Baccarat (card game)

Baccarat (card game)


Baccarat is a card game played at casinos.
There are three popular variants of the game: punto banco, baccarat chemin de fer, and baccarat
banque. 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. Despite this, the winning odds are in favour of the bank, with a house
edge no lower than around 1 percent. Baccarat is a comparing card game played between
two hands, the “player” and the “banker.” Each baccarat coup has three possible outcomes:
“player”, “banker,” and “tie.” The name of the game is likely derived from
the Italian word baccara, referring to the value of all 10-count cards. Valuation of hands
In Baccarat, cards have a point value: cards 2–9 are worth face value; 10s, Js, Qs and
Ks have no point value; Aces are worth 1 point; Jokers are not used in the game of Baccarat.
Hands are valued according to the rightmost digit of the sum of their constituent cards:
for example, a hand consisting of 2 and 3 is worth 5, but a hand consisting of 6 and
7 is worth 3. Logically then, the highest possible hand value in Baccarat is 9.
Varieties of Baccarat Baccarat games were originally social and
private gambling games, but now are played widely in casinos.
Punto banco The overwhelming majority of casino baccarat
games in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Finland, and Macau
are “Punto banco” baccarat and they may be seen labelled simply as “Baccarat”. In Punto
banco, the casino banks the game at all times, and commits to playing out both hands according
to fixed drawing rules, known as the “tableau”, in contrast to more historic baccarat games
where each hand is associated with an individual who makes drawing choices. Player and Banker
are simply designations for the two hands dealt out in each coup, two outcomes which
the bettor can back; Player has no particular association with the customer, nor Banker
with the house. In some countries, this version of the game
is known as tableau. Punto banco is dealt from a shoe containing
4, 6, or 8 decks of cards shuffled together. A cut-card—a coloured piece of plastic,
the same size as a regular card, and which is used in shuffling—is placed in front
of the seventh-last card, and the drawing of the cut-card indicates the last coup of
the shoe. For each coup, two cards are dealt face up to each hand, starting from “player”
and alternating between the hands. The croupier may call the total. If either Player or Banker
or both achieve a total of 8 or 9 at this stage, the coup is finished and the result
is announced: Player win, a Banker win, or tie. If neither hand has eight or nine, the
drawing rules are applied to determine whether Player should receive a third card. Then,
based on the value of any card drawn to the player, the drawing rules are applied to determine
whether the Banker should receive a third card. The coup is then finished, the outcome
is announced, and winning bets are paid out. Tableau of drawing rules for punto banco
If neither the Player nor Banker is dealt a total of 8 or 9 in the first two cards,
the tableau is consulted, first for Player’s rule, then Banker’s.
Player’s rule If Player has an initial total of 0–5, he
draws a third card. If Player has an initial total of 6 or 7, he stands.
Banker’s rule If Player stood pat, the banker regards only
his own hand and acts according to the same rule as Player. That means Banker draws a
third card with hands 0–5 and stands with 6 or 7. If Player drew a third card, the Banker
acts according to the following more complex rules:
If Player drew a 2 or 3, Banker draws with 0–4 and stands with 5–7.
If Player drew a 4 or 5, Banker draws with 0–5 and stands with 6–7.
If Player drew a 6 or 7, Banker draws with 0–6 and stands with 7.
If Player drew an 8, Banker draws with 0–2 and stands with 3–7.
If Player drew an ace, 9, 10, or face-card, the Banker draws with 0–3 and stands with
4–7. The casinos list these rules in a more easily
remembered format as follows: If the banker total is 2 or less, then the
banker draws a card, regardless of what the player’s third card is.
If the banker total is 3, then the bank draws a third card unless the player’s third card
was an 8. If the banker total is 4, then the bank draws
a third card if the player’s third card was 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
If the banker total is 5, then the bank draws a third card if the player’s third card was
4, 5, 6, or 7. If the banker total is 6, then the bank draws
a third card if the player’s third card was a 6 or 7.
If the banker total is 7, then the banker stands.
A math formula equivalent to the drawing rules is: take the value of Player’s third card,
counting 8 and 9 as −2 and −1. Divide by 2 always rounding down towards zero. Add
three to the result. If the Banker’s current total is this final value or less, then draw;
otherwise, stand. 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 on Player bets and 95% to Banker bets.
Should both Banker and Player have the same value at the end of the deal the croupier
shall announce “égalité — 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.
Casino provision In casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City,
punto banco 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 very high rollers, who may wager tens or hundreds of
thousands of dollars on a single hand. Minimum bets are relatively high, often starting at
US$25 and going as high as $500. Posted maximum bets are often arranged to suit a player,
but maximums of $10,000 per hand are common. When it comes to online casinos, usually high
roller baccarat games are played in separate rooms. A player that wants to play high roller
baccarat online can do so only with an invitation which is not easily acquired. Most of the
time the invitations are given to players that spend lots of time playing baccarat for
real money. Because baccarat attracts wealthy players,
a casino may win or lose millions of dollars a night on the game, and the house’s fortunes
may significantly affect the owning corporation’s quarterly profit and loss statement. Notations
of the effects of major baccarat wins and losses are frequently found in the quarterly
reports of publicly traded gaming companies. The full-scale version of punto banco baccarat
is played at a large rounded table, similar to chemin de fer. The table is staffed by
a croupier, who directs the play of the game, and two dealers who calculate tax and collect
and pay bets. Six or eight decks of cards are used, normally shuffled only by the croupier
and dealers. The shoe is held by one of the players, who deals the cards on the instructions
of the croupier according to the tableau. On a Player win, the shoe moves either to
the highest winning bettor, or to the next person in clockwise order around the table,
depending on the casino’s conventions. The shoe may be refused or the croupier may be
requested to deal. In smaller and lower-stakes games, the cards are often handled exclusively
by casino staff. Midi and mini punto
Smaller versions of the game are common in more modest settings. In midi punto, the table
is only staffed by a single croupier and is generally smaller. In mini punto, the table
is no larger than a standard blackjack table, and the cards are dealt by a croupier directly
from a standard shoe. Table minimums/maximums are smaller.
Punto banco odds and strategy Punto banco has both some of the lowest house
edges among casino table games, and some of the highest. The Player bet has an attractively
low house edge of 1.24%, and the Banker bet is even lower, at 1.06%. Both are just slightly
better for Player than chances at single-zero roulette, and comparable to playing blackjack
by intuition rather than correct strategy. In contrast, the tie bet has a punishingly
high house edge of 14.4%. Most casinos in the United Kingdom pay the tie at 9–1, resulting
in a more lenient house edge of around 4% for the tie bet.
Despite having a low house edge, punto banco is not susceptible to advantage play, and
despite the superficial similarities to blackjack, card counting is not profitable. In his 1984
analysis, Thorp concludes that: [A]dvantages in baccarat are very small, they
are very rare and the few that occur are nearly always in the last five to 20 cards in the
pack. Nonetheless, many punto banco players record
the coup results as the shoe progresses, laying them out using pen and paper according to
traditional patterns such as “big road,” “bead road,” “big eye road,” “small road” and “cockroach
road,” and making inferences about the result of the next coup by examining the layout.
Recently casinos have begun to display the coup results in the current shoe using audiovisual
equipment. Despite the impossibility of altering winning chances by examining the result history
of the shoe, the use of record cards in punto banco is pervasive in casinos across the world.
EZ Baccarat: No-Commission Baccarat EZ Baccarat is a proprietary variation of
baccarat and is preferred in many casinos around the world. The EZ Baccarat draw rules
and outcomes are identical to those of classic baccarat, with the following exception: a
winning Banker bet is paid even money except when it wins with a three-card point total
of seven, in which case it is a “push” or a “barred” hand. The house edge on
a Banker bet under EZ Baccarat rules is 1.018%, which is just slightly lower than the house
edge on the Banker bet in standard commission-based baccarat. The use of this EZ Baccarat “push
rule” is equivalent to taking a 4.912% commission out of every winning Banker bet payout. The
three-card seven-point winning Banker hand occurs about twice per eight-deck shoe. In
addition to the no-commission feature, EZ Baccarat has two additional side bets: the
Dragon 7 and the Panda 8. The Dragon 7 is a one-coup bet that always loses except when
the Banker bet wins with a three-card score of seven. The Dragon 7 pays 40-to-1 when won
and has a house edge of 7.61%. The Panda 8 bet is a one-coup bet that always loses except
when the Player bet wins with a three-card score of eight. The Panda 8 bet pays 25-to-1
when won and has a house edge of 10.18%. The addition of the Dragon 7 and Panda 8 side
bets, along with the significant increase in the number of coups dealt per hour, results
in increased casino hold percentages from EZ Baccarat play. Apart from the principal
benefit of increased game speed, casinos prefer EZ Baccarat not only because it eliminates
both errors in calculating commissions and disputes with customers over proper commission
amounts, but also because EZ Baccarat is often much easier for the casino staff to operate
and supervise than is classic baccarat. Super 6/Punto 2000
A variation of punto banco exists where even money is paid on winning Banker bets, except
when Banker wins with 6, it is paid only 50% of the bet. This game goes under various names
including Super 6 and Punto 2000. The house edge on a Banker bet under Super 6 is 1.46%
compared with regular commission baccarat at 1.058%. This is equivalent to increasing
the commission by 17.45% to 5.87%. The Bank wins with a six about 5 times every eight
deck shoe. As well as its increased house edge, the Super 6 variation is used by casinos
for its speed, since it partially does away with the time-consuming process of calculating
and collecting commission on winning Banker bets; but still requires stopping the game,
breaking down every Bank bet, and paying 50% of its value each time there is a Bank winner
with a six. Chemin de Fer
Chemin de fer 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” came about because
the cards were placed in an iron box and predates its modern French meaning of “railway.”
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 held in common by the remaining players. The player with the highest individual
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. Traditional
practice dictates that one always accept a card if one’s hand totals between 0 and 4
and always refuse a card if one’s hand totals 6 or 7. After the player makes his decision,
the banker in turn decides either to accept or to refuse another card. Once both the banker
and the representative player 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. In 1960 Lord Lucan won £26,000 over two nights
playing ‘Chemmy’ at a high-end gambling party run by John Aspinall. However, Lucan would
eventually accrue significant debts. Baccarat Banque
In Baccarat Chemin de Fer, 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 banker 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. 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 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 or ties. 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 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 offered on any subsequent hand,
or give up the bank. In the laws of baccarat, no one code is accepted
as authoritative. Different clubs make their own rules.
In popular culture Royal baccarat scandal The Tranby Croft affair in 1891 and disgraced
socialite William Gordon Cumming’s subsequent lawsuit, known together as the Royal Baccarat
Scandal, due to the involvement of the future King Edward VII, then Prince of Wales, in
the incident, inspired a huge amount of media interest in the game, bringing Baccarat to
the attention of the public at large, with rules being published in newspaper accounts
of the scandal. Popular culture was influenced enough that the scandal became the subject
of music hall songs and a stage play. James Bond
Baccarat chemin-de-fer is the favoured game of Ian Fleming’s secret agent creation, James
Bond. He is found playing the game in numerous novels—most notably 007’s 1953 debut, Casino
Royale, in which the entire plot revolves around a game between Bond and SMERSH operative
Le Chiffre. It is also featured in several filmed versions of the novels, including Dr.
No, where Bond is first introduced playing the game; Thunderball; the 1967 version of
Casino Royale; On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; For Your Eyes Only; and GoldenEye.
In the 2006 movie adaptation of Casino Royale, baccarat is replaced by Texas hold ’em poker,
largely due to its great popularity at the time of filming.
References and sources References Sources
Thorp, Edward O., “Chapter 3 – Baccarat”, The Mathematics of Gambling, pp. 29–39,
ISBN 0-89746-019-7  External links
Baccarat at DMOZ

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