James Bond is an expert card player and gambler and the books Casino Royale and Moonraker both feature gripping card scenes. Casino Royale features Bond playing high stakes against a SMERSH operative at the Baccarat tables in a plot to bankrupt him.
When it came to the 2006 film, baccarat was substituted with Texas Hold’em poker thanks to the increasing popularity of the game. Bond plays a thrilling high stakes game against Le Chiffre with some big hands in the final show-down.
In Moonraker Bond has been asked by M to investigate, in a private capacity, a prominent member of M’s club who is suspected of cheating at bridge. Before meeting M at the club, Bond picks up his copy of Scarne On Cards, a guide to cheating, and practices The Mechanic’s Grip, Palming and Nullifying the Cut.
In addition to Baccarat and Bridge, James Bond plays Roulette. In Casino Royale he played complicated progression systems on the even chances while getting his hand in at the tables and in Thrilling Cities, Fleming gives the reader what he believed to be “the only way of gambling with a capital of ten pounds with a reasonable prospect of making the price of a good dinner”. Bear in mind that this was first published in 1963, so inflation has taken hold since being written. The method that Fleming describes is known as the Labouchère system and is as follows:
Change your money into chips of the value of the minimum stake – you need a hundred or so chips. Sit down next to the table opposite the red or black even chance and take out a card on which you write the numbers 1 to 5 down the page. Your first bet, placed on the big red diamond, is the sum of the top and bottom figures on your card – 5 plus 1 equals six chips. If you win, cross out the 5 and the 1 on the card and then bet the sum of the next two top and bottom numbers – 4 plus 2.
However, each time you lose, write the amount of your loss at the bottom of your column. Your next bet is the sum of the top and bottom numbers not scratched out on your card. When all the numbers are scratched out your win will amount to the sum of all the numbers in your original five figure column, or worth fifteen chips.
At this point you should walk out of the casino.