or French baccarat and Baccarat Banque (or "à deux tableaux").
Punto banco is strictly a game of chance, with no skill or strategy involved; each player's moves are forced by the cards the player is dealt. In baccarat Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque, on the contrary, both players can make choices, which allow skill to play a part.
Try playing Baccarat
It is not that difficult to play Baccarat. This is actually a comparing card game played between two hands, the "player" and the "banker." The two hands are dealt and the player bets on one of the hands, either the player’s or the banker’s hand, which will gain the highest score.
While in American casinos, baccarat takes place against the house, in Chemin de Fer players compete against each other where one player acts as the player and the other as the banker. Each baccarat coup has three possible outcomes: "player" (player has the higher score), "banker," and "tie."
If you have never played it, perhaps you can give Baccarat a try at AskGamblers for free. Once you feel ready, head over to any of the casinos with that game and take a shot at playing for real money.