Casino Royale and the Bad Poker

Since the new James Bond film is out, it seems like SyFy is showing Casino Royale like everyday. I watched it again the other day and was reminded of one of Gideon’s major complaints about the film: the final poker hand. Gideon hated that Bond was still in the hand. A good poker player would not have been chasing a straight flush draw. That always made me laugh, but I always just assumed that Bond must have been one of the blinds and probably flopped the straight flush. Casino_Royale_(116)After watching it again, I realized that was not the case. Plus, we do not really see too much of the actual play of the hand. We really can assume that there was not much pre-flop betting since the hole cards were not that ridiculous. Allow me to break this down for a second, then I will actually defend Bond’s play.

Asian Guy (AG): King Spade, Queen Spade
Black Guy (BG): 8 Heart, 8 Club
Le Chiffre: Ace Club, 6 Heart
Bond: 5 Spade, 7 Spade

We do not see the flop, instead we pick up at the turn. However, from the lay of the cards, it looks like the flop was Ace Heart, 8 Spade, 6 Spade. Again, it seems like the betting was minimal. BG might have been slow playing, hoping someone would lay out a bet that he could raise. Le Chiffre is figuring his two pair are tops at the moment, so he probably checks. Without a bet though, AG and Bond can stay in and hope for another spade.

The turn is the 4 Spade and this is where things get a little interesting. AG should have been making a bet. Instead, we get another round of checking, which benefits everyone else. The river comes and we get an Ace of Spades. AG is excited because he knows he has the highest possible flush. But, when there is a pair on the board, a guy with a flush has to be weary of someone with a full house. Especially since no one was doing any betting, that could definitely be an option. Instead, he goes all in thinking he is the king shit.

BG has every right to be excited, he has the full house. He calls and raises. Here is the weird part though. Le Chiffre has Aces and 6’s. He does not know if someone is sitting on Aces & 8’s. He goes all in with his actual life on the line. Seems pretty crazy and risky.

Now the thing Gideon and I always joked about is how Bond should not have been in there with his 5&7 of spades. However, I noticed something while watching it again. Bond’s chip stack. He was sitting at like 60 million (or something like that). No one was even close. If he loses the hand to Le Chiffre, they would be close to even. So for Bond, staying in on the hand (especially when no one is betting) actually made a good bit of sense.

It is definitely one of those movie poker scenes that is set up for dramatic effect. When poker players see it, they shake their heads and go “hey, that would never happen if they were as good as the movie claims.” Le Chiffre is supposed to be a mathematical genius and yet he does not seem to consider the fact that there are better hands than his.