The History of Baccarat
Baccarat is believed to be one of the oldest casino games on record, having originated in Italy and been first documented in France in the late 1400s. The names is derived from “baccarat”, which directly translated from Italian means “zero”; this is why any hand in the game that comes to a value of zero is Baccarat.
All kings, queens, tens and jacks in baccarat also have a value of nought. The first version of Baccarat to appear was Baccarat Chemin de Fer (“chemin de fer” meaning “railroad” in French), and was introduced and played by the troops of Charles VIII who reigned at the time. It was soon adopted as a preferred gambling game by French aristocracy.
Baccarat is thought to have taken a while to truly become popular, only establishing itself as a staple casino game in Europe into the 19th century. Several variations of the game were being played around this time, but the English Punto Banco increased in popularity and spread to South America and the USA.
The Types of Baccarat
The major differences in the various Baccarat versions can be found in how the cards are dealt and the rules regarding the third card. Baccarat Chemin de Fer is a relatively rare variation of Baccarat, despite being the original version of the game. Each Baccarat Chemin de Fer player is given the option of shuffling and dealing the cards, which are always dealt face down. Players also have the option to choose an additional card, the third card. The player who has placed the highest wager is allowed to see the cards while the other players must wait to learn the outcome.
Baccarat Banque, also known as Baccarat a Deux Tableaux, is similar to Baccarat Chemin de Fer, with the main difference lying in how the cards are dealt. One player is chosen by the croupier to act as both the banker and dealer for the game. The croupier will choose this individual either by selecting the player with the highest bet or the player immediately to their right.
Punto Banco incorporates as many as 14 players in a round, and operates with four to six decks of cards without jokers. In this variation, the croupier is required to shuffle the cards but the dealing of the cards is done by each individual player, moving in a clockwise direction around the table.
Mini Baccarat incorporates identical rules to Punto Banco, with the exception that the croupier shuffles and deals all cards. Mini Baccarat offers lower table limits than Punto Banco, making it an accessible game to any player.
The Baccarat Bets
Each hand in Baccarat consists of two cards and an optional third card, depending on the variation of the game. Once the cards have been dealt, the values of the cards are added and the hand with the value nearest to 9 wins the round. Three types of bets are offered in Baccarat: players may bet on the banker, the player and the tie. A winning banker bet will warrant a commission deduction, normally of 5%, for the house, due to more complicated third card rules for the banker and a slightly lower house edge.
Baccarat for Every Player
As well as being offered at most prestigious casinos, Baccarat is available to players in online and mobile versions. Online players may choose to participate in a casino-based Baccarat tutorial and try free Baccarat games, or try their luck at a real money version at a top online casino that offers this exciting game.