An Introduction to Baccarat
Baccarat has been played for hundreds of years. The rules of the game are very easy to grasp. There are actually three forms of Baccarat. However, when you play online or in the majority of land casinos, you will be playing the game known as Punto Banco, and it is this version that we shall be focusing on.
Baccarat is played at a table with a dealer. The game focuses on two positions, Player and Banker, and the house actually plays both positions. Cards are dealt to each of the positions and players are simply betting on which of them will have a value closer to 9 at the end of the round.
How a Round Works
Players place their bets on either the Player or Banker position. The dealer then deals two face up cards to each position. Typically, the order for receiving them is Player, Banker, Player, Banker. However, this may vary slightly in some variants of the game.
Understanding Hand Values
It is very easy to calculate the value of a hand. The cards 2-10 are worth their face values whilst Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth 10. Aces are worth 1. Whenever the value is greater than 10, you simply subtract 10 from the total. That means that having a Jack and 7 will add up to 17 but be worth 7.
There are a few additional rules you need to know that govern when a third card may be dealt.
- If either Player or Banker has an 8 or 9, both positions will stand.
- If Player has a total of 6 or 7 then the hand will stand.
- If Player stands and Banker has a total of 5 or less, then Banker draws a card.
- If Player has a total of 5 or less, then Player will draw a third card.
There are further rules that govern what happens if the Player position takes a third card.
- The Banker will take a third card if the position has a total of 0, 1 or 2.
- If the Banker has a total of 3 then the position will receive a third card if the Player third card was either 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 or 10.
- If the Banker has a total of 4 then the position will receive a third card if the Player third card was 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7.
- If the Banker has a total of 5, the position will receive a third card if the Player third card was 4, 5, 6 or 7.
- If the Banker has a total of 6, the position will receive a third card if the Player third card was 6 or 7. If the Banker has a total of 7, then it will always stand.
Historical View of Baccarat
The history of baccarat suggests that the game used to go by the name Baccarat Banque. This is because one of the players would always take on the role of the bank. This would see them act as the dealer and accept wagers and pay out winnings. Baccarat Banque was very popular in Europe during the 1700s, but it eventually developed into Chemin de Fer which originated in France.
The rules of Chemin de Fer require several players around a table to take turns at playing the bank. In the game, players will pass around the shoe, which typically has 6 decks shuffled, so that each player takes on the responsibility at one point.
As mentioned, the most popular and familiar version of baccarat is Punto Banco. The main attraction of Punto Banco is that players do not have to assume the role of the bank. This sees the variation of baccarat put the player against the traditional house, which is just like most other casino games. The house is played by a dealer, who uses the shoe, serves the cards, and pays out the winnings.
If you travel to any American casinos, you may not find the words “Punto Banco” on any of the tables. In the United States, many casinos adopted the game but changed the name to mini baccarat. It is identical to punto banco in rules and gameplay but is typically played out on a smaller table than the original game.
By now you’ve probably read the word baccarat over and over again without even knowing whether you’re saying it correctly or not. As the word is originated from France, the pronunciation of the word is different to how you would read it in English. Baccarat ends with a silent ‘t’, meaning the word rhymes with ‘bar’, rather than ‘cat’. Let’s break it down.
- The butchered English and American way of saying the word is ‘back’ – ‘uh’ – ‘rat’.
- The correct pronunciation of the word is ‘bah’ – ‘kuh’ – ‘rah’.
Next time you visit a casino or sit at a live baccarat table here at Spin Rio Casino, why not impress the other players and dealer by using the correct pronunciation for the French word.
The Zero Game
There are various theories about where the game originated. One of the theories is that Falguiere was the creator of the game. According to the legend, the word ‘baccara’ is old Italian for ‘zero’.
If the myth is true, Falguiere probably named it zero because of all the 10-calue cards in a deck are worth zero. When adding 10s to the hand, you’re effectively just adding 0s. Thus, one can see why baccarat would be referred to as the game of ‘zero’.
Ian Fleming’s James Bond was brought to the big screen for the first time in 1962 in Dr. No. It was the first time Sean Connery appeared in the signature tuxedo and delivered the line, “Bond, James Bond”.
It was also the first time anyone got to see agent 007 playing a casino game. If you recall, Bond was playing Chemin de Fer at Les Ambassadeurs Casino in London. And, as he always does, Bond lands all the 8s and 9s required to win.
A Few More Baccarat Fun Facts
In most Baccarat games, a winning bet pays at 1:1. The exception to this is the Tie bet, which can pay 8:1 or even 11:1. However, the house edge on the Tie bet is huge, one of the biggest you will find in a casino, so it is probably a bet best avoided.
While Baccarat may be French in origin, it has become the favourite game of Asian high rollers. In fact, Asian gamblers account for more than 70% of high roller activity in Las Vegas, and the vast majority of them play Baccarat. They also tend to be highly superstitious players and use various roadmap score cards to try to spot patterns. However, the truth is that what happens in one round of Baccarat will have absolutely no bearing on the next, so there is really no need to go looking for patterns.
Baccarat is a very easy game to pick up. The rules are straightforward and make for an exciting time. The game is often shrouded in mystery, but by now it should be clear that anyone can start playing this casino classic in no time at all.