Martin Campbell, director of the 2006 James Bond reboot Casino Royale, admitted there is a mistake in the film’s climactic poker scene. This was the third film adaptation of Ian Fleming’s book of the same name and was the first to see Daniel Craig in the role of James Bond, showing a more modernized, emotional side of the 007 agent early in his career. This was also the second 007 film that Campbell directed, following 1995’s Goldeneye that featured Pierce Brosnan as Bond.
Casino Royale is a different kind of Bond film, focusing less on giant set pieces and action sequences and more on building tension and character arcs during a game of Texas hold ’em, sometimes solely through facial expressions. However, some staples of the long-running franchise still remain, like the continued use of femme fatales called “Bond Girls” (the main one this time being Eva Green as Vesper Lynd) and the always entertaining car chases that Bond finds himself in. And Casino Royale still delivers a delicious shaken, not stirred, martini.
In an interview with Polygon, director Martin Campbell revealed that there is a mistake in the film’s climactic poker scene when Bond faces off against Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) and wins with a silent and unassuming straight flush. The mistake, according to Campbell, is a simple one, and it occurs when Bond tips the poker dealer $500,000:
“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.”
In the film, Bond joins the poker game in order to beat terrorist money-man Le Chiffre and is originally given $10 million to buy into the game by the British Government. He loses this money on purpose to learn his opponent’s “tell,” which is a change in a person’s behavior that could give away if their cards are good or bad. Another player, CIA agent Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), then lends Bond another $5 million to buy back into the game. After winning the final pot of $115 million, which didn’t belong to him and never will, Bond gifts a lump sum of money to the table’s dealer as a tip. This is a kind act and normally seen at gambling tables but the likelihood of a government agent actually tipping someone half a million is slim to none.
Campbell is actually quite pleased with Casino Royale’s mistake; he says he laughs every time he watches that scene because it doesn’t actually matter in the context of the story and isn’t actually a continuity error. Compared to some previous depictions of Bond as an over-the-top and unrealistic fighter of Communism, this moment seems to be just a little bit of heightened realism to make audiences more invested in this new iteration of Bond, showing that he couldn’t care less about the money and whether or not it was his to give away—he cares more about catching the bad guy instead.