Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games played with thousands of casinos allowing players to enjoy the game. Although its rules may vary from one country to the other, the rules are fairly simple.
There are 3 different types of Baccarat: North American Baccarat, Chemmy, and Baccarat Banque. The baccarat basic concept is for two people to compare cards and see which one has the higher total. Although it sounds too simple, it is a lot of fun and there are many different ways to increase the score which is where all the fun is.
Punto Banco is one of those games that depend on your luck, not your skill that is going to help you win. The game does not need any skill to be played and anyone can start playing and win right away. You get some cards, and you either win or you lose, no skills whatsoever.
Baccarat chemin de fer is more like a game of strategy and thought. Each player must make a list of decisions that would decide the final outcome of the game.
Baccarat Banque is like Baccarat chemin de fer in the matter that it requires strategy in order for the player to win. The player plays the bank which always has an advantage over the player. Although the advantage isn’t big, it still makes a difference in deciding who wins the game.
Basics Of Baccarat
Baccarat is a game where the player is betting against the bank in every turn. The player must compare his cards with the banker’s card on every turn and try to beat the banker. There are 3 outcomes to the game-ending: The player winning, the banker winning, or a tie between the player and the banker.
The word Baccarat itself is a French derivative of the Italian Baccarat, which is the same game but its true name. The French decided in 1490 to create their own version of the game for their people’s amusement.
Baccarat Hand Valuations
Baccarat hand valuations can be tricky but once you get them, it’s very simple. The cards used in Baccarat each have their own objective:
- Cards 2-9 are worth what the number on the card is worth. Each card has a value that is going to be added to the other cards in your hand. When you get dealt two cards for example A 2 of hearts and a 3 of spades, you are going to add the 2 and 3 up and get 5 which is your score. If you get a 5 of hearts and a 9 of clubs, although your total would be 14, your score would only be 4. That is how it always works with additions in Baccarat. The numbers only reach 9 then reset back to 0.
- The 10’s, J’s, Q’s, and K’s have no value whatsoever. They are all worth 0 if you get them in your hand.
- Aces are worth one point only. If an ace shows up in your hand, add its 1 point value with the other card's value to get your score.
The highest score a player or the banker can get is 9, and the two each get two cards and try to get a higher score than the other person.
Baccarat is played in casinos around the world, including in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Finland, and Macau.
These casinos mostly use the Punto Banco version of Baccarat. Despite this, most of the time, you will just see the game labeled “Baccarat” in casinos. In the Punto Banco version of Baccarat, the casino will bank the game all the time and they commit to playing both hands using strict drawing rules. These rules are known as “tableau”.
This French for “board”. Some countries actually use this word for this version of the game. This is compared to older Baccarat casino games where individuals make the drawing choices, not the casinos. “Punto” means player and “Banco” means banker.
These represent the two hands that are dealt out in each coup or the two outcomes that the bettor can back. The player and the banker do not represent the gambler and the house.
Punto Banco deals from a shoe that contains 4, 6, or 8 decks of cards that are shuffled together. A cut card is a yellow piece of plastic and is the same size as a normal card. This is used in shuffling and is in front of the 7th to last card. If the cut card is drawn, this is the last coup of the shoe. In each coup, two face-up cards are dealt.
It will start with the “player” and alternate between each hand. The croupier is the one that calls the total. If either the player or banker gets a total of 8 or 9, the coup is completed and the results are given out. The results are either Player win, Banker win, or a tie.
If this is not the case, the drawing rules, mentioned above, are used to determine whether the player should be dealt a third card. Whatever the value of the third card is then the drawing rules are used to determine whether the Banker should be dealt a third card. After this, the coup is completed, the results are given out, and the winnings are paid.
Drawing Rules (“tableau”)
If the Player or the Banker does not receive a total of 8 or 9 in the first two cards, the drawing rules are used for the Player and then the Banker.
If the Player first has a total of 0 through 5, a third card is dealt. If the Player first has a total of 6 or 7, he remains.
In the case that the Player remains and only has two cards, the Banker regards his hand and uses the same rules as the Player. In the case that the Player was dealt a third card, the Banker uses a different set of rules that are much more complicated.
- If the player’s cards are 2 or 3, and the Banker drew 0 and 4, then stands with the 5-7.
- If the player’s cards are 4 or 5, and the banker drew 0 and 5, then stands with 6-7.
- If the player’s cards are 6 or 7, and the banker drew 0 and 6, then stands with 7.
- If the player’s card is 8 and the banker drew 0 and 2, then stands with 3-7.
- If the player’s card was an ace, a nine, and a ten, or one of the face cards, and the banker drew 0 and 3, then stands with 4-7.
In order for the casino to explain all these rules to the players without it being too complicated, they remade the rules explanations with easier instructions:
- When the banker gets a total of 2 or under, they they must draw another card, whether the player has a card or not.
- When the banker gets a total of 3, then the banker has to draw another card. The only circumstance where the banker doesn’t draw a card is if the player has a third card and it’s an 8.
- When the banker gets a total of 4, then they have to draw another card. This only applies if the player has any of these cards: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
- When the banker gets a total of 5, then they get to draw another card. This only applies if the player had any of the following cards: 4, 5, 6, or 7.
- When the banker gets a total of 6, then they must draw another card. This only applies if the player’s card was any of the following cards: 6 or 7.
- When the banker gets a total of 7, then the banker has to stand.
There is a math formula that sums up everything that is going on between the banker and the player. The rule is: figure out the value of the player’s third card. Count 8 and 9 as negative 2 and negative 1. Divide by two and the result must always be rounded towards zero. For example -1 would become just a 0. At the end, adding 3 to the result will be the final outcome. Now compare the player’s card to the bankers and make sure it is either equal or more than the bankers total, then draw another card. If it’s more than the banker’s then stand.
The croupier of the game is going to be the one dealing the cards, and they will monitor and judge each outcome on who the winner is. Ties can be settled by granting a win all around for both the player and the banker, which in the case of the player is the amount of money bet. The thing is about casino games is that it’s not only about the game itself, it is also about the betting process. With betting on casino games, there is a game there in itself.
Casinos that are located in Atlantic City and Las Vegas play Punto Banco in special rooms that are separated from the main casino floor. This is mainly because high stakes are involved in Baccarat so these rooms offer privacy and better security.
Baccarat usually gets played by high rollers who could play with up to thousands of dollars in one single hand. Even minimum bets are high in this game, starting at $25 and can get up to $500. Maximum bets can be placed to suit a player. Baccarat is also available in online casinos. The game is played in separate rooms as well and sometimes the high roller Baccarat games are played in even more separated rooms.
The downside to playing Baccarat online is that it is only by invitation. This is can be difficult to obtain. Invitations are usually only given out to players that spend tons of time playing the game for real money as well.
Baccarat is always associate with very wealthy players which means that casinos can win or lose millions and millions of dollars in one single night. This affects the casino’s quarterly profit and loss statement. These reports can found with the publicly-traded gaming companies for each casino.
The full version of Punto Banco is featured at a big round table hosted by a croupier. This is the person that directs the game. They are accompanied by two dealers who deal with the tax, collect and pay the best. A total of 6 or 8 decks of cards are used to play Punto Banco.
These cards are always only shuffled by the croupier or the two dealers. The shoe is held by a player who deals all of the cars, taking directions from the croupier and using the tableau rules. If the Player wins, the shoe will move to the highest winning bettor or the next person around the table in a clockwise manner, depending on the casino’s guides. The shoe can be rejected or the croupier can be requested to deal. In low-stake Baccarat games, cards are usually dealt only by casino staff.
Midi & Mini Punto
Low stake versions of Baccarat are usually in smaller settings. There will only be one croupier and the table is about the same size as a regular blackjack table. The cards will be dealt by a croupier from the standard shoe. The table minimums and maximums are also smaller than Punto Banco.
Chemin de fer (Chemmy)
When baccarat first started, there was only the Chemin de fer version of the game. It was introduced to the French and they loved it. It is still to this day the most popular version of baccarat in French casinos.
Playing Chemin de fer is done using six decks of cards mixed together. The order of the players is chosen randomly around a circular table. The Croupier begins the came by dealing cards to each player counterclockwise.
Each turn, a banker is chosen and is considered to be playing against the other players. The bank is the one who decides the bet in each turn, and after the banker puts up the bet, the players have the choice to call “Go Bank” and match the wager.
Only one player gets to go against the bank and call “Go Bank”, the order of the players calling the bank goes in order and if no one calls the entire wager, then players get to make their bets. After the betting, if the amount bet by all the players together is more than what the bank had bet, the banker has the choice to either increase their original bet to match the player’s bet or give back each player the extra amount they bet in order for the wager to be equal between the banker and the players.
The banker begins his turn after the betting process by dealing two cards for himself and two cards to represent the remaining players involved in the bet, with all the cards facing down. The player that had the biggest bet in the table among the other players gets to represent the group of players. Now both the banker and the representing player get to look at their cards and see what they got.
If an 8 or a 9 is pulled by either the player of the bank, both of them must show their cards and do the counting process without any further playing. If neither an 8 or a 9 appear then the two will continue to play the game. The player will get the choice to draw one more card if they choose to. If the third card is dealt, it must face up. The banker will get the same option with the third card then the two must add up their score.
If the player has the higher amount, then each player will get to double their original bet, and it's a win for them. If the banker’s cards were higher, then the banker wins the entire wager which consists of a bet from each player all added up to match his bet.
The banker position tcan remain with the player that won as a banker so long as they remain banker and win, after a loss to the banker, the next counterclockwise player gets to become banker unless they withdraw from the position and pass it along to the next player.
In Banque, the banker position doesn’t switch around like it does with Chemin de fer. Each player can decide to stay as the banker for as long as they please. The only way for a banker to give up their seat is if they decide to give it up, or if they run out of Bank. Those two situations happen very often which keeps the banker seat always warm.
In some tables, the first banker seat goes to the player with the largest bet amount, which secures them the seat until they decide to give it up or lose all their money. Some tables allow the players to have to sign in their names for the banker seat, and as the game progresses, the banker seat gets further and further down the list until everyone who wanted to be a banker gets a shot.
Being banker requires the player to bet big and have to win big or else they will lose everything extremely fast. Each time a banker goes through a turn, they are betting against all the players on the table that chose to be involved. The amount of each bet could be all the money the banker has and the banker could choose to match it and lose which would force the turn of the banker to go to the next person.
A lot of times, players would force out a banker by matching their bet a couple of times in a row until the banker loses everything. If the banker ends up winning three in a row, chances are the players will not want to try to match their bet again since the banker is going to have a good amount of profits to cover most of the players in the table.
The objective of banque is also to have the banker and the player try to get the highest score. There are different ways to add up the cards in each turn to make the highest score. The card's worth value is the same in all baccarat games, which makes learning the different types of the game a fun way to explore all the fun options. All three types of baccarat that became popular are being played all over the world. Some countries favor one baccarat over the other but they all include all three of the most popular machines in their casino floors.
Baccarat Strategy & Odds
Punto Banco has some of the lowest and the highest house edges compared to other casino table games. The Player bet has a very low house edge at 1.24%. The Banker bet goes even lower at 1.06%. The tie bet has an extremely high house edge at 14.4% but most casinos in the United Kingdom pay the tie at 9 to 1. This allows for a lower house edge of 4%. Even though Punto Banco has a low house edge, it does not get advantage play and even though Baccarat is somewhat similar to blackjack, card counting is not a good strategy for this card game. A 1984 analysis of Baccarat by Thorp says, “Advantages in baccarat are very small, they are very rare and the few that occur are nearly always in the last five to 20 cards in the pack.”
Despite these results, many players do not want to give up on those types of strategies. They will record the coup results as the shoe moves using paper and pen. They will reference ” big road,” “big eye road,” “bead road,” “small road,” and “cockroach road”. They will then try and predict the outcome of the next coup by evaluating the layout. Because of this, casinos and online casinos have started to display the coup outcomes within the current shoe with audiovisual equipment. There is really no way of changing the chances of winning by evaluating the outcome history of the shoe but this does not stop the use of this strategy around the world.
Baccarat is a very popular game and is becoming increasingly popular in more and more countries. It is used in many films and media as a high rolling game to win millions at. It is actually James Bond’s favorite game in the film, Casino Royale. It is mentioned in the movie, Rush Hour 3 and many other movies. More attention was brought to the game of Baccarat during the Royal Scandal. The affair of Tranby Croft which was in 1891 destroyed William Gordon Cumming’s lawsuit. It became known as the Royal Scandal because of the future King Edward VII being involved and also Prince Wales. This got the media talking and everyone became very interested in the game. Publications of the scandal flew all around the world and this is when the game became as popular as it is today. The scandal even became the subject of music and plays.
Popular culture has been a big influence in Baccarat’s history. Many other versions of the game have developed as it becomes one of the most played games in today’s casinos alongside of blackjack, poker, and roulette. Because it is a game of chance and not skill, people can go on playing the game for hours and hours, losing and winning high amounts of money. Baccarat will continue to emerge and evolve around the world, especially the United States. There is a lot of room for growth for players and casinos in the game of Baccarat. It is now the most played and most talked about card game in the entire gambling world, whether in a real live casino or even in online Baccarat. It has competed with blackjack over the centuries and is finally starting to come out on top due to it being favored by the high rollers and wealthy people who gamble.
Baccarat is one of the casino games that is the most fun when the table is full and there are bystanders all around watching the fun. There could only be one banker per turn but the amount of people that can play per turn is the people sitting at the oval table in addition to some of the bystanders that choose to be a part of the wager.