Baccarat Variations

play Baccarat onlineAlthough it is now accessible to mass players, the game of Baccarat has long been available only for well-off players and Baccarat tables were found only in specially designated areas off the main casino floor. The game has always been considered an elite one as it required the player to apply a combination of skills and knowledge. However, Baccarat is actually a pretty simplified game that is also popular for the extremely low house edge as compared to some other table games.

The basic Baccarat rules require the player to get closest posibble to 9 with two or three dealt cards. There is no busting option. Suits, pairing, straights do not count. The ace is worth 1 point and all face cards count as 0. If your hand exceeds 9, the counting starts all over.

If the total of the two cards is less than 7, the player has the right to request a third card. However, if the total is eight or nine, the higher number wins. The dealer can do the same. When the third cards are turned face up, the winner is determined.

During the years, a lot of blackjack variations emerged but a few of them managed to keep players’ interest. Below, you will find a detailed information about the most widespread Baccarat variations. Although casinos tend to establish specific rules, there are certain details every player should be aware of.

It is important to know that depending on your casino of choice, your winnings might be a subject to a commission smaller than the standard 5%.

The payout for tie bets can be either 9:1 or 8:1.

According to various surveys, Punto Banco is the preferred Baccarat variation by American players.

In European casinos players get chips in exchange for real money, while in North America betting is made in real money.

Chemin de Fer

Chemin de Fer, also referred as to “railroad”, is the French version of Baccarat. In Chemin de Fer, the croupier sets out a stake. What sets this variation apart from the other ones is the fact that players compete against each other, instead of playing against a dealer. In case the player wants to match the stake of the dealer, they are supposed to say Banco or “go to bank”.

The player who does so becomes the next banker or make a wager that is smaller than the full stake required, so the betting can continue. Players are given the chance to make wagers until banker’s stake is matched. In case banker’s total is exceeded, the croupier can refuse the bet.

Then, the cards are dealt and the highest stake player plays for his bettors group. In case the total of their cards is 8 or 9, they turn over the cards. If the hand exceeds 9, the dealer is supposed to pay everyone’s stake.

In case the total is lower, the dealer collects the wagers.

You are not likely to find this variation in American casinos, though. It is played mainly in European casinos and French land-based casinos in particular.

In Chemin de Fer, the shoe moves counterclockwise and resembles a train. (translated into English, Chemin de Fer means railroad). The casino is not involved in the betting process and it does not provide the financial backing.

However, it provides dealers to run the game as well as the Baccarat equipment needed. What sets Chemin de Fer apart from the other variations is the flexibility it offers when it comes to drawing a third card.

The player has the option of drawing or standing on five, while the banker’s play is optional.

Players actively participate in the Chemin de Fer gameplay. Bettors are given the opportunity to shuffle and deal the cards. The cards themselves are dealt face down, while in Punto Banco, they are dealt face up.

The player who has the biggest bet sees the cards, while the others just wait for the outcome. Chemin de Fer is also the only contemporary Baccarat option where one can choose whether to take a third card or not.

Chemin de Fer card game

Baccarat Banque

In Baccarat Banque variation, the role of the banker is auctioned before the start of the game. This variation is also known as “a deux tableaux”, which means “two tables” in English. Here the banker is determined at the beginning of each round, while in the Chemin de Fer variation all players take the role of the banker.

There are three decks of cards in a shoe deck. When the cards are shuffled, the player is dealt two hands, while the bank is dealt one hand.

One hand is dealt to the left side of the table and one to the right one and then, players have to choose whether to bet on their side of the table or bet on both player hands. In this case, the bet is moved to the centre of the table. However, they are not allowed to bet on dealer’s hand.

Players have the option of “going bank” and in case they win, they have the right to take the banking seat. In case none of the three challenges is fulfilled, they are not allowed to make a second attempt to bust the same banker.

The variation is available predominantly in European casinos and the casino acts as a Banker, which enables you to make much larger bets. In addition, the game can take place even if only one player joins the table. In Chemin de Fer, there is a requirement for at least two players.

The drawing rules are not well-defined, though. The dealer might follow the American rules or apply some amendments in order to boost his chances of winning.

It is important to mention that in Baccarat Banque one player acts as a dealer and banker for the entire shoe. The croupier usually chooses the player to their right or the player with the biggest wager to be a banker.

Baccarat Banque card game

European Baccarat

There are two main differences that set the European Baccarat apart from the American. First of all, the player can choose whether to stand or draw on 5. The banker can choose whether to request a third card or not.

Banker’s hand is financed by the casino. For example, the banker is provided with $1500. If the first player bets $1000 and the second player bets the remaining $500, the other players are not given the opportunity to bet.

In case the player is willing to cover banker’s bet, he is supposed to call out “banco”, which means the other players are no longer given the chance to make bets during that round.

Punto Bunco

Punto Banco is the closest variation of the classic game of Baccarat or the so-called Chemin de Fer. The main difference between Punto Banco and the other variations is that the game action unfolds in accordance with established set of rules and there are no optional plays.

Punto Banco can be run by one dealer who is in charge of the game action. Such type of Blackjack style tables are to be found in smaller casinos, but if you pay a visit to an attractive gambling hub, you will see that casinos use the kidney-shaped Baccarat tables, where a total of three dealers are in charge of the game. These types of tables can host up to 12 players at a time.

Players are supposed to bet on the Player or on the Bank and then, the cards are dealt. The one whose hand has a total closest to nine is declared a winner. This rule applies to both types of Baccarat tables.

Players have to decide whether player or bank would be the winner and place their bet in the designated area on the table. If you choose the Player, you just have to place the selected number of chips in front of the numbered seat. However, if you choose the Bank, you have to pass the bet to the dealer and he will place it in a small box.

Players can also bet on a tie, which means they presume the player and the bank will have equal value cards and the outcome of the hand will be a draw.

As soon as all bets are placed, the player who occupies seat 1 takes over the role of a bank and starts dealing the cards and placing them at the centre of the table. Then, the dealer puts the cards in order. If you opt for the Mini Baccarat version, the dealer will be in charge of dealing the cards.

The first card is dealt to the player, the second to the bank, the third is for the player and the fourth for the bank. When both parties have their two cards, it is time to determine whether a third card should be dealt.

As for the payout, winning bets are paid 1:1, but you should not underestimate the commission you owe to the casino as well.

In terms of odds, placing a wager on a bank bet provides you with the best chances of winning, while the house edge for tie bets often exceed 14%.

Punto Bunco card game

Mini Baccarat

Mini Baccarat follows the same rules as the American Baccarat but what makes it appealing to players are the reasonable table limits that make it possible to enjoy the game even if you have an average bankroll size.

Plus, the Mini Baccarat tables are to be found on the mass casino floor and therefore, players are not required to be too elegantly dressed.

As its name implies, the Mini Baccarat tables are smaller than the standard ones and the game action itself is accelerated. A Mini Baccarat table can host up to seven players.

There are six areas on the Mini Baccarat table – tie, banker and player betting zones, a shoe, commission boxes, chip stacks. Players have three betting areas in front of them – a red circle, where they can put chips to bet on the player, yellow circle to bet on the bank and a white number that indicates a bet on a tie.

The croupier seats opposite the players and he/ she is in charge of collecting the commission players owe to the bank.

As for the other rules, they are no different from the rules applicable to the standard Baccarat version. Eight decks of cards are used and the casino collects the 5% commission on a banker’s hand. However, if you place a bet on the player and it turns to be a winning one, no commission is to be deducted from your winnings. If the hand ends a tie, no commission is collected and both parties get a refund of their wagers.

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