Baccarat Tutorial, History, Strategy, Rules and Odds

What is Baccarat?

It is a card game that is played by gamblers at land-based and online casinos. The game has many variants but there are three variants that are most commonly played. These versions are Punto Banco (also referred to as North American Baccarat), Baccarat Banquet (also referred to as à deux tableaux) and Baccarat Chemnin de fer.

The first version, Punto Bunco is a game of luck as there is no strategy or skill involved in the game. The decisions and moves that players will make are strictly controlled by the cards that are dealt. On the other hand, Baccarat Chemnin de fer and Baccarat Banque enables players to take choices and decisions that can affect the game play, therefore, there is skill and strategy involved. Despite that, the odds are in the casinos or the bank’s favor as the house edge is not lower than one percent.

Baccarat revolves around the concept of comparing between two different hands, the hand of the player and the hand of the dealer or the banker. Each round has 3 possible outcomes. The player can win, the dealer or the banker can win or it can end with a tie.

The History of Baccarat

The name “Baccarat” is an Italian word that means “Zero” in the English language. Others say that the origin of Baccarat was France and not Italy since the world Baccarat in French has the same meaning. This means that the game is one of the oldest games. The first documentation that mentioned the game dates back to the 1400s. It is believed to have been invented in Italy and then it appeared in France. The name “Baccarat” as mentioned, means Zero, this is because in the game of Baccarat, tens, kings, queens and jacks have zero value. It is also because some hands can have the value of a zero. For example, a hand that consists of a three and a seven is equal a ten which is equal a zero, so it is called baccarat.

Although the game appeared in the 1400s, it took the game more than five-hundred years to emerge as a premier casino game in the continent of Europe. In the 1900s, the game was popular among the royal class of France. In this era, there was more than one version of baccarat. The most commonly played version in France was the Chemin de Fer version. In England, another version was popular, the Punto Banco baccarat. Now, Punto Banco is the most popular version in the States as it made its way from England through South America.

There was a third version that was also quite as popular, it was called baccarat banquet. These versions use the same rules and guidelines but they differ greatly in the manner of dealing the cards. The version that is commonly played in the US, punto banco, also called mini baccarat, the dealer deals all the cards and then the gamblers would bet on an outcome, and as mentioned, there are 3 possible outcomes for any game.

Punto Banco

Punto Banco can be found in all major casinos in Canada, Finland, Sweden, and The United States and in Macau. In this Baccarat version, players will be able to place a bet on 1 of 2 hands. They can bet on the hand of the dealer or the hand of the banker.

The procedure of the game starts as the dealer deals two cards facing down to the 2 hands. The 2 hands are then revealed and the banker and the player can ask for another card or they can choose to stand. The hand with the highest hand total will win. If one of the hands has a total of eight to nine points, the hand can’t ask for another card. This hand is called a “natural” hand.

If both hands have not achieved a natural hand, then the tableau is consulted for the player’s rule then the banker’s rule. According to that, if the initial hand of the player totals between zero and five, he will be able to draw 1 card. If the initial hand of the player total is equal six or seven, then the player will have to stand.
If the player did not draw one more card, the banker hand will draw one card if the initial banker hand totals between zero and five and he is going to stand if the initial hand totaled six or seven.

* If the player gets a two or a three, the banker is going to draw if his hand totals between zero and four and is going to stand if the hand totals between five and seven.

* If the player gets a four or a five, the banker is going to draw if his hand totals between zero and five and he is going to stand if the hand total is equal six or seven.

* If the player gets a six or a seven, the banker is going to draw if his hand totals between zero and six and is going to stand if the hand total is equal seven.

* If the player gets an eight, the banker is going to draw if his hand totals between zero and two and is going to stand if the hand total is between three and seven.

* If the player gets an ace, a nine, a ten or any face card, the banker is going to draw if his hand total is between zero and three and is going to stand if the hand totals between four and seven.

The dealer will deal the card according to these rules and will announce the winner, whether the banker or the player. Most casinos will pay one to one to the player and 95% to the banker while the house gets 5% in commission. Other casinos pay one to one for both, the banker and the player except if the banker is the winner by a six.
If the banker is the winner by a six, he will get paid fifty percent or ½ of the initial wager. In this situation, the edge of the house on the tie and the player wagers are equal. If the player’s hand and the banker’s hand have the same value, the dealer or the croupier is going to announce Egalite, which means equality. The best tie wagers will win. The tie wagers pay eight to one and the wagers that are made on the banker or the player will still be the same for the upcoming round. There are casinos that would allow players to change or withdraw their wagers.

This game is played on a table that has an oval shape. There is a croupier who runs the game and he is accompanied by 2 dealers who pay off the wagers and collect them while they take the commission. The game is played with 6 or eight decks of cards. The decks get shuffled by the dealers and the croupier. The cards are then placed in a container that is entitled “The Shoe” which is moved from one player to another. The player who has the card container or the shoe is the banker while the other is the player. The player who has the shoe has the ability to bet on his own hand. The croupier will aid the banker and tell him when he must deal a 3rd card and also announcing the winning hands.
In Atlantic City and Vegas casinos, baccarat tables are usually located in special rooms that are designed for baccarat because baccarat is a high stakes game. Players can place tens of thousands on a single hand of baccarat. Kerry Packer, the Australian multimillionaire was known for his high stakes on baccarat. Minimum bets at baccarat tables’ start from £25 up to £500 and the maximum bet can reach as high as £10,000 per baccarat hand.

Chemin de Fer

Chemis de Fer is considered as the original baccarat version that originated in France. The name of the game resulted from the iron case where the cards were being stored as Chemis de Fer translates to Iron road.
This game uses 6 card decks that are shuffled together. The players who are participating in the game are seated in any order around a table that has an oval shape. The discarded cards usually go to the middle of the table.
The game starts with the player who is seated at the right side of the croupier and the game continues in a counterclockwise direction. In the beginning of the game, the croupier and the players shuffle all of the cards in the order of the play then the croupier will shuffle it one last time and the player who is seated on his left side will cut the deck.

As the game starts, one of the players will be the banker. This player is going to deal the cards while the other players will be the punters. The banker’s position is passed in the same order of the play, counterclockwise. Each round, the banker is the person who will place the bet he wants to wager and the punters will decide whether they will play against the entire wager that is set forth by the banker. Only one player would “go bank”. If no players do that, punters will start to place their wagers in the same order. If the total wager that is placed by the punters is less than the banker’s wager, then the punters who are observing may place wagers to amount up to the wager of the banker. On the other hand, if the total wager of the punters is more than the banker’s wager, the banker may choose to raise the wager or remove the excess wagers in reverse play order.

The banker then deals four cards that are facing down. Two to him and the other two are shared in common by the punters at the table. The player that has the highest individual bet is going to represent the group of punters who are playing against the banker.

Both, the banker and the player who is representing the punters will check their cards. If any one of them has a hand total of 8 or 9, they will announce it and the hands will be turned and the winner will be declared after they are compared. If not, the player can choose if he wants a 3rd card or no. If he accepts the 3rd card, this card will be dealt facing up. According to simple mathematics equations, players should always take one card if the hand’s total is between zero and four and not to accept a card if the hand total is equal six or seven.
When the player decides whether he wants to take the card or no, the banker will be faced with the same choice and he will decide whether he wants a 3rd card or no. after the banker and the player take their decisions, the cards will be turned and the winner will be declared.

If the hand of the player is higher than the hand of the banker, each punter will get his wager back and it will be matched with the casino. Then the position and the role of the banker will be passed on to the following player. On the other hand, if the hand of the banker is higher than the hand of the player, all of the wagers are forfeit and they will be put in the bank. Also, the role of the banker will not change and the same player will be the banker for another round. If the 2 hands are equal (a tie), the wagers stay the same and the banker will stay for another round.
If the banker wants to withdraw, the 1st player in the order of play who is going to stake an amount that is equal to the amount of the bank total will become the banker. If no players wish to stake the same amount, the next player in the order of the play will automatically be the banker.
 

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