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Baccarat and Bond: What are the Best 007 Casino Scenes?

No Time To Die

Feature by Jack Foley

JAMES Bond is synonymous with casinos. Everything about the debonair spy is linked to the thrill and excitement of a high stakes game.

The character of Bond lives life on a knife edge and the best way we can recreate the tension is when playing something that sets our heart beating. With 2020’s No Time to Die likely to be Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond 007, many Bond fans are reflecting on the journey the soft reboot has gone through.

Craig blustered onto screen in 2006’s Casino Royale and changed the formula for the Bond film in the digital age. The film was predominantly set in the Montenegro casino, giving us plenty of card action with a long game of poker. But what other games has 007 played over the 50+ years?


Sean Connery’s ‘Bond, James Bond,’ introduction was amid a game of baccarat chemin de fer at the Les Ambassadeurs Club in 1962’s Dr No. This helped set the tone for Bond and his love of casinos and high tension. Connery faced off against villainous Emilio Largo in 1965’s Thunderball with another game of baccarat and referenced the word ‘spectre’ to show to Largo that he knew he was part of the criminal organisation.

George Lazenby’s single outing as Bond in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service saw him playing baccarat again, this time to attract the attention of the future Mrs Bond.

Roger Moore’s Bond visited the casino a few times, including during For Your Eyes Only (1981)’s baccarat scene where Bond catches the attention of a woman he believes has information. Pierce Brosnan played baccarat again in 1995’s Goldeneye against aptly named villain Xenia Onatopp. The original Casino Royale book featured the scenes at the casino as baccarat scenes, which were changed to Texas Hold ‘Em poker for the film.

It seems that playing baccarat is a rite of passage for Bond, likely started by the introductory scene in Dr No. Baccarat is an easy game to learn, but more difficult to master. It takes equal measures of skill and luck, which could describe how Bond manages to get out of most of the deadly encounters he faces.

Other Table Games

1971’s Diamonds Are Forever was partly set in Las Vegas, so it makes sense that Bond has a casino scene here. Rather than face off with the villain, the scenes in Vegas provided some lighter relief in the film and provided a backdrop as Bond tried to track down some diamonds.

1983’s Octopussy featured a backgammon scene, where Bond plays against the villain and antagonises his henchman into crushing the dice with his bare hands. While Timothy Dalton’s second and final Bond film, Licence to Kill (1989) saw him drop a large amount of money during a game of blackjack in the villain’s casino in order to catch his attention.

The original Moonraker book saw Bond playing bridge, while Raymond Benson’s novel Zero Minus Ten saw him playing Mah Jong and John Benson’s Role of Honour had Bond at the roulette table. Indeed, if No Time to Die is to feature a casino scene, it would make sense that it is roulette, one of the few games 007 hasn’t been shown playing.

The beauty of online roulette allows you to feel the tension that Bond might feel during a casino scene. Live roulette especially adds extra excitement to reflect what Bond might have been feeling. The theme song for Casino Royale even compares Bond’s life to a ‘spin of the wheel’, which is an apt metaphor.

James Bond has had an illustrious history with the casino and often these scenes serve to introduce Bond to the villain and allow them to have an antagonistic interchange. Other times, he has used the casino to find information or to make his presence known. It would be fitting if >I>No Time to Die had a casino scene in it, to bookend Daniel Craig’s contracted journey as James Bond.