Few laypeople are aware, but globally, at the moment, baccarat is the most profitable casino game. It boasts a super low house edge of 2%, and it appeals to Asia’s high-rollers, who favor it over any other gaming option by a sizable margin. They loved it so much that it generated revenues up to $15 billion per year in Macau alone.
Still, the reality is that the Western World is not as besotted with this card game, which historians claim derives from 15th century France, at a time during the reign of Charles VIII. Thus, despite online baccarat games being somewhat popular, this gambling pick is not ingrained in the mainstream culture like blackjack or roulette. Hence, few movies feature it as a focal point or something essential to its plot. So, it is not so easy to rattle off a list of baccarat movies as there are pretty much none. That is why, below, we will mainly highlight films that incorporate this game in one or more of their scenes, adding a touch of gaming flavor to their silver screen magic.
The Baccarat Machine
Here is an exception to the rule of thumb outlined above. The Baccarat Machine is an upcoming movie starring the multi-talented comedian Awkwafina, best known for her Comedy Central show Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens. Awkwafina, the actual name Nora Lum, drew the public’s attention via her supporting roles in Crazy Rich Asians and the Farewell, for which she won a golden globe. The Baccarat Machine, written by Andy Bellin, will tell the real-life story of Cheung Yin Sun. That is a Chinese-born professional gambler who teamed up with famous poker player Phil Ivey in the early 2010s, as this duo managed to beat casinos in the UK and US for millions at baccarat tables utilizing an illegal technique called edge sorting. SG Global will produce and finance The Baccarat Machine, with help from Jeffery Sharp of Independent Pictures. Right now, there is no release date penciled in for the film, but expect it to hit theaters and streaming services in early-2023.
Those that are hard-core fans of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel know that the world’s most renowned fictional secret agent is a prolific gambler who most fancies playing a hand of baccarat above anything else. Legend has it that playing at local casinos helped Fleming invent his suave spy. While the modern movies do not concentrate much on Bond’s baccarat prowess, the first time this character showed up on the big screen, in 1967’s Casino Royale, the game was an important plot point. In that adaptation of Fleming’s first Bond book, Peter Sellers plays Evelyn Tremble/James Bond, a baccarat master set to challenge the evil Le Chiffre, an agent for the SMERSH organization, played by Orson Wells, at Casino Royale. The movie is a spoof parody that does not impress but has some comedic charm.
A Hard Day’s Night
Undoubtedly, the Beatles were one of the most culturally impactful musicians of the 1960s. They broke countless attendance and sale records and enjoyed a societal status unprecedented for bands up to that point. They quickly rose to become the best-selling group in history, at the height of their popularity, expanding their brand by creating movies that revolved around them. The first of these was A Hard Day’s Night, which came out in 1964, directed by Richard Lester, and distributed by United Artist. The movie shows a day in the life of the Beatles as they prepare for a big TV appearance. Baccarat gets prominently featured in A Hard Day’s Night. In a funny scene occurring at the Le Cercle Club, a classy gaming establishment, the character of Granddad McCartney, played by actor Wilfred Brambell, keeps yelling out Bingo instead of Banco (banker) when at the baccarat table, gambling. He gets forced to speak French, which he does not know, because that is the venue’s default language, as all of its staff use it.
Rush Hour 3
Even though Rumble in the Bronx was Jackie Chan’s first massive US production, in the modern Chan era, the first Rush Hour movie is the one that made him into a star in North America. It got released in 1998, and thanks to the on-screen chemistry Chan had with American comedian Chris Tucker, the movie was a surprise hit, grossing $244 million at the global box office. The sequel, which arrived four years later, did even better, generating $347 million in ticket sales, while the third was the least successful of the franchise, accumulating $258 million on a $125 million budget. Tucker’s fast-talking detective character Carter plays baccarat in a casino in the third film in the series. Though, he is not very good at it, confusing its rules with those from blackjack.
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