Baccarat is a card game played with standard 52 card decks. No jokers or other wild cards are used. Baccarat is usually played with six or eight decks mixed together, but there are casinos that offers other set ups, including single deck baccarat.
Baccarat started out as a casino game in France, then morphed into a home-game when gambling was outlawed, and then made a comeback in casinos when the law changed. It is also the ancestor of the popular casino game Punto Banco. You can read more about the history and developments of baccarat further down in this article.
Unlike Blackjack, you do not have your own private hand when you play Baccarat and you are not allowed to make any decisions regarding the cards. The dealer will deal the cards for both hands in accordance with strict rules.
There are two hands in baccarat: the Punto hand and the Banco hand. As a player, you can elect to bet on Punto or on Banco, or you can bet on an outcome where there is a tie between Punto and Banco (this is called Egalité).
The best possible hand in Baccarat is a hand worth 9 points. A hand worth 9 points is better than a hand worth 8 points, a hand worth 8 points is better than a hand worth 7 points, and so on.
The point system
- Ace 1 point
- King 0 points
- Queen 0 points
- Jack 0 points
- Ten 0 points
- Nine 9 points
- Eight 8 points
- Seven 7 points
- Six 6 points
- Five 5 points
- Four 4 points
- Three 3 points
- Two 2 points
You determine the point value of a baccarat hand by adding the point value of the cards.
Example: A hand consisting of a seven and an ace is worth 7 points + 1 point = 8 points.
If the point value exceeds nine points, only the digit to the right counts.
Example #1: A hand consists of a nine and an ace. 9 points + 1 point = 10 points. This hand is worth 0 points.
Example #2: A hand consists of a seven and an eight. 7 points + 8 points = 15 points. This hand is worth 5 points.
How the cards are dealt
The dealer start the round by giving two cards to Banco and two cards to Punto. All cards are dealt face up.
Sometimes, a total of four cards will be enough and no more cards are dealt. If Banco has the best hand, all the players that bet on Banco win. If Punto has the best hand, all the players that bet on Punto wins.
In some situations however, a total of four cards on the table is not enough and the dealer will continue to deal. The rules for this varies from one table to another, so it is important to find out the rules for the Baccarat table you wish to play at.
This is a commonly used paytable for Baccarat. Always check the paytable for the specific Baccarat table you wish to play at to avoid unpleasant surprises.
|Punto wins over Banco||If your bet was on Punto, you are paid 1:1 on your wager.
If you wagered $20,000 you are paid $20,000 and have a total of $40,000.
|Banco wins over Punto||If your bet was on Banco, you are paid 19:20 on your wager.
If you wagered $20,000 you are paid $19,000 and have a total of $39,000.
|There is a tie between Punto and Banco||If you bet was on Egalité, you are paid 8:1 on your wager.
If you wagered $20,000 you are paid $160,000 and have a total of $180,000.
As you can see, you get paid less for a winning Banco hand than for a winning Punto hand. The casino takes a 5% fee from winning Banco hands.
Baccarat can trace its roots back to a card name Tarrochi. Tarrochi was a popular game in Europe during the Medieval era and was played with the type of deck that we today call a tarot deck.
Baccarat was probably invented in Italy by Tarrochi players. In the 15th century, it became a popular game in France. During the reign of Louis XIV (1643 – 1715) it was actually one of the most popular card games at the French court. After the revolution, the new upper class took up baccarat and there is evidence for baccarat being played by the members of Napoleon Bonaparte court.
An important year in the history of baccarat is 1837, because this is the year when public gambling was outlawed in France. All the casinos had to close, but the France populace continued to play baccarat. During this era, baccarat turned into a home-game where participants had to take turns being the bank. Out of necessity, the game known as Baccarat Chemin de Fer was developed.
Eventually the law was changed again, and casinos began to pop up along the French Riviera during the later half of the 19th century. Naturally, baccarat was included in the repertoire of these newly opened gambling establishments.
Chemmy is a card game related to baccarat that is popular in Great Britain as well as in many former British colonies. It derives its name from Chemin de Fer.
In South America, Chemmy developed into Punto Banco. Punto Banco spread to the Caribbean island of Cuba, where a lot of visiting tourists from the United States developed a taste for it. Eventually, it was brought back to the United States. When Punto Banco was first offered in Las Vegas, it was called Mini-Baccarat.