Rules of Baccarat

The game of Baccarat is a great card game for players of all skill level. It is believed that this game was born out of an ancient Etruscan tradition and travelled all the way from Italy to France, England and then through the Americas. Over 800 years this game has been transforming.

Baccarat means “zero” and that is exactly what you do not want in this game. The winner of Baccarat is the player that holds cards totaling 9 or the closest to 9. In order to count your cards in Baccarat you will total the cards then drop the “tens” digit. For example, if you are dealt a 3 and an 8, then that is 3+8=11=1. All cards 2 through 9 are worth their face value. The 10, Jack, Queen and King are all worth 10 points each. The Ace is worth a whopping 1 point.

Players sit around a big oval or kidney-shaped table and assume the role of “Player” or “Banker”. The casino will provide the dealer, two croupiers and the cards. The role of those playing and the casino varies depending on the variety of Baccarat that you are playing. We will get to those details shortly.

Banker and Player Roles

What makes Baccarat such a unique game is that the game is “financed” by a “Banker”. The Banker is a player who puts his money up for the “Player” to bet against. A person may not be a Banker and Player at the same time. The Player’s “hand” may be played by 5 to 12 players. In order for this to work, there are a set of quite formal rules on how play will proceed.

The dealer deals the Banker and the Player two cards each, face-down. That is two cards for the Banker and two cards total for all players that represent the “Player”. Players may bet on the Banker, the Player, or a third spot on the table marked “Egalite”, or “Tie” in French.

If you have a “natural”, which is an 8 or 9 total points on the first two-card deal, you announce your victory immediately. In most cases there is the need to be dealt a third card and this is where the game really gets cooking. The third card is dealt face up.

Player’s Third Card Rules

After the dealer has dealt the two face-down cards to the Player and Banker, you must learn the rules that dictate if you are allowed to take a third card. The Player rules on the third card are quite straightforward.

Player on the Third Card:

  • If your first two cards total a 0-5, draw a third card. If your first two cards total 6 or 7, then you stand.

Banker’s Third Card Rules

If the Player did not draw a third card, then the Banker follows the same rules just mentioned above.

If the Player did draw a third card, then the Banker follows these rules:

  • If the Player’s third card is a 2 or 3, the Banker will draw if he has a 0-4 and stays with a 5-7.
  • If the Player’s third card is a 4 or 5, the Banker will draw if he has a 0-5 and stays with a 6-7.
  • If the Player’s third card is a 6 or 7, the Banker will draw if he has a 0-6 and stays with a 7.
  • If the Player’s third card is an 8, the Banker will draw if he has a 0-2 and stays with a 3-7.
  • If the Player’s third card is a 9, 10, face card or Ace, the Banker will draw if he has a 0-3 and stays with a 4-7.

Varieties of Baccarat

As Baccarat is such a well-travelled game, it has many little nuances depending on the country in which you meet it. In the United States, you will see the North American Baccarat, also called Punto Banco. Some things that make Punto Banco are that this version does not rotate the Banker role. In fact, the casino will bank the game and the position on Banker is only ceremony in this game. Players are allowed to place their wagers on with the Player, Punto, or the Banker, Banco. This version is super quick and easy to learn and there is no skill needed to master it.

Chemin de Fer, or “railway” in French, is the favorite in Europe. This version may have gotten its name for the fast-paced Baccarat pallet that travels to signify the rotating Banker role. This game has the Banker place his own personal money at stake for the game. The Banker may take or lose all that is staked. The house takes only a 5% rake for their services. The rules that dictate the Banker’s third card rules are more flexible since it is the Banker’s money at stake.

The third version that is common to see played in Europe is Baccarat Banque, also called “A Deux Tableau”. “Two Tables” are what makes this version unique. There is still a Banker and Player, but there are two hands played to the Player. The people playing may bet on one or both of the Player cards, but not on the Banker. The Banker in this version is another player that has staked their own money. They may be made Banker because they brought the most money to the table or for some other table rules” reason.

Even with all the varieties of Baccarat and unique rules, this game is quite simple. It has been a favorite around the world and is still evolving due to its emergence onto the online sites. The game moves quickly and still looks very regal with the actors serving their ceremonial duties.

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