Baccarat is a table card game that has made its way into our culture thanks, in great part, due to it’s popularity with James Bond in many of the 007 movies. Bond favored Baccarat chemin-de-fer, one of the 3 versions of Baccarat. The other versions of Baccarat are Baccarat Banque (or Deux Tableaux), and Punto Banco (or North American baccarat).
Baccarat was first introduced into France from Italy during the reign of Charles VIII of France at the end of the 15th century and has similarities to Faro and Basset. It is a very simple game as there are only 3 possible betting options; Player, House or Tie.
In North America, Australia and Macau, the version of Baccarat played is Punto Banco. In Punto Banco, the casino always acts as the bank. The players have the option of betting on the Player or the Banker or Tie. These are names for the two hands dealt and do not designate an actual player or banker. The hands are dealt face down in the order of player, banker, player, banker. This makes up the initial 2 card hand. The croupier then turns over the cards and adds up the values and calls out the values of the hands. Based on the values of the hands, the Player and or the Banker may stand or take a third card. The hand with a total of 9 or closest to 9 wins. If there is a tie, only those who bet on a tie will win their bets.
Bets are paid as follows in most casinos. If the Player hand wins, 1:1 is paid and if the Banker hand wins, 95% is paid with a 5% commission to the house. On Tie bets, the rate is 8:1, although most Baccarat Players consider the tie bet a foolish bet.
Punto Banco, and indeed all versions of Baccarat, has developed the reputation of a high stakes, elite game. Millions of dollars have been known to change hands over the course of an evening and very often Baccarat is played in special and elegant rooms with extra security and Perks provided for the players.
CHEMIN DE FER AND BACCARAT BANQUE
Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque are played in European casinos. These versions of Baccrat offer more options for strategy and skill. In Chemin de Fer, the Croupier handles the bets and shuffling the cards and the calling out of the values of the hands while the Banker position passes to to player on the croupier’s right. The rest of the players at the table are known as the Punters. The game commences with the Banker placing the amount they wish to bet in front of him or her. Any of the punters, starting with the punter to the Banker’s right, may then call out “Banco” and equal the banker’s bet. If no one goes Banco, the punters then place what they wish to wager in front of them. If this still does not equal the bankers’ bet then people standing around the table may add to the punters stake. The banker has the right to decline any bets that exceed the original bank stake.
Once the bets are made, the game proceeds. The primary diference between Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque or Punto Banco is in the betting, although there are more strategies involved in playing the Banker’s hand in Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque. After each hand is played, the stake is made again following the same rules. The Banker remains the bank as long as he or she wins. The Banker is not allowed to remove any of his or her winnings and banker’ winnings go to increase the value of the next banker stake. The banker may retire and pass the bank at his or her discretion.
Unlike Chemin de Fer, in which the banker passes the bank when they lose; in Baccarat Banque, the banker retains the bank until they retire, can no longer cover the bets or the entire shoe holding the decks of shuffled cards is dealt.
In Chemin de Fer, the Banker deals two hands. One for the punters and one for the banker. The punter’s hand is played by the punter with the highest share of the stake.
In Baccarat Banque the Banker deals 3 hands. One to the punter on his or her left, one to the punter on his or her right and one for the banker. The 5 punters on the left of the banker win or lose by the hand dealt to the left and the 5 punters on the right of the banker win or lose by the hand dealt to the right. The rules concerning the value of hands and the taking of a third card are the same as in all 3 versions.
BACCARAT CARD VALUES
In the game of Baccarat aces are worth 1 point, 2 to 9 cards are worth face value and the 10, Jack, Queen, King are worth 0 points. The value of a hand is calculated by taking the sum of all the cards in the player’s hand modulo 10. In other words, one adds up the value of the cards and then ignores the tens digit. As examples, a hand with a 3 card and a 4 card is worth 7 since 3+4=7 while a hand with a 7 card and an 8 card is worth 5 since 8+7=15 and we drop the 1 as the value is calculated modulo 10. The worst hand in Baccarat is a hand totaling 10 which is worth zero and the best hand is a hand totaling 9. As further examples. a hand with a 2 and 4 is worth 6 (2+4=6), a hand with a queen and a 8 card is worth 8 (10+8=18 drop the first digit for modulo 10=8) and a hand with an ace and an 8 card is worth 9 (1+8=9).
Here is a chart with the rules for taking a third card in baccarat:
If the Player or the Banker has a total of 8 or 9 on the starting deal no more cards are taken.
If the Player has a total of 0-5 after the starting deal, the Player takes a single card. If the Player has a total of 6 or 7 after the starting deal, the player stands.
- Banker Hand: 3 Banker takes one card if the player’s hand is: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7
- Banker Hand: 4 Banker takes one card if the player’s hand is: 0, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7
- Banker Hand: 5 Banker takes one card if the player’s hand is: 4, 5, 6, or 7
- Banker Hand: 6 Banker takes one card if the player’s hand is: 6 or 7
- Banker Hand: 3 Banker Stands if the player’s hand is: 8
- Banker Hand: 4 Banker Stands if the player’s hand is: 0, 1, 8, or 9
- Banker Hand: 5 Banker Stands if the player’s hand is: 0, 1, 2, 3, 8, or 9
- Banker Hand: 6 Banker Stands if the player’s hand is: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, or 9
Many online casinos are now offering their players the game of baccarat. It is usually played based on the Punto Banco rules of the game. This keeps things simple and adds a nice fast pace to the game. As always, bets are either on the banker, the player or a tie. Playing online offers one a chance to enjoy the thrills of the most glamorous of casino games from the comforts of home. Playing online allows one the chance to enjoy the game of royalty without the stuffiness of a roped off, high security baccarat room and without the pressure of high rollers betting a million dollars on a single hand. The player can play at their own pace, with a drink in hand and bet within their own limits without any added outside pressure.
I’m Jason Rockwell. When I’m not winning playing online poker, I enjoy writing about my love of the game. Thanks for visiting!