James Bond, one of the most beloved spies in the fictional world, has been portrayed by numerous actors on the screens. One of them is Daniel Craig, who portrayed the character in five movies. The first movie in which he embodied the character was Casino Royale, released in 2006 and starring Mads Mikkelsen in the role of the antagonist Le Chiffre.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Casino Royale | Source: Sony Pictures Releasing

The movie sees a couple of poker games and the final of these is a Texas hold ’em tournament between Bond and Chiffre, which Bond wins. On better analysis of what looks like just a high-stakes poker game, it becomes apparent that the scene holds much more significance than one would expect it to.

Final Poker Game Scene Between Daniel Craig and Mads Mikkelsen Showed James Bond’s Character Growth

mads mikkelsen and daniel craig in casino royale
A still from the poker game scene in Casino Royale | Source: Sony Pictures Releasing

Casino Royale follows James Bond as he achieves his 00 status and is tasked with bankrupting the terrorist financier Le Chiffre in a high-stakes poker game at Casino Royale in Montenegro. Bond’s deep bond with Vesper Lynd, the treasury agent assigned to provide the buy-in for the game, has a tragic ending. This turns him into a more guarded spy in the subsequent movies.

In the final poker game in the movie, the air is thick with tension as Chiffre, Bond, and two other high-stakes poker players are dealt the cards. The dealer’s cards are Ace of Spades, 8 of Hearts, 6 of Spades, 4 of Spades, and Ace of Hearts. While Chiffre has a full house: Aces over Sixes (3 Aces and 2 Sixes) and Bond has a straight flush, the other two guys have a spades flush and 8s full of Aces, respectively.

Chiffre’s Aces beat that of the other guys and Aces are known to be the strongest hands. This leads people to wonder what Bond possibly had that could defeat his nemesis. Bond has a 30-second staredown with Chiffre during which the spy’s face gives away nothing.

When Bond goes all-in, Chiffre is tricked into thinking that he is falling back into his old gambling habits. Much to the terrorist financier’s dismay, that does not seem to be the case at all when the spy reveals his cards to be a straight flush.

This shows that Bond, who is seen as someone impulsive and somewhat emotional throughout the story, has the capability of holding himself together in a tough situation and how it’s his gamesmanship (and not luck, as some might argue) that led to him baiting Chiffer into going all-in and losing. This shows Bon’s overall growth as a character.

Mads Mikkelsen Once Revealed Why The Hands Were Made Recognizable

Le Chiffre Casino Royale
Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale | Source: Sony Pictures Releasing

The poker game had to be designed in such a way that even non-poker players could understand while also keeping it believable. However, for those familiar with poker, the unbelievable part in that scene was the hands dealt, and Mads Mikkelsen justified those highly improbable hands.

Last year, in an interview with GQ in which he discussed his most iconic roles, Mikkelsen said:

The hands we are playing are insane, so if you’re a poker player, you’ll go, ‘What?’ We just wanted to make the nature of the betting believable, but the hands obviously had to be easily recognizable for an audience that doesn’t play poker, so they were quite crazy hands.

According to the Danish actor, another unbelievable thing about the whole scene is that while he grew up playing poker, Craig, who is portrayed as the best poker player of MI6 in the movie, did not know how to play poker at all.

Casino Royale is available for rent on Amazon Video.

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