Casino Royale: The Poker versus Baccarat Debate

Casino Royale: The Poker versus Baccarat Debate

So I rented Casino Royale, the new James Bond 007 movie.

If you haven’t seen this movie yet and you’re a James Bond fan, you have got to get your ass to Blockbuster, Netflix, or Hollywood Video and get your hands on this rental (you can pick it up widescreen, fullscreen, or Blu-Ray. Blu-Ray makes the movie look damn amazing). Think of it like a prequel, which it is, to the entire 007 franchise. It shows Bond getting his first kills as a ’00’ (double 0) agent and his “unsmoothness” which is weird as he’s such a smooth dude in the later novels.

James Bond poker scenes. Used to be bacarrat.So anyway, I had seen the flick at the movie theaters, loved it, so I rented it. The movie is based on the novel by Ian Fleming. It’s actually the first of 11 books that Fleming wrote for the 007 series.

Like in most James Bond movies and books, the card game of choice for Bond is baccarat (if you want more info on baccarat, check out our getting started with baccarat primer post). In the book version, he plays baccarat and a huge portion of the dialogue in the novel is an explanation of the rules and strategy of baccarat. But in Casino Royale, movie version, they play No-Limit Texas Hold’em poker.
At first I’m thinking, “Wait a second, that’s a total blaspheme on the Ian Fleming novel!” It’s clearly baccarat in the novels and movies – so what’s up with the poker? My first thought was that the movie producers really wanted to bank off the major poker explosion and appease casual James Bond movie fans. It got me kinda pissed cause man, I’ve always had this vision of Bond as a baccarat guy and this really threw me for a loop. Are the producers selling out on the Bond movie franchise by switching to poker? Is it all about the money and not the Ian Fleming original vision?

But then I started thinking about it. I read some great forum threads, blog posts, and articles on the subject. I talked it out with my bro and my buddies. And I can sort of see the view of the producers on the move. And I can think of a few reasons why they made the switch to poker:

Most people have absolutely no idea on how to play baccarat

It’s definitely not a knock on baccarat – I love the game, I love the vibe. It’s just a fact. In most areas around the world, poker (and blackjack to a lesser extent) is a hotter game. It’s more relevant right now. That’s not to say baccarat isn’t real popular is certain areas of the world. In fact, baccarat is huge in Asia casinos right now. But obviously James Bond is geared toward a North American audience, to those in the United States and Canada, and to English-speaking European countries, thus the poker.

Poker fits well into the scene in the movie

In Casino Royale, James Bond is betting the treasury on the game. It’s more realistic to accept the wagering of such a ginormous quantity of cash on a game like baccarat that’s pretty much purely based on basic strategy and luck. Meanwhile, poker is based on skill plus luck, thus more acceptable to accept the fact of the huge money wager.

Are we going to see poker in future James Bond movies?

Probably. And I don’t mind.

But do you think he might play other casino games? How about James Bond drinking his martini and playing bingo? Or how about 007 in an exhilarating game of keno?

Even though I associate James Bond with baccarat and martinis – well, I’m down to see how the series progresses with the move to poker.

Baccarat Discussion Forums

If you’re looking for a discussion forum to talk about baccarat with other baccarat players, then you should definitely check out the baccarat forums. There’s a vibrant community growing there – seeing as at the moment, it may be the only true baccarat discussion forum on the internet!