Baccarat (English pronunciation: /ˈbækərɑː/) is a casino card game. It is believed to have been introduced into France from Italy during the reign of Charles VIII of France (ruled 1483-1498), and it is similar to Faro and Basset. There are three accepted variants of the game: baccarat chemin de fer, baccarat banque (or à deux tableaux), and punto banco (or North American baccarat). Punto banco is strictly a game of chance, with no skill or strategy involved; each player’s moves are forced by the cards the player is dealt. In baccarat chemin de fer and baccarat banque, by contrast, both players can make choices, which allows skill to play a part.

Baccarat is a simple game with only three possible results – ‘Player‘, ‘Banker‘ and ‘Tie‘. The term ‘Player’ does not refer to the customer and the term ‘Banker’ does not refer to the house. They are just options on which the customer can bet.

Valuation of hands

In Baccarat, cards 2-9 are worth face value, 10s and face cards (J, Q, K) are worth zero, and Aces are worth 1 point. Players calculate their score by taking the sum of all cards modulo 10, meaning that after adding the value of the cards the tens digit is ignored. For example, a hand consisting of 2 and 3 is worth 5 (2 + 3 = 5). A hand consisting of 6 and 7 is worth 3 (6 + 7 = 13 = 3) – the first digit is dropped because the total is higher than 9. A hand consisting of 4 and 6 is worth zero, or Baccarat (4 + 6 = 10 = 0). The name “Baccarat” is unusual in that the game is named after the worst hand, worth 0. The highest score that can be achieved is 9 (from a 4 and 5, 10 and 9, or A and 8, etc).

Punto Banco (North American Baccarat)

In the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Finland and Macau, a variation of baccarat is played in which the casino banks the game at all times. Players may bet on either the player or the banker, which are merely designations for the two hands dealt in each game.

The cards are dealt face down, one to the ‘Player’ first, then to the ‘Banker’; ‘Player’ then ‘Banker’ again. This is the initial deal consisting of two cards each. Both cards in each hand are then turned over and added together and the croupier calls the total (e.g. five to the ‘Player’, three to the ‘Banker’). From this position the ‘Tableau’ or table of play is used to determine if further cards need to be drawn. Depending on the two hands, the Player and Banker may draw a single card or stand pat. The hand with the highest total wins.

If either the Player or the Banker achieves a total of 8 or 9 on the initial deal (known as a ‘natural’), no further cards are drawn. If not, play proceeds as follows.

# If the Player has an initial total of 0-5, the Player draws a single card. If the Player has an initial total of 6 or 7, he stands.

# The Banker’s play depends on the Banker’s initial hand, on whether the Player drew a card, and on what card the Player drew:

    o If the Player did not draw a card, the Banker draws if he has 0-5, and stands if he has 6-7.
    o If the Player drew a 2 or 3, the Banker draws if he has 0-4, and stands if he has 5-7.
    o If the Player drew a 4 or 5, the Banker draws if he has 0-5, and stands if he has 6-7.
    o If the Player drew a 6 or 7, the Banker draws if he has 0-6, and stands if he has 7.
    o If the Player drew an 8, the Banker draws if he has 0-2, and stands if he has 3-7.
    o If the Player drew an ace, 9, 10, or face-card, the Banker draws if he has 0-3, and stands if he has 4-7.

    The croupier will deal the cards according to the tableau and the croupier will announce the winning hand – either ‘Player’ or ‘Banker’. Losing bets will be collected and the winning bets will be paid according to the rules of the house. Usually even money or 1-1 will be paid to the player and 95% to the ‘Banker’, 5% commission to the house. (Commission Baccarat) Some casinos pay even money or 1-1 to both ‘Player’ and ‘Banker’ except when the ‘Banker’ wins with 6. Then the ‘Banker’ will be paid 50% or half the original bet. In this scenario the house edge on a banker bet is 1.46%, whilst the house edge on player and tie bets remain the same as commission baccarat.

    Should both the ‘Banker’s’ hand and the ‘Player’s’ hand have the same value at the end of the deal the croupier shall announce “Egalité – tie bets win.” All tie bets will be paid at 8 to 1 odds and all bets on ‘Player’ or ‘Banker’ remain in place and active for the next game (the customer may or may not be able to retract these bets depending on casino rules).

    The traditional form of punto banco baccarat is played at an oval table, similar to the chemin de fer version. The table is staffed by a croupier, who directs the play of the game, and two dealers who collect and pay bets as well as tallying commissions due. Six or eight decks of cards are used, normally shuffled only by the croupier and dealers. Like chemin de fer, the shoe is passed around from player to player, who acts as the dealer of the cards and as “banker,” but he or she does not actually bank the game. Indeed, the “banker” may bet on the player hand if he or she wishes, or may pass the shoe along to another player — the role of the “banker” is merely ceremonial. The person who bet the highest amount on the player hand is given the player-hand cards, though he or she simply turns the cards over, announcing their total. The croupier instructs the “banker” on if or when to deal third cards, and then announces the winning hand.


    In casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, this version of baccarat is usually played in special rooms separated from the main gaming floor, ostensibly to provide an extra measure of privacy and security because of the high stakes often involved. The game is frequented by the highest of high rollers, who may wager tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single hand. Australian tycoon Kerry Packer was particularly fond of the game, having won and lost large sums over the years. Minimum bets are relatively high, often starting at 25 USD and going as high as 500 USD. Posted maximum bets are often arranged to suit a player, but maximums of 10,000 USD per hand are common.


    Despite its simplicity (or perhaps because of it), the punto banco version of baccarat offers some of the lowest house advantage available in a casino. The player bet has a house advantage of 1.24%, and the banker bet (despite the 5% commission) has an advantage of 1.06%. The tie bet has a much higher house advantage of 14.44%, based on six decks in play.

    Because of its attraction for wealthy players, a casino may win or lose millions of dollars a night on the game, and the house’s fortunes may even affect the bottom line of a corporation’s quarterly profit and loss. Notations of the effects of major baccarat wins and losses are frequently found in the quarterly reports of publicly-traded gaming companies.

    Mini-baccarat is essentially the same game, but played at a smaller table very similar to a blackjack table. A single dealer handles the entire game, including dealing the cards. The pace is usually much faster than the “big baccarat” version. Betting minimums and maximums are usually lower. In casinos outside of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, this is frequently the only version of baccarat that is offered.

    Makccarat was a modified version of the same game played in Macau with the same scoring system but different card dealing order and rules. It was discontinued in 2008.

    Chemin de Fer

    This was the original version of Baccarat when it was introduced to France and is still the version that is popular there. The name “Chemin de Fer” (railroad) came about because the cards were placed in an iron box.

    Six decks of cards are used, shuffled together. Players are seated in random order, typically around an oval table; discarded cards go to the center. Play begins to the right of the croupier and continues counterclockwise. At the start of the game, the croupier and then all players shuffle the cards in play order. The croupier shuffles a final time and the player to his left cuts the deck.

    Once play begins, one player is designated as the “banker”. This player also deals. The other players are “punters”. The position of banker passes counterclockwise in the course of the game. In each round, the banker wagers the amount he wants to risk. The other players, in order, then declare whether they will “go bank”, playing against the entire current bank with a matching wager. Only one player may “go bank”. If no one “goes bank”, players make their wagers in order. If the total wagers from the players are less than the bank, observing bystanders may also wager up to the amount of the bank. If the total wagers from the players are greater than the bank, the banker may choose to increase the bank to match; if he does not, the excess wagers are removed in reverse play order.

    The banker deals four cards face down, two to himself and two to the remaining players. The player with the highest individual wager (or first in play order if tied for highest wager) is selected to represent the group of non-banker players. The banker and player both look at their cards; if either has an eight or a nine, this is immediately announced and the hands are turned face-up and compared. If neither hand is an eight or nine, the player has a choice to accept or refuse a third card; if accepted, it is dealt face-up. It is traditional to always accept a card with a hand that totals 0-4 and always refuse a card with a hand that totals 6 or 7. After the player makes his decision, the banker makes the same decision to accept or refuse another card. Once both have made their decision, the hands are turned face-up and compared.

    If the player’s hand exceeds the banker’s hand when they are compared, each wagering player receives back their wager and a matching amount from the bank, and the position of banker passes to the next player in order. If the banker’s hand exceeds the player’s hand, all wagers are forfeit and placed into the bank, and the banker position does not change. If there is a tie, wagers remain as they are for the next hand.

    If the banker wishes to withdraw, the new banker is first player in order willing to stake an amount equal to the current bank total. If no one is willing to stake this amount, the new banker is instead the next player in order, and the bank resets to whatever that player wishes to stake. Many games have a set minimum bank or wager amount.

    Baccarat Banque

    In Baccarat Chemin de Fer, it will have been noticed that a given bank only continues so long as the banker wins. As soon as he loses, it passes to another player. In Baccarat Banque the position of banker is much more permanent. Three packs of cards are shuffled together. (The number is not absolute, sometimes four packs, sometimes two only, being used; but three is the more usual number.)[citation needed] The banker (unless he retires either of his own free will or by reason of the exhaustion of his finances) holds office until all these cards have been dealt.

    The bank is at the outset put up to auction, i.e. belongs to the player who will undertake to risk the largest amount. In some circles, the person who has first set down his name on the list of players has the right to hold the first bank, risking such amount as he may think proper.

    The right to begin having been ascertained, the banker takes his place midway down one of the sides of an oval table, the croupier facing him, with the waste-basket between. On either side of the banker are the punters (ten such constituting a full table). Any other persons desiring to take part remain standing, and can only play in the event of the amount in the bank for the time being not being covered by the seated players.

    The croupier, having shuffled the cards, hands them for the same purpose to the players to the right and left of him, the banker being entitled to shuffle them last, and to select the person by whom they shall be cut. Each punter having made his stake, the banker deals three cards, the first to the player on his right, the second to the player on his left, and the third to himself; then three more in like manner. The five punters on the right (and any bystanders staking with them) win or lose by the cards dealt to that side; the five others by the cards dealt to the left side. The rules as to turning up with eight or nine, offering and accepting cards, and so on, are the same as at Baccarat Chemin de Fer.

    Each punter continues to hold the cards for his side so long as he wins. If he loses, the next hand is dealt to the player next following him in rotation.

    Any player may “go bank,” the first claim to do so belonging to the punter immediately on the right of the banker; the next to the player on his left, and so on alternatively in regular order. If two players on opposite sides desire to “go bank,” they go half shares.

    A player going bank may either do so on a single hand, in the ordinary course, or a cheval, i.e. on two hands separately, one-half of the stake being played upon each hand. A player going bank and losing may, again go bank; and if he again loses, may go bank a third time, but not further.

    A player undertaking to hold the bank must play out one hand, but may retire at anytime afterwards. On retiring, he is bound to state the amount with which he retires. It is then open to any other player (in order of rotation) to continue the bank, starting with the same amount, and dealing from the remainder of the pack, used by his predecessor. The outgoing banker takes the place previously occupied by his successor.

    The breaking of the bank does not deprive the banker of the right to continue, provided that he has funds with which to replenish it, up to the agreed minimum.

    Should the stakes of the punters exceed the amount for, the time being in the bank, the banker is not responsible for the amount of such excess. In the event of his losing, the croupier pays the punters in order of rotation, so far as the funds in the bank will extend; beyond this, they have no claim. The banker, may, however, in such a case, instead of resting on his right, declare the stakes accepted, forthwith putting up the needful funds to meet them. In such event the bank thenceforth becomes unlimited, and the banker must hold all stakes (to whatever amount) offered on any subsequent hand, or give up the bank.

    The laws of baccarat are complicated and no one code is accepted as authoritative, the different clubs making their own rules.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia