Baccarat is just one of the many games you can find in casinos worldwide. In fact they have even started playing this game online at casinos because it is easy to learn and fun. This is a card game. It can be tough to research the history of any casino game because they are often similar to many countries versions. The facts are card games have been around for centuries. We can trace the first card game of any sort back 200 years in the Chinese culture as well as Asia. Studies have been completed to suggest it was not until the crusaders from Europe in the 14th century that card games made it back to Europe. The study further shows that this was when the first card deck was printed for use. Christopher Columbus is credited with bringing some card games to America.
The suits you have in the deck were not just created out of imagination. In fact these suits were symbols relating to the feudal societies hence clubs, diamonds, spades, and hearts. Swords in Spanish mean Espadas, which was translated into spades. It was meant as a representation of the noble classes. Coins during that time were slightly diamond shaped, making the diamond suit. The clubs were serf related. The heart was a symbol of the church.
The face cards like those of the suits also had meaning. At one time the faces were of actual kings, queens, and soldiers. Some of the famous individuals used were Charlemagne, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and King David. The queens were supposed to be Helen of Troy, Athena, Joan of Arc, and Rachel. The Jacks as we call them today were actually knights. The famous knights depicted were Roland, Etienne de Vignoles, Sir Lancelot, and Hodgier Le Danois. While the deck faces have changed over the years for the famous individuals, we now see a more common face on the cards that is standard.
Around 1492 the first Baccarat game was thought to have started in Italy. The game was based on 'Nine Gods.' It is said that in Rome about 2000 years ago, nine gods were praying as they stood at the base of a golden haired virgin. This virgin would throw a nine sided die. In this story the virgin needed to roll an eight or nine in order to be crowned a priestess. If she rolled a six or seven her status would be lost. If there was anything less on the die she would have to walk into the sea. For Baccarat we need the same numbers, to decide the winner and actions needed.
The first name associated with the game was Baccarat, but after moving around to other countries names such as Chemin de Fer or Baccarat en Banque were also given. It is a very popular game in countries such as France as well as the rest of Europe. In France the nobility kept the game from casinos, as they felt they had the only right to play the game.
The French version of Baccarat made its way to South America where they couldn't wait to go to the casino halls in order to play the game. From South America the game traveled to Cuba. The French game is played slightly different than the 'American Baccarat' version.
Both the French version and American were brought to Cuba. Many would play the game in the Capri Hotel Casino located in Havana. From Cuba, Baccarat made its way to Nevada. This was about 1958, and the first casino to have it was Sands Hotel.
Now you will find Baccarat in every casino whether large or small. There are still two versions of the game so that you have the French version is Europe and the American version in North America. The game can be played with a lower limit, but there are also tables for the high rollers who wish to make larger bets.
Baccarat is a table game meaning there is a specific area of the casino that you can find this game. The table will allow for up to 12 or 14 individuals to be at the table. Depending on the number of people playing you can have three casino dealers.
In Baccarat there are two principle rules to keep in mind. You are playing the house and not other players at the table. This means you have two very important bets the banker or player bets. The other type of bet you can make is the tie or standoff. Most often you are going to have a Croupier in Baccarat, but some casinos allow the players to rotate as the dealer. When you play the online version of Baccarat you have a virtual Croupier.
Everyone at the table is going to make a bet. Even the player that is dealing will have to choose Punto or Banco which means player or banker. Usually the dealer is going to bet on themselves. The shoe, in which the cards are dealt from, will be next to the Croupier and it will remain with the same person as long as the bank wins. When the player wins the shoe is passed to the next Punto.
When the game begins two hands are dealt from the cards. Then you will bet on the banker, player, or a tie. You have a 1:1 ratio and the payoff is even money, such as you find in Roulette on the black or red even money bets. In a standoff you have 8:1 or 9:1. The different in the player or banker is the commission. In Baccarat if you bet on the bank you owe 5 percent to the bank it is considered a tax instituted by the casino. It is also an advantage as the house is usually the winner. The commission comes from the fact that in an eight deck round the Bank will win three to four hands more than the player.
In this game each hand will have two cards to start and you can have up to three cards at the end. The person dealing will offer two cards face down. The person that has bet the bigger amount on the player will get the other two cards. The player will look at the cards and give them back to the Croupier. Then the dealer will turn the cards over for both hands to see who has won. The Croupier will announce to those watching who has the higher hand.
When a total of 8 or 9 is showed it is a natural hand and no cards will be dealt. If it is not a natural hand then depending on what the total is the dealer can offer a third card. There are certain rules in Baccarat that stipulate when a third can or cannot be dealt.
After the deal is complete the highest hand will be the winner. The dealer will collect the lost bets on the table and pay out the winners.
The Rules of Baccarat
Baccarat is typically played with a six deck or eight deck shoe. All of the face cards and ten cards technically have no value. Some call it ten, but then you drop the 1 in 10, so you still get zero. Those that are less than 10 have their normal face value, and the ace is worth 1 point. Any time you have over 9 the first number is dropped for a single digit number. For example if you have cards totaling 16 then you actually have a value of 6. The suits in the deck have no bearing on the winner.
The player will receive two cards as will the banker. You will then get a chance to place your bet on the player, bank or tie. The higher value cards will win.
The dealer can offer a third card based on certain rules. See the below information for those rules.
If the player or bank has a natural hand of either 8 or 9 from the first two cards another card cannot be drawn.
When the player's hand has less than or equal to five the player can draw a third card.
If the player does not draw a third card then the bank's hand must stand on 6 or more. In other words if they have less than 6 such as a five they must take a third card. When a player takes the third card the Bank must follow another set of rules.
When the bank has 2 or less they must draw a third card whether or not the player wanted a third card.
When the bank has 3 or less they must draw a third card, except when the player has an 8.
When the bank has 4 they can draw a third card if the player's third card was 0, 1, 8, or 9.
When the bank has 5 a third card can be taken only if the player's third card was a 4, 5, 6, or 7.
If the player's third card was a 6 or 7 and the dealer has a total of 6 the dealer can get a third card.
When the bank has 7 they must stand on that amount, no third card can be taken.
Banker (Banco) 1.17%
Player (Punto) 1.36%
Tie (Standoff) 14.12% at 8:1 payout
Some casino games don't really offer a strategy because it is more of a game of chance rather than skill. With Baccarat it is hard to determine any type of strategy that can be used. This game doesn't allow for the rounds to be dependent on each other. There are six to eight decks used in a shoe that is randomly shuffled. This means that you can't really predict what cards will come up next, even when you count cards. The chance of winning is therefore the same in every hand. There are some players of Baccarat who believe they have the perfect strategy, but the truth is they are trying to sell a book or their site online. Strategies in this game are usually card counting, pattern watching, and a streak, but that is all related to chance.
Casinos actually offer a board that will display the previous hands. The player doesn't have to remember what has been played as they can see it on the board. Some casinos offer paper and pen for this tracking. The idea is to spot a pattern in the hands played and then bet accordingly. The casino of course doesn't feel threatened by this use of the board because there really is no pattern. The hands are completely separate from the others. Basically using common sense in Baccarat is the only way to win. For example the house has the edge, always. Second if the house has won the last eight games you can be pretty certain the next hand will also be won by the banker. However, there is no probability or pattern to actually suggest there is truth in this. Each round has a 50 percent chance of the banker winning, just like there is a 50 percent chance the player will win. The point is don't count on the board to show you a pattern, the chance is you will be wrong if you look for a pattern. If the casino is willing to offer you the means of detecting a pattern you can be pretty sure there is no use in it, the house will never give up its edge.
Card counting is not something a casino wants to see. If you have ever watched a casino movie you know that this strategy is taken pretty seriously and the casinos tend to get angry. Card counting can work when you play online or try to do so, on the casino floor without giving up what you are doing. Blackjack is a game in which you can have a lot of success as a card counter. You might even think that it will work in Baccarat; however you only have three bets to place each round and you can't change your strategy for winning. In other words it is not very useful, and could end up throwing you off the rules. Most of the time the discarded cards are placed back in the shoe, so there again it is a useless option.
Some individuals try the mathematical approach. These systems are usually designed to help with winning. Some have found a great deal of success with Baccarat and Roulette. The bets are 1:1 odds meaning you have a chance to win with either the player or the banker or on even money bets for the Roulette wheel. So for this type of bet the idea of the 1-3-2-6 option is used. This system is discussed more in the 'Buying a Baccarat System' on this website. There is also the Martingale thought system in which you double your bet every time you lose, so that you make up your losses. For example if you bet $5 and lost then you would bet $10 on the next round and on until you actually win.
These and other mathematical systems can work, but they are short term. In other words casinos have table limits, and often you tend to lose a great deal before making it up again; the potential that you run out of money before you recoup your loses is always there. If you want to win and win big, you shouldn't use this type of system.
You can of course try to find your own strategy, as our article here shows that most of the strategies we know about are not very helpful. The truth is that you need to make the proper decisions in the game for what it is. Having fun is the most important aspect of this game.