Baccarat is often considered to be the game of choice for James Bond. This is the game that 007 favoured in the Ian Fleming novels and it's also the game that he played in several film adaptations, including the 1953 film Casino Royale, which was actually the first time we saw this British Secret Agent on the Silver Screen.

In 2006, Baccarat was replaced by Texas Hold'em to capitalise on a rising trend in this classic poker game, but if we stay true to the James Bond universe then it’s all about Baccarat.

Although it was populated by one of the most famous fictional action stars of all time, this game is 100% real and it’s played across offline and online casinos the world over. It’s a game that’s easy to learn and a game that can be played at varying stake levels, from just a few cents or dollars a hand, all the way up to the stacks of cash that James and friends played with.

what was the card game played by James Bond


Following the Trends

As mentioned above, the 2006 version of Casino Royale substituted the game of Baccarat with No limit Texas Hold'em Poker. Simply put, the game of Hold'em was huge in the first decade of the new millennium and the filmmakers wanted a movie that better reflected the modern world. They are traditionalists at heart, but they are also keen to move with the times and to adapt where possible, and this change was reflective of that.

Of course, it’s just a small change, but it’s one that still went against the grain and annoyed a lot of traditionalists.

In the film, 007 played the game against the villain of the movie, Le Chiffre, played by the enigmatic Mads Mikkelsen, a man made to play the villain. In French, his name means “The Number” or “The Cypher” and while Bond things he has him figured out after realising that Chiffre has a tell, this ultimately turns out to be a ploy.

Baccarat also featured in the films Goldeneye Thunderball. However, for the most in-depth view of the game we have to look to Casino Royale again. This time, however, we go back to 1967, long before Texas Hold’em was the global powerhouse that it is today and at a time when Baccarat was still big enough to take centre stage.

This is a great film to watch if you’re a Baccarat fan or if you want to learn the game. If you’ve already seen it and you’re a big fan of the game, you may notice a few inconsistencies in how they play the game compared to how modern online and offline casinos structure the game. This is because the variant played by James Bond is different to the one you’ll find being played throughout European and North American casinos.

Variant of Baccarat Played by James Bond

James Bond favours a version of Baccarat known as chemin-de-fer, which roughly translates as “railway”. It remains the most popular variant of Baccarat played in France, but elsewhere it’s all about Punto Banco, which translates as “Player Banker” from Spanish.

The rules are similar, but it’s generally seen as more of a game to be played in a player-vs-player as opposed to Player-vs-Dealer format. As a result, it was always going to be better suited for James Bond to beat his enemies and win the big bucks. After all, he was competing against billionaire business moguls and not the casinos.

Although, a version of 007 where James Bond battles evil casino corporations would certainly make for an interesting addition to the franchise.

Playing VR Baccarat

Baccarat is the game that James Bond played in Casino Royale

Already many of the top internet casinos offer live games. These are a special kind of casino game that is played in a live set-up with a real croupier and other opponents. All the action happens in real time and you can get a feel for what it's like to play in a real casino. The only difference is that you don't need to leave the comfort of your home to play. You can even try your hand at games of Baccarat, living those 007 dreams as you compete against the dealer.

Read our guide on live dealer casino games to learn more. This will tell you all that you need to know and give you the upper hand the next time you sit down at a live casino table. And if you thought that live casino games were excited, wait until you see what virtual reality has to offer.

There is a lot of work being done to perfect the Virtual Reality experience and ensure it works perfectly with the live casino setup. At the very same time, online casino game developers are working frantically to make sure that they have VR games ready soon. Therefore we are now only months, not years, away from playing VR baccarat. Who knows even James Bond might join the table for a hand or two!