What's Baccarat?

When you enter the casino, there are many games to choose from ranging from the glittering slot machines to the exuberant table games. The velvet ropes are separating you from the baccarat tables where finely-dressed players engage in this seemingly complicated game while piling their chips higher and higher.

Baccarat is a card game that has been played in casinos around the world for hundreds of years. At different points in the history of gaming, baccarat was the most popular and fashionable game played. While there can be velvet ropes to separate high-stakes games from the ogling public, the game of baccarat is not reserved only for the rich and famous. And, while the game may look complicated to the new player, baccarat is actually quite a simple game to learn how to play.

Strangely enough, the name of the game is also the name for the worst hand in the game: a zero. Players count the cards' face value, with the Jack, Queen and King worth 10, and the Ace worth 11. Once you add the sum of your cards point value, you ignore the tens digit. For example, if you have a 4 + 5 your total is the best possible total in the game of 9; but cards 4 + 6 = 10, drop the tens digit and you are left with 0 - baccarat!

The game uses two distinct actors throughout game play, the "Banker" and the "Player". Their specific role is different based on the baccarat variation that you are playing. However, you can place your bet on the success of the Banker or the Player. The Player and the Banker are dealt two cards each, the total is counted and that will determine if the Player is allowed to take another card. A third card is dealt based on a tableau listing a total and a directive. For example, the Player's Rule is to draw when their total is 0-5 and to stand pat with a 6 or 7. The Banker will take a third card based on the Player's action. The one who has a total of 9 or closest is declared the winner.

Set around an oval table, baccarat is attended to by a croupier, who deals the cards according to the tableau and announces the winning hand. Depending on the variation of baccarat you are playing, a wooden pallet called a "shoe" may be passed around to indicate who the Banker is.

The three main variants of baccarat are: Chemin de Fer, Baccarat Banque and Punto Banco (often called the North American version). These games have a few small differences that make a huge impact on the odds of the game, therefore, players should be crystal clear to the version they are playing at. To discover the details that differentiate these games, learn how to play the great game of baccarat.