Baccarat is the glamorous game of choice for high rollers. Its trappings include a special gaming table, blocked off from the mass of casino action and staffed by a professional dealer. At the swankiest of casinos players bet with real cash – $100-bills in America, although Europeans play for more modest stakes with oblong chips.
The rules of Baccarat vary slightly depending on whether you are playing the streamlined Punto Banco form of the game or its earlier more raucous cousin, Chemin de Fer (railway baccarat). Generally speaking though the gameplay is the same: wager on either the Player hand, Banker hand or Tie. A winning bet pays out 95% of the stake. If you are betting on the Banker hand you will pay a 5% commission to the casino so be aware of this house edge when placing your wager.
Players can place additional side bets on the outcome of the game including a Super Six Bet, which wins if the Banker Hand totals six points or more. This bet is available in online and land-based casinos alike and pays out at 12x the initial bet amount. Another optional bet is a Pair Bet, which wins if the Banker and Player hands have matching pairs of cards. This bet is available in all versions of the game and pays out at 11x the original bet amount.
In addition to the player and banker bets, most casino Baccarat games also offer a Tie bet which offers odds of 8 to 1 against. Some places offer slightly higher odds of 9 to 1. Score sheets are usually provided at baccarat tables to help you keep track of your progress, which is especially important if you choose to play Baccarat in a live casino where the action takes place around a table with other players.
Unlike most other casino card games, Baccarat was formerly played with the Player’s and Banker’s hands kept secret until after all draw decisions had been made. This is why the decision tables above show the best basic strategy for the Player and Banker with only the first two cards dealt.
It is possible to win large sums of money from Baccarat if you use good strategy and follow bank streaks, but it’s important to practice good stake management as this game has an advantageous house edge which means that it can be very easy to lose significant amounts of cash. Staking 10 units for each wager and playing in short sessions with a break between sessions is the recommended approach.
Baccarat is named after the town of Baccarat in the Lorraine region of eastern France where it was established as a glass workshop in 1764. Its milky-tinted glass vases were popular with Victorian collectors and closely resembled fine porcelain. These opulent creations were known as’malachite glass’ because of their coloration. It was not until 1860 that Baccarat began to trademark its products, and this took the form of a paper label attached to the piece. Post-1860 items bearing this paper label are now rare. The majority of Baccarat pieces now feature a scripted laser-etched mark which reads ‘Baccara’.