In the remake of the James Bond classic "Casino Royale," based on Ian Fleming's first James Bond novel, Daniel Craig's Bond is seen playing a high stakes game of Texas hold'em.
This touch was added in response to the current worldwide popularity of Texas hold'em, but in the original movie, Bond played Chemin De Fer – a variation of baccarat.
Why Bond Chose Baccarat
Baccarat is a game that was ideal for the high-class settings in which James Bond often found himself. It has long been considered the highest stakes game in any casino, and is often played in baccarat pits set off with velvet ropes and well-dressed staff not available to other casino players.
While any gambler could roll out of bed and sidle up to a slot machine, the tuxedoed gentleman was the expected player at the baccarat table.
Chemin De Fer – Thinking Man’s Baccarat
It is important to note that James Bond does not play traditional baccarat, which requires no skill and has little drama, but rather a variation called Chemin De Fer.
One of the most important distinctions between the two is that in baccarat, all the player's decisions are made for him. The objective in baccarat is to get the closest to nine, and there are standard rules about when a player or the banker must take a card or stand in order to achieve this goal.
All that is required for the player is that he bet on whether the player’s hand or the banker's hand will win.
In Chemin De Fer, the player actually gets to make his own decisions, and can also choose to be the bank.
These elements provide for some much tenser moments between players at the baccarat table, and allowed the creation of some of those classic moments that James Bond is so famous for having.