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For a James Bond movie that has come to be as revered as Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale has, there’s quite a bit of discussion to be had about how it frames the world of poker. With a professional casino director ripping into how the 007 reboot makes No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em into a more cinematic experience, you’d think the mistakes that this portion of director Martin Campbell’s film holds would be pretty laid bare. However, in a recent interview, Campbell admitted there’s another gaffe that always makes him laugh; and it has to do with a very generous tip on behalf of Mr. Bond.
Speaking with Polygon, Martin Campbell revealed a lot about what went into his second time directing a James Bond refresh, and a good portion of those details came from the poker game between Bond and his adversary, Le Chiffre. Everything from a proposed time lapse sequence that was eventually cut to the casting of actual casino inspector Andreas Daniel was divulged in this recent sit down. Which lead to Campbell showing his hand about just why Casino Royale’s big tipper moment is so funny:
I always laugh at the end when Bond just flips him half a million. It was just amusing to me — it’s not Bond’s money.
So, after an entire poker game where Daniel Craig’s rookie 00 agent rides a roller coaster of wins and losses against Mads Mikkelsen’s financial terrorist sees Bond come out on top, he casually flips the dealer $500,000 in the blink of an eye. Admittedly, it’s a Casino Royale moment that passes quickly, as the audience is still processing the fact that 007 has broken Le Chiffre, bankrupting his terrorist activities on behalf of the Quantum/SPECTRE organization. Looking at the stacks of plaques and chips that James Bond ends up walking away with, it doesn’t feel like half a million dollars is all that much in the grand scheme of things.
Then again, Casino Royale has an entire section that pins really high stakes on the money that not only Le Chiffre is putting on the table, but the funds that Her Majesty’s Treasury is staking Bond to get into the game. Plus, some of that money does belong to the CIA, as you’ll remember that Jeffrey Wright’s soon to return Felix Leiter is the one that gives James the money to buy back in, after his first crippling loss. Keeping those details in mind, you can see why Martin Campbell laughs at the moment, which occurs at the end of the scene shown below:
In the grand scheme of the story, even Martin Campbell admits that Casino Royale’s costly poker mistake has no bearing towards what happens. Bond tips his dealer generously, gets whipped around a little bit, and ultimately sets off on a quest of heartbroken vengeance just the same. However, it’ll be hard not to look at that moment after learning the facts behind it and have a bit of a laugh ourselves. You can get in on the unintentional laughs by watching Casino Royale, which is currently available for streaming on Netflix, Prime Video, and Hulu.