Casino games have gained panache from their black-tie clubs and their roles in classy movie. Players ranging from the French nobility to James Bond have all taken their turn at the tables. Trends come and then they go, but there are a certain few games that have remained, and one favorite across the globe is Baccarat.
Everyone has been buzzing about poker this and blinds that, but Baccarat is a very unique game that offers some of the very best odds for those players ready to learn the skill. Baccarat is a card game and the word means “zero”. Don’t be the player holding Baccarat in this game, or you are the loser.
Baccarat is a card game that is believed to have started in Italy as early as 1200 and then travelled to France. The French had to play this game in secret under order of the King, while the English took up the game and ran with it! The English also enjoyed a game called Faro that may have helped to develop the modern Baccarat that we now know.
The objective of Baccarat is to hold a hand that totals 9 or as close to 9 as possible. You only get two cards, with a third card possible, depending on some special rules we will get to later. To count up the total of points on your cards is simple. Cards numbered 2-9 are worth their face value; the 10, Jack, Queen and King are worth 10 points each; and the Ace is worth 1. Count the total of your cards and drop the “tens” digit. For example, if you are dealt 6+7=13=3. If you find yourself holding a 6+4=10=0, that is Baccarat. When you are holding an 8 or 9 on your first two dealt cards, then you are a “natural” winner!
There are several roles that make Baccarat very special. At the center of the big oval table, there is a space for a Banker and a Player. These roles are based on tradition, but in the European Baccarat games, these roles are still more than mere ceremony. First, the Banker is a player that uses his own money to sponsor the game. The casino in this game only provides the dealer and croupier (well, and the cards) and makes their money by taking a 5% rake from the Banker’s winnings. Traditionally in the French versions, the Banker is rotated around the entire game.
The Player is a place on the board, and whether there are 5 players or 12, there are only one set of cards that are played for the Banker and Player. Since there are is only one set of cards for so many potential players, that means there are special rules to determine if the third card is to be dealt or not.
Now that you have an introduction to the basics of Baccarat, you should also know that there are three major varieties that you can play. These different versions are based on which country you are in and they are: North American Baccarat (also called Punto Banco), Chemin de Fer (“railway” in French) and Baccarat Banque (also called “A Deux Tableau”). The North American Baccarat is obviously the version that you will play in the USA. In Europe Chemin de Fer is a favorite and Baccarat Banque as well.
There are some very specific rules that differentiate these varieties. The differences primarily lie in the role if the Banker, how the Banker is assigned and that affects the third card rules. The fact that the North American Baccarat uses a Banker merely as a ceremonial role and he does not put use his own money to bank the game. Baccarat is fun, fast-paced and there is a version to suit all kinds of players. This game once reserved for French nobility is now easily accessible to all players from any point on the grid.