Baccarat is a well-known card game, played at land-based and online casinos. The name is a French spelling for the Italian word “baccara”, which means zero, or the point value of the face cards. It is one of the oldest card games in the world, with its inception traced back to 1490 when it was brought to France. During the reign of King Charles VIII, baccarat was the favorite of all players. Legally, it has been offered for the first time in Las Vegas in 1959 and has proven to be a major success. The game derived from “chemin de fer”, which existed in illegal casinos in the US in the 20th century. Basically, baccarat is a comparing card game. It is played between two hands: the player and the banker. The game has three outcomes: “player” – the higher score belongs to the player, “banker” – the banker has the high score and “tie”.
Baccarat is one of the few games which can offer the player an even break: the house edge for a bet on the banker is of 1.17% and the one on the player is of 1.36%. It is known that there are no actual strategies that one can master to become a winner – there is much luck involved in the game play. Yet, baccarat is familiar to a relatively small player base, as it has been more of a “millionaires’” amusement for decades. The lowest bet was usually of $20, but the amount wagered could grow up to hundreds of thousands dollars. Kashiwagi, a renowned player, used to place bets amounting to $200,000, until he’d one day lost $10 million dollars, after having played 12 hours. Therefore, baccarat was considered to be the game of the “whales” for a very long time. The full version is played at a table of 14 players with three dealers.
By the end of the 20th century, the game named “mini-baccarat” became popular between “average” players. It was played at seven-player tables and, in comparison to traditional baccarat, the dealer would deal all the cards. Customers can place bets of less than $5 just to get the feeling of playing the game of the whales.
The main purpose of the game is to build a hand of three cards maximum, which when made up will give a sum of 9 or a number as close as possible. If the number 9 is reached out with the initial two cards dealt to the player, the hand is called natural baccarat and it is the highest possible hand that cannot be beaten by any other hand. The first two cards that have the sum of 8 make a natural baccarat hand as well, this being the second strongest hand in the game. In comparison to blackjack, players need to make a decision of getting two or three cards from the dealer before the cards are dealt. The game is played with a few decks of cards. The 10 cards are worth 0 points, the Ace – 1 point and the numbered cards are worth the cards value. The cards are placed in a box, which is called the “shoe”, from which the casino dealer takes two cards out and for each player, as well as for himself. Depending on the situation, the croupier might deal an extra card. The one who gets the hand, which is closest to 9, wins. The player is always the first to be dealt the cards.
There are certain conditions, under which players can ask for the third card. If the first two cards of the player give a sum of 0 – 5 points and the banker on the other hand gets the value of 7 or less, the third card can be dealt. A banker can ask for the extra card too, in case his first two cards are worth 0 to 5 points and the player’s hand is worth 7 points or less.
The payouts are as follows:
– Bets on the player’s hand pay 2:1
– Bets on the banker’s hand pay 2:1 minus 5% commission
– Bets on tie pay 8:1.
The only strategy you can follow when playing baccarat is to enjoy the game. Rely on your luck and don’t be intimidated by the reputation of this game in the past – baccarat is not a high-roller-only game anymore. Moreover, you can win big time playing live dealer baccarat from the comfort of your home.