Baccarat is a French word with derivation from the word baccarat which is Italian for zero. The European games of chemin de fer and punto banco both made significant contributions to this game of chance. For many American gamblers, Baccarat is one of the least understood games on the casino floor. Baccarat, a game formerly designed to provide enjoyment to only the very wealthy, is now available for anyone that enjoys a good game of cards.
History of Baccarat
Many versions exist to tell how Baccarat came to be. Some state that it was a game first played with Tarot cards. Others state that it was a game based on the ritual of nine Gods. The Gods called to a virgin maiden, who was required to have blonde hair. The Gods then tested the maiden by having her throw a die with nine sides in order to decide her fate. If the blonde virgin threw an eight or a nine, she became a priestess. If she threw a six or a seven, she was banned from participating in further religious ceremony. If she threw lower than that, she was to walk to be put to death by having her walk into the deepest parts of the sea.
The myths make great stories and the actual history is no less exciting. The game of Baccarat has been traced back to 1490 when the Italians brought the game to France. During the reign of King Charles VIII, Baccarat was the biggest past time among the nobles. Napoleon later banned it and it was forced underground. The game continued and grew to be one of the most popular games today.
In 1959, the game of Baccarat was introduced in the American gambling town of Las Vegas as a game for millionaires. The game held much ceremony and mystery for those who were not wealthy enough to play. Baccarat has since taken new variations which allow for ordinary people to play. It is still common to see baccarat tables for the very wealthy and mini-baccarat tables for others.
Today, Baccarat is a staple of all casinos. The excitement and allure of this game makes it one of the most popular games of chance in todays casinos. Many modern gamblers, however, do not understand the game.
Three forms of baccarat are typically played today. The first is baccarat Chemin de Fer, also known as Railroad Baccarat. The next type is Punto Banco. This type is also called North American Baccarat. The last type of baccarat common in the United States is Baccarat Banque.
Baccarat is played by dealing the player and the dealer two cards. The card values are added and players seek to get a nine. If the card value is greater than nine, ten is subtracted from the total. Kings, Queens and Jacks count for zero and aces are valued at one. The players draw a third card based on a formula. The closest to nine wins.
Tips for Playing Baccarat
Baccarat, at its essence, is a game of luck. There is no sure fire way to win. Understanding the basics of how to play and bet can be extremely helpful.
In American Baccarat, the dealer shuffles together six to eight decks of cards and places them in a special box that is called a shoe. The shoe rotates clockwise around the table and each player takes a turn as the banker. This players hand is known as the bankers hand. The other hand belongs to the person who bet the most money. This hand is known as the players hand.
The banker then deals four cards, face down. The first card is the players first card. The second card belongs to the banker. The third and fourth belong to the player and the banker respectively. In mini-baccarat, the shoe and all of that ceremony is not included. Dealing also takes much less time. Getting rid of the shoe ceremony further served to drive the envy of the full baccarat tables.
The values of the cards are added. If either hand is an eight or a nine, the hand is considered a natural and no more cards are dealt. If the hand is not a natural, whether the caller instructs the banker to draw a third card depends on the Baccarat Drawing Rules.
It is not essential to the player that these rules be memorized. They are relatively complicated and the player can do nothing different to influence the outcome. The biggest thing to know is how to bet and what the betting odds are.
To purchase chips, place the money on the table and request change. Rules do not permit dealers to take the cash directly from the hands of the player. The player who has the largest bet should not look at the player card until after all cards are dealt. The same thing goes for the banker. The two hands should be flipped at the same time.
Betting is the only part of baccarat that the player has any control over. Players can bet on the players hand, the dealers hand or on a tie. The odds of winning are best when betting on the banker hand. The edge is only slight, less than two percent, over the player hand. Betting on a tie pays out at a better rate but has a much lower chance of occurring. 51.6 percent of the time the dealer wins the hand.
The thing a baccarat player, like every gambler, needs to remember is that money management is important. Take a limited amount of money to the casino and when that amount is gone, leave. Many people will also leave their bank cards, credit cards and check book at home. Remember, the longer a player bets at a table of baccarat, the larger the chance that the dealer will win. Walking away from a table with some of the money remaining is the best way to walk away from the casino in the black for the day.
All in all, baccarat is one of the least understood but most enjoyed game among the games of chance. Once players take the time to learn the rules, this game will be among their favorites.