The History of Baccarat
What do ancient French aristocrats have in common with modern Asians? They equally adore Baccarat! Baccarat, also known as Punto Banco, is a casino card game based on comparing total values of two hands: the Banker hand and Player hand. The game has been played since the middle-ages in Italy, Spain, and France.
According to the legend, the first rules of the game which were close to the present ones were invented by an Italian guy, Felix Falguiere, in 1490.
Since the fall of the 15th century, Baccarat became highly popular among the French elite and is still considered a game of high aristocratic circles (or just the rich guys), mostly because of high minimum bets at most tables. Baccarat is very popular among Asian players, who are known for betting millions on it.
The game developed through the centuries, and now there are three main types of the game: Punto Banco, Baccarat chemin de fer, and Baccarat banque. They all have their peculiarities, but the casino always has an edge of about 1% over the players.
In Punto Banco, the draw of the third card is determined by the rules of the game, while in other variations it’s the personal decision of the player or banker to draw or not to draw. As Punto Banco is the most popular variation of the game, played in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, and Macau - we’ll describe its rules more closely.
As a game catered to high rollers, Baccarat tables are all about luxury as well as everything that surrounds them. Luxurious leather chairs, richly adorned halls, courteous personnel offering expensive drinks - everything around you will scream unbelievable wealth. It’s not a rare case to see 1000-credit chips as a basic unit at these tables, and about a table maximum - well, it’s almost unreachable.
The casinos are trying to separate their baccarat pits from the regular folk’s places to create a feeling of exclusiveness. Some casinos even offer closed halls for baccarat, where you can only enter having a significant amount of money already converted to chips.
The Baccarat tables might be of different size: big, medium and small. Big tables have three dealers with pallets that will take your cards and chips and give you your winnings. It’s actually very interesting to watch the pallets fly above the table, turning the chips and passing them around with incredible agility and speed.
Baccarat (Punto Banco)
Punto Banco is the most common version of the game, where the casino always banks the game. Punto (player) and Banco (Banker) are the names of two playing hands, each of which receives two cards at the beginning of the game. Neither the player or banker can draw a third card by their own choice, as it’s determined by the rules of the game. If any of the starting hands’ total is equal to nine - that hand wins instantly. If a Player’s hand total is equal to eight and the banker’s hand is weaker - the Player wins. If none of the hands reached eight or nine - the third cards are drawn.
The rules of modern Baccarat are pretty simple, let’s start with card values as the card values are important to know:
Another thing you should know is how can you bet. There are three fundamental bets, and dozens of side bets that can be found in different casinos, or, in case of online casinos, in games of different providers.
There are many more side bets, but the ones that you see above are the most popular.
For those who want to dive into the rules and have an idea of how the game goes, have a look:
Players always want to know the perfect strategy for games of chance. Novice gamblers, the people who are bad in math, and the ones who take gambling too seriously might think that there is some system of betting or a guideline to win their favorite game. If the favorite game appears to be Baccarat - we’ll disappoint you now: there is no such strategy.
Baccarat is a non-countable game. Each player at the table has his sheet to count the streaks and trends, and you can write there whatever you want. Through each game of Baccarat, the 8-deck shoe is being dealt almost to the bottom, and if you count each previous card, you might have a solid advantage over the casino in, say, one hand per hundred.
The problem is that there’s no casino where you’ll be allowed to sit and wager nothing for hours, and then make a bet when the shoe is almost empty. Counting cards won’t help, but there is some intricate betting system for Baccarat, right?
Of course, there is such a system, and it’s called the Martingale System! No punching, please, it’s a joke! We’re trying to say that no system can help you win at Baccarat, and it means that you can use any of them - they all will be equally ineffective.
There are skill games, and there are random games, and you can’t beat the house edge of a random game by any means. Literally, in Baccarat there’s no difference between plain betting, betting through an intricate betting system, or betting all your money on one round. The sooner you deal with it, the better it will be for your wallet.
Baccarat is a very exciting game that might help you to make the long boring hours at Vegas way shorter and more fun. You can play baccarat right after you read this article, or even without reading it, as the rules are so simple that you can just sit behind the table and learn them on the go.
If you want to know how to win in Baccarat - we can only say that you do it exactly as in all other random games: you play wisely. If you won some - don’t test your luck too boldly, and if you lose some - stop before you lose too much. That’s how it works at all casinos of the world.
Updated: 14 Mar 2018