Baccarat is a simple game of chance that involves very little skill on the player’s behalf. In a traditional game, there are 14 seats at the baccarat table, numbered 1 to 15. Number 13 is excluded to avoid bad luck.
There are three dealers for each table, two of whom deal with payouts and the third, known as the croupier or caller, stands in the middle making the calls on each hand as they are dealt.
How To Play Baccarat
Baccarat is usually played with either 6 or 8 packs of cards. The name of the game is derived from the Italian word ‘baccara’, which means ‘zero’, which refers to the zero value given to all of the face cards and tens.
Cards Ace to Nine retain their value, but tens and picture cards have no value.
If two cards have a combined value of more than 10, then 10 must be subtracted leaving the remaining total as the card value eg: a hand of 8 and 7 does not equal 15, but 5.
The cards are placed in a box called the shoe which is in the charge of the dealer. However, each player has to bet the Bank when holding the shoe, although it may be declined and passed along to the next player.
The game of Baccarat is so simple because all the player has to do is decide what type and amount to bet. Winning bets on the player are paid 1:1, winning bets on the banker pay 1:1 less a 5% commission and winning bets on a tie usually pay 8:1.
Once the cards have been dealt, the dealer takes over and announces the winner. There are three variants of the game: Punto Banco, Baccarat Chemin de Fer, and Baccarat Banque.
The Variants of the Game Baccarat
Punto Banco – the cards are dealt to the Player and then to the Banker. Each gets two cards, the value of which are added together, and the Croupier calls the total.
The table of play is then used to decide on whether more cards need to be drawn. However, if the Banker and Player have the same hand total at the end of the deal, the croupier states ‘tie bets win’.
Baccarat Chemin de Fer – in this game 6 decks of cards are used in play. In the center of the table, there is a shoe where used cards are put.
The cards are shuffled by the Croupier and taking some cards from the top of the shoe, he hands them to the player to his immediate right, who is then ‘Banker’, while the others are players.
Any of the players can call ‘Banco’, which means that they want to play against the Bankers’ stake. The Banker deals two cards for himself, and two for the player. If the Bankers cards are better, he wins the players’ stakes and deals again. However, if the players are better, the banker has to pay each player the amount of his stake and the next player becomes Banker.
Baccarat Banque – Three decks of cards are used in this version of the game. The Banker remains the Banker until all the cards have been dealt unless he loses or retires (he can retire at any point but has to state the amount with which he is retiring).
Generally, Banque is very similar to Chemin de Fer. Players take turns to be the bank, however, they don’t play against each other. Then the player who has been the Banker for the round doesn’t have to cover the other players’ bets.