When not shooting up foreign embassies, necking martinis or ‘liaising’ with female agents (all night long) 007 is well-known for his killer casino prowess.
This is hardly surprising when you consider that Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, was a feared baccarat shark who fleeced enemy officers as an undercover agent during the Second World War.
There are so many awesome casino gems to choose from in the Bond franchise, whittling them down to five was tough. Reliving these moments certainly left me shaken; hopefully I won’t stir up too controversy with my definitive list of James Bond’s top casino moments. Spoiler warning!
5) The Legend Begins – Dr No (1962)
Fittingly, the very first line of the very first Bond flick is uttered inside a casino; specifically, a swanky joint in Monte Carlo.
In the opening scene of Dr No, Bond and a gaggle of high-society whales sit down to a round of Punto Banco baccarat (a favourite of Fleming’s). Sparring with icy beauty Sylvia Tench, Bond praises her daring play. She returns the compliment…
“I admire your luck, Mr…?”
The camera flicks around for a close-up as Sean Connery lights up a cigarette and replies with the cool swagger of a man who is guaranteed to hit that later: “Bond. James Bond.”
Cue theme music.
And just like that, an icon is born.
4) A Simple Game – GoldenEye (1995)
The less said about the Peirce Brosnan Bond-era, the better. Still, Brosnan’s debut boasts one very suave casino scene.
Once again, we find Mr Bond at the baccarat tables, where he encounters Xenia Onatopp; a foxy Russian agent who is stacking some serious paper at Punto Banco.
As the two players lock horns, their interactions range from flirtatious to aggressive, culminating in an exchange so dripping with sexual innuendo it probably got the entire front row pregnant during the premier.
3) Dragon’s Lair – Skyfall (2012)
A welcome return to form after the damp squid that was Quantum of Solace, the latest Bond instalment was also the first to represent the Asian casino craze in all its opulent glory.
After intercepting an enemy agent, Bond nabs a special chip that leads him to a casino in Macau (all fireworks, lanterns and backless dresses.) Bond eventually cashes in his chip and receives a mysterious package meant for the enemy agent, altering security in the process.
With the help of his protégée, Moneypenny, Bond bests his attackers, who end up on the wrong side of a couple of hungry Komodo dragons. I guess somebody ordered a little Chinese, eh?
2) Bond Craps, Girls Swoon – Diamonds are Forever (1971)
It’s arguable that Sean Connery is still the finest actor ever to fill 007’s dress shoes and Diamonds are Forever remains one of his finest outings.
In this sequence, Bond teams up with Plenty O’Toole (“named after your father perhaps?”) to take on the Circus Circus casino in Las Vegas. After casually raking in $60,000 at craps, Bond tips the dealer ten dimes and buys entry to Plenty’s underwear with another $5,000.
That still leaves. a $45,000 contribution to her majesty’s coffers (the equivalent of $250,000 today). Not bad for a night’s work
1) The Killer Hand – Casino Royale (2006)
To be honest, the entirety of Daniel Craig’s 007 debut could top this list.
The high-stakes poker tournament in Casino Royale represents a master-class of direction, with tension stacking as Bond faces off against terrorist banker, Le Chiffre, in a deadly game where poisoning is considered a positive play.
However, this last hand is a superb climax, with Bond and his foe staking $150 million on a single hand. That’s a hell of a pot, but the look on Le Chiffre’s face when Bond reveals a straight flush? Priceless.
Caught the gambling movie bug? Check out our great list of the 10 best gambling movies ever!
Originally published on 23/04/2014, updated on 14/06/2017.