How to Play Baccarat

How do you play Baccarat? Firstly you should know what each card stands for.

A = 1

2 = 2 

3 = 3 

4 = 4 

5 = 5

6 = 6

7 = 7

8 = 8

9 = 9

10, J, Q, K = 0 

Jokers = not used 

These are very important to remember as they are the basics of this card game. 

Now, the aim of the game is to get a 9, or as close to 9 as you can. Whoever gets the 9 or closest to the number 9 is deemed the winner. 

You have the possibility of betting on three possible outcomes. 

The first outcome is the one where the PLAYER gets the highest score and wins the round, 

The second outcome is the one where the BANKER gets the highest score and wins the round,

And the third and final outcome is the one where both player and banker get the same number, thus resulting in a TIE. 

Before the game starts you will pick who you want to bet on and how much your bet is. The rest is up to the dealer to shuffle and hand out the cards. Usually, in a regular game of baccarat six to eight decks of cards are used.

The dealer then handouts two cards each. Two for the player and two for the banker. These cards will be counted to reveal each individual’s score. Don’t forget that 10’s and face cards count as zero, the ace counts as 1 and all the other cards are face value. 

Another important thing to note is that if your two cards, when added together, make up a two digit number, only the second number is used. For example; 

If you get a 7 and a 5 you will have a total of 12, but since only the second digit is used in this case then your total score will be 2. 

Another good thing to be aware about is the ‘natural win’ in baccarat. A natural win is basically when someone scores an 8 or a 9 in the first round. When someone gets a natural they are automatically deemed the winner as they have gotten a natural win. When this happens no more cards are dealt and any bets can be cashed out as this is the end of the round. 

If no one gets a natural win then more cards will need to be dealt out. If the player stands on a total of 6 or 7 they will be dealt another card to be able to reach that 9. But, the rules aren’t as simple when it comes to the banker getting extra cards. 

If the player does not need a third card then the banker will stay on the total of 6 or 7 and will draw a card. Otherwise, everything else is determined by the card that the player has just drawn. 

  • If the Player draws a 9, 10, face-card, or Ace as a third card, the Banker draws on a 0-3 score
  • If the Player draws an 8 as a third card, the Banker draws on a 0-2 score
  • If the Player draws a 6 or 7 as a third card, the Banker draws on a 0-6 score 
  • If the Player draws a 4 or 5 as a third card, the Banker draws on a 0-5 score
  • If the Player draws a 2 or 3 as a third card, the Banker draws on a 0-4 score 

Once this is done the total point will be counted and whoever is closest to 9 wins. 

Another outcome that can happen in baccarat is that of a tie. This happens when both the player and the bankers total score tally up to the same amount of points. If no one has bet on the tie outcome then all bets will be returned to their rightful owners. If someone has bet on tie then only those bets will be paid. 

A good thing to know is that it is potentially favourable to bet on the BANKER. The reason for this being that, although most casinos apply a commission bet, this is the best bet out of these three as it has the least amount of house edge. 

Another trick which can help you win this game is take a look at how many decks are being played with. The more decks that are being used the more advantage the house has. So, keep an eye out on how many decks are being used.

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Learn about Baccarat

Baccarat is one of the oldest and most popular card games to ever exist but what are its origins?

The answer to this question is unclear as we do not have a definitive answer. The first written record that we have of a game of baccarat dates back to the 19th century. One theory is that baccarat emerged as the product of a chinese non-card game with the name Chinese Pai Gow. In this chinese tile game the objective of the game was to reach a total score of 9, which is the same as baccarat. But this is merely a theory and there is no historical evidence to prove this correlation. 

Another theory, which goes off the basis that baccarat needs the number 9 to win, is one which comes from Ancient Rome. A ritual, in Ancient Rome, would have a vestal virgin throw a dice and that dice would determine her faith. The ritual goes as follows: if the virgin rolled an 8 or a 9 then she would become high priestess. If the virgin rolled a 6 or a 7 then she would be revoked as a vestal virgin and left to live a life in shame and in solitude. If she rolled anything below a 6 she would be sent to the sea to drown. Now this ancient roman ritual does seem a bit far-fetched as the beginnings of a card game but the fact that the 9 is the highest number is what seems to link these two together. 

Some evidence which can be supported by language itself is the fact that the word Baccarat is derived from the italian word which means zero. Some arguments do arise with this theory as the french word ‘baccarat’ also means zero. Evidently, the first hints we have of a creator of this card game was Felix Falguiere, who was an italian man who loved to gamble. The first iteration of baccarat was played with tarot cards rather than playing cards. 

If you take a look further back in history you will see that the first sighting of a game of baccarat was back in the 1400s, during King Louis XIV’s reign over France. The first spreading that we see of baccarat is thanks to the gambling prohibition which King Louis XIV had put into place in the 1400s. This is the time when baccarat became more popular and the french version, titled Chemin de Fer or Chemmy, took over all of France. 

It is believed that the first hint of Baccarat is shown by French culture. This particular card game has been popular amongst the french nobility ever since the 14th century. Before casino gambling was even made legal, back in 1907, you would still find Baccarat being played in private gaming rooms across the country. The first kind of Baccarat that is ever mentioned in History is Baccarat Banque, which is mentioned in Album des jeux by Charles Van-Tenac. This version of baccarat was a three-person game. And then a two-person version, titled Chemin de Fer flourished. The next big change was with baccarat punto banco. In this version of the game the person playing would bet on which hand they think would win, the player’s hand or the banker’s hand. This then developed into a house-banked game, which means that the casino i.e the house, would get a stake from any winnings made. This happened sometime in the 1940s. 

The reason why many people believe that the origins of baccarat is the 19th century is due to the fact that this is the time when baccarat started gaining popularity across europe. Before this time baccarat was mainly popular amongst french royals and it then spread to the people during the prohibition. With baccarat spreading all across Europe, this meant that every country would have their own version of this card game but the one that remained the most popular was Chemin De Fer, which is now known as European Baccarat. 

This was not the case in England however as the version of the game that prevailed over there was the Punto Banco. In fact it is this version which made its way across the sea into america and is now nicknamed as American Baccarat. 

Ever since the 19th century baccarat has been rapidly growing and finding its way across the four corners of the world. Casinos in Macau have made most of their profit off of this simple card game. Same goes for Singapore casinos and this also proved true on the Las Vegas Strip. In Las Vegas alone baccarat makes up 18% of the total winnings of the casino. The only game that provides more revenue than baccarat in the Las Vegas Strip are slots. The only reason for this being the simple fact that there are more slot machines strewn across the casino floor than there are baccarat tables. 

Over the past 20 years baccarat has left a substantial effect over a specific culture. This culture being the asian one as the rules and how baccarat is played very much go hand in hand with how  asian culture is structured. This is because there are no extra features or anything really special about baccarat. All that happens is the cards are shuffled and dealt. There are no variables that come into play with this game as it is all based on a set of fixed rules which are pre-determined. Thanks to these rules, asian cultures believe that their luck is then the only factor which will help them win this game. 

In the past, when a dealer made an error the card used to be removed from the deck. This would result in people with asian heritage to step away from the table as they believe that this simple act of discarding a card ruined their luck. To fix this problem, dealers started keeping the card and dealing a dummy hand instead. Another big change that has come about to the asian culture is how baccarat is presented. 

In the early days, baccarat was very much presented as a card game for nobles. With dealers in tuxedos, and female dealers dressed up to the nines, together with the minimum bets being very high and hiding the baccarat table in an enclosed space, usually behind a pair of luxurious curtains. All of this fancy buffoonery did not go down well with asian players so now, casinos have opted to have a simple baccarat table, which looks much like a blackjack one. The minimum bets are usually still on the higher side but Mini Baccarat is available for those players that don’t have a bank account that reaches up to the millions. 

Mini Baccarat has the same exact rules as normal baccarat. The only differentiating factor being the simple fact that the minimum bet is much lower when you are playing a game of mini baccarat. This makes this age old card game even more accessible to the mass public. Adding this more playable version of baccarat for the general public meant that the casinos could improve their profitability. 

What makes this game so great is the fact that it is purely a game of chance. This means that both the player and the casino house hosting the game have a relatively equal chance of losing or winning. This one fact alone keeps bringing high rolling players to be within the chance of a big win and it also helps casino houses to keep hosting this simple card game. This is because it is amongst the games that have the lowest house edge, which is at 1%.

Other games Baccarat developed from

From what can be gathered throughout history and various sources, it seems that baccarat arose out of a number of different card games such as blackjack, vingt-et-un, trente-et-un and pontoon. From what we can tell, these previously mentioned card games are direct ancestors of earlier games such as basset and faro. 

One of the very first iterations, that we have proof of, is the baccarat which was played with tarot cards rather than playing cards. This was due to the fact that playing cards were not being mass produced yet so it was much easier to get your hands on a tarot deck rather than a playing card deck. Once playing cards became popularized many games adapted themselves to be played in this manner, baccarat being one of them. 

Even though many people say that Baccarat originated from France there is some historical evidence which leads us to believe otherwise. This is due to the game Tarrochi, which was  a card game played in Italy back in the 1300s. Tarrochi is believed to be the great grandfather of all card games. There was also another Italian card game, titled Macao, which was played also to the total of nine and was dubbed as Italian Baccarat. This could also be the game from which modern baccarat derived. 

Another similar game was Le Her. Le Her was played up to the 13 and each player would have only one card. Whoever held the highest card would win. Each player also had the option to exchange their card if it was anything lower than a king which is very similar to the extra card that you can draw during baccarat.

Where is Baccarat popular

Baccarat is increasingly popular in Asia. the reason for this being the belief that this particular culture has. It’s roots are seen in Europe, mainly in Italy and France, but in the last 30 years or so it has really made an impact across casinos worldwide. 

It is casinos in Macau that have seen the biggest profit thanks to Baccarat ever since 2006. Same goes for casinos in Singapore as they have made a great portion of their total revenue from baccarat. 

In the USA casinos have tried their best to make baccarat a high-class game with dressing up the dealers, placing beautiful women everywhere across the casino and giving the players a sense of security and importance by placing the baccarat table in a secluded part of the casino. 

The reason why baccarat is the most popular in Asian countries is due to the fact that it is purely  a game of luck. With many other card games skill and wit is needed. Here is where culture makes a big difference as with Asian cultures they believe that their own luck is the thing that will grant them that big win. 

In fact, in an older version of baccarat, wherever a dealer made a mistake that card would be discarded and whenever this happened any Asian players would get up and leave the table as they believe that this simple act of discarding a card messes with their luck and would make them lose the game. To find a way around the situation dealers started dealing out dummy hands.

Historical moments

It is fabled that baccara, the italian version of baccarat, was based on an Etruscan legend which revolved around the vestal virgins. In this legend you would have a vestal virgin who would throw a dice to determine her faith. If she rolled an 8 or a 9 she was destined to become high priestess. If she rolled a 6 or a 7 she would be revoked from the vestal virgin community and sent to live her life excommunicated and alone. If she happened to roll any lower than a 6 she would be sent to the sea to drown. Even though this isn’t the happiest legend ever, you can see the resemblance by using the numbers 1-9 and the numbers 8 and 9 being those which give you a win. If you get any lower than 6 in a game of baccarat today you will most likely lose that round. So there are some similarities there. 

The first version of the baccarat card game had slightly different rules than the ones we know today. You would have four different deals and each player had a chance to be the banker. The players could place their bets against each other as well as against the banker. Nowadays there is only one dealer and the bets are placed against the house which is also the banker.

Back in 1891, there was a lawsuit which centered around a game of baccarat. This is known as the Tranby Croft Affair. This happened when the future King Edward VII, then prince of Wales, was travelling and had stayed over at a friends home. To pass the time they had started playing baccarat and someone had noticed that William Gordon Cumming was cheating, but they were only mere suspicions. The next day they played again and caught William Gordon Cumming red-handed. It is that night that they made William Gordon Cumming sign a legal agreement that he would never play cards again in exchange for the silence of everyone present that night. This incident inspired  a huge media outburst which led to popularising baccarat as well as having a stage play and music hall songs written about this scandal.  

Baccarat is also the go to card game for one of the most famous movie characters, James Bond. James Bond, created by Ian Fleming, was usually found in a casino playing baccarat. In fact some of his plots and critical moments in his movies would take place around a baccarat table. Bond plays this game in many of his novels. In casino royale, the entire plot revolves around a baccarat game which is played between Bond and SMERSH operative Le Chiffre. In fact, the unabridged novel of the same title even included the main points of the game to help readers grasp what was going on and to help understand the story line.

Frequently asked questions

How do I win in Baccarat?

To win in Baccarat you need to get a total number of 9, or as close to a nine as you can. You will also place bets on who you think will get the most points. 

How many dealers are there?

In one game it’s usually just a player and a dealer 

What are the variations of Baccarat?

There are many variations. The first being Chemmy or Chemin de fer which is nicknamed European Baccarat. Punto Banco, which is nicknamed American Baccarat. There is also Mini Baccarat and Baccarat Banque. 

Where does the name come from?

There is some uncertainty about this but it is highly believed to come from Italy or France back in the 1300/1400s. 

How are hands dealt?

The first and the third card go to the player while the second and the fourth cards go to the banker.

What skill is required to play Baccarat?

There is no skill in this card game as it is 100% based on luck. You will place your bets before the cards are even dealt and it is all up to faith after that. 

How does the points value work?

2’s through 9’s are worth face value while 10’s, J’s, Q’s and K’s are worth 0 points and the Aces are worth 1 point.

What is a winning hand?

A winning hand is when your total points amount to 9 

What are the possible outcomes?

There are three possible outcomes. The first one if the player wins, the second one is the banker wins and the third one is that there is a tie. 

What happens when there’s a tie?

All bets are returned if no one bet on tie. If someone did bet on a tie then they would win. 

What is a natural?

A natural is when someone gets a score of 8 or 9 with the first two cards that are dealt to them

Is there a visible pattern in Baccarat?

Not really, no. Since Baccarat is purely a game of luck there are no patterns within this card game. 

Is it smart to bet on the banker?

Some experts would say that this is the best person to bet on due to the fact that it has the least amount of house edge. 

What is Mini Baccarat?

Mini Baccarat is exactly the same as Baccarat with the difference being that Mini Baccarat’s minimum stakes are much lower than Baccarats.

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