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The Five Best Baccarat Movies of All Time

Posted on February 11, 2021 | 1:06 pm
the_five_best_baccarat_movies_of_all_time

Every online casino table game has its appeal, but none comes close to matching the elegance associated with baccarat.

There are good reasons for that fact!

A few decades ago, baccarat was reserved for high-rollers only. In the West, this game was so associated with James Bond that casinos embraced tuxedoes, evening gowns, and big bets as a kind of marketing strategy – right down to velvet ropes around the gaming area and croupiers wearing formalwear!

There was a business side to this as approach… since the game offers an extremely low house edge, casinos can’t hope to make much in the way of profits from smaller bettors. By targeting baccarat to players with larger bankrolls, the house could hope to earn as much money as possible

Fortunately, with the rise of mini-baccarat, that elitist approach to the game is on its way out.

As the most popular game in Macau casinos continues its meteoric rise in worldwide popularity, there’s no better time to get to know the game’s cinematic lore. Here are five titles every player should know:

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#1 – Dr. No

dr._noWhen it comes to elegance, glamour, and coolness under pressure, James Bond is in a class all his own. And from the very first, Bond was associated with baccarat.

That’s right…

…in the very first scene of 007’s 1962 cinematic debut, it’s not poker, roulette, or blackjack that the famed spy favors, but baccarat.

(To be precise, the exact variety he’s playing is called “Chemin de Fer.” It’s primarily found at USA casinos these days, if at anywhere at all!)

The young Sean Connery seems the dictionary definition of suave as he uses his gambling prowess to make contact with a gorgeous young woman.

It’s no exaggeration to claim that this scene is directly responsible for the high-roller reputation the game has carried in the West throughout the intermittent six decades. We can only hope that this is something the next Bond will keep in mind!

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#2 – the original Casino Royale

the_original_casino_royaleIn the 2006 Bond blockbuster of the same title, 007 brought his card skills to bear in the game of poker.

This was fitting for a time when poker was experiencing a massive boom in popularity…

…but in the 1967 original version, the star of Her Majesty’s Secret Service played baccarat.

Putting aside the astonishingly accomplished cast – Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, Orson Welles, David Niven, and the real life spy-turned-actress Mata Hari, as well as uncredited appearances by Peter O’Toole and a very young Anjelica Huston – this is a very weird Bond film indeed. It was billed as a comedy, and traffics in absurdities of every kind.

The gambling scene, however, is no joke!

In it, Bond (the one played by Sellers. There are six Bonds in this movie… just go with it.) outwits his arch-nemesis Le Chiffre (played by Wells) by keeping his cool and sticking to mathematical strategy, even after an unlucky turn. He trusts his strategy while tripling the stakes, winning handsomely by so doing.

Many players could profit by taking his example!

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#3 – A Hard Day's Night

a_hard_day's_nightIf Bond was the personification of English elegance and class, the Beatle’s served as a very different kind of British ambassadors. These scrappy, blue-collar kids from Liverpool drove the world’s youth into a frenzy that had precisely nothing to do with tuxedos, high-tech weapons, and martinis that were shaken (not stirred).

This 1964 movie helped cement their fame as upstart megastars. And there was some excellent baccarat thrown in as well!

The hip-ness of the Beatles is juxtaposed with the squareness of older generations in the form of Paul’s grandfather. In a classic comedic approach, the old man develops quite an affinity for baccarat, despite knowing nothing at all about the game. Not knowing the proper french terms, he tells the dealer: “soufflé,” and says “bingo” instead of “banco.”

Spoiler alert!

Despite his cluelessness (and considerable drunkenness), Paul’s granddad scores massive payday at the tables.

Somehow, this embodiment of the older working class generation becomes a countercultural agent by winning large sums of money from the black tie-wearing baccarat pros.

Despite its profound differences from the Bond films, A Hard Day’s Night demonstrates the association of baccarat with aristocratic culture.

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#4 – Rush Hour 3

rush_hour_3Did you know that Jackie Chan is a massive baccarat fan?

It’s true!

The Kung Fu master and long-time, international movie star adores playing the game on and off camera. And his affinity for the game is featured prominently in several of his films, including Rush Hour 3 and the 1993 classic City Hunter.

There’s a certain poetic justice to the appearance of baccarat in Western movies films courtesy of Mr. Chan, who was born in Hong Kong. Though baccarat has until recently been seen as a game reserved for the elite in Western gaming circles, it has been and remains ubiquitous in China, and Eastern Asia more generally.

As baccarat makes a glorious comeback in the West, it’s only fitting that that one of its most passionate proponents brings the game from its new home in the East.

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#5 – GoldenEye

golden_eyeThe most recent Bond film to feature baccarat was released all the way back in 1995, but it was already the 19th entry in the series, a testament to this franchise’s stunning record of success.

What’s amazing about watching this baccarat scene – in which Bond uses his suavity and gaming savvy to charm his way into the heart of the nefarious (and hilariously-named) Xenia Onatopp – is how it closely resembles that first scene from the 1962 Dr. No.

Once again, 007 is wearing a tuxedo, flirting with a beautiful stranger, and winning large sums of money without breaking a sweat.

It’s a winning formula for sure… and one we’re happy to watch again and again!

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