In Casino Royale, 007 ended up in a tough game of poker with incredibly high stakes. To make this poker match as realistic as possible Thomas Sanbrook was called in to be responsible for training the actors in casino strategy and behaviour around the table.
Did he succeed in doing this? Well, start by looking at the hand and we’ll analyze the play afterwards.
We are thrown into the action on the turn. Everybody checks and there is $24 million in the pot. The dealer reveals the river and the action begins. The board is now Ah-8s-6s-4s-As.
The first player to speak, the Asian guy with a pony tail, decides to push all in for a whopping $6 million. This is an incredibly bad play and he is obviously the sucker in this game. He only has a flush on a board with paired aces. All poker players know that if he will get called, it’s by a player with a better hand. And why on earth didn’t he protect his hand on the turn with a bet.
The next player has a full house and pushes all in. He can’t be sure about his hand, but folding would be too tight. He “only” has to put another $5 million into the pot with the chance of winning $30 million (1 to 6 Pot odds ). He has to call, but I would not look as comfortable as he does in that situation.
Then we come to the player portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen who sits on an even better full house with A-6 in the hole. He raises to $12 million and puts Mr. Bond to the test. He must feel that he has the best hand since only A-8 or two perfect cards for a straight flush beat him.
Player #4 – James Bond
Of course he has the straight flush. He pushes all in and takes down a pot exceeding $100 million. Remember that a pot of this size never has been pushed across a table in real-life casino gambling. Not even close.
The most puzzling thing about this hand is what happens before the turn. Something we unfortunately don’t get to see. The flop is great for all players, and superb for a couple. In a real game most chips would have been in the pot already on the flop, but not in Casino Royale.
This is what happens on the flop in a real poker game:
Player #1 has a flush draw and either bets out or checks with the intention of calling a normal-sized bet.
Player #2 has middle set, and with a potential flush draw on the board, he obviously is supposed to protect his hand. He either bets out, if he’s first in, or pushes all in if player #1 decided to bet.
Player #3, who has two pair, would probably have to fold – especially if player #2 is all in (why did he play A-6 off-suit in the first place?)
Then we have Mr. Bond. He has a straight-flush draw, and is not going anywhere with that hand. No matter what has happened before, he would move all in on the flop. But now they go to the turn with chips left in their stacks. And on the turn all players check! In my opinion, this is a high stakes game with very weak players. If I had the money to sit down against these players, I wouldn’t hesitate a moment.