Sean Connery wasn’t always the martini loving, suited and booted, globe trotting spy with a penchant for high stakes baccarat and roulette. He grew up in the working class areas of Edinburgh – he was the eldest of two brothers and worked hard at manual jobs to support the family.
Connery had a few successes at the table in the real world too. His most famous visit to the table was in 1963 at the Casino de la Vallee in Saint-Vincent, Italy, where he bet and won on the number 17 for 3 spins in a row with roulette odds of 37-to-1 and a payout of 35:1, leaving the table $27,000 up. Not bad for 3 spins.
How did he make his bets?
A single bet on the number 17. It didn’t come in. He repeated the bet- he lost again. So he bet on the same number again (persistent, aren’t you Mr Bond?). This time, it came in, and he let his bet ride. It hit again. He let the money stay on the table for another spin, and the number came in again.
Three times in a row on the number seventeen. Now that is lucky. (The odds? 1:50653). Connery scooped up his winnings which came to around seventeen million lire which was more than £10,000 at the time (over £160,000 in today’s money).
So 17 was his favourite number (interestingly, Mike Ashley also has has some luck playig this number). Sean Connery hit it again in 1971, but this time he was playing James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever.
It was on the set of the first James Bond film, Dr No, that Connery got his first taste of playing with high rollers: producers Harry Saltzman and Albert Broccoli.
You know, the classic starring Ursula Andress wearing THAT bikini (pretty racy in 1962.)
They were famous for their big betting style in 1962, frequenting a casino on Curzon Street in London- the famous and exclusive Crockfords.
It can’t have been easy for the aspiring young actor to keep up whith these high rollers, but I am sure he just took it in his stride.
Sean Connery as James Bond Playing Baccarat in Dr No.