The Bond Film we Love!
Casino Royale was a ‘reboot’ of the James Bond film franchise which many people thought had long since descended into self-parody. This new film was intended to inject a modern, harder, more realistic edge, and one of the ways they did this was by replacing the card game at the centre of the novel, Chemin de Fer, with the thoroughly up to date Texas Hold’Em variant of poker.
Chemin de Fer was the most popular high-stakes casino table game in the time that the novel was written, but by the time the film arrived over half a decade later, Texas Hold’Em was the undisputed king of high stakes games, featuring fast and furious gameplay filled with tension and fun – an ideal match for the all-action Bond movies.
Much of the film’s action and plot revolves around the poker table, where Bond is seen playing with stakes of up to $12m and eventually winning a pot of $115m – this shows that the makers hadn’t entirely left behind the Bond penchant for hyperbole, considering that the largest recorded pot in a Texas Hold’Em game at the time stood at a ‘mere’ $600,000. The poker scenes took a total of nine days to film, and if you can ignore the exaggerations and poetic licence with rules and strategy, it’s generally accepted that the film captures the tension and atmosphere of high stakes poker very well.
Interestingly, at one stage a hand containing a pair of eights is shown, and is referred to as an Octopussy, a clear nod to an earlier book and film in the Bond canon.