Baccarat is a card game with French roots. It started out as a casino game, became a home game during the French gambling prohibition, and then returned to the casinos once the ban was lifted. Today, baccarat is played in casinos world wide and is especially popular among high rollers.
Baccarat is played with one or several standard 52 card decks. There are no jokers or other wild cards. Using six or eight decks shuffled together is very common, but other alternatives do exist – including Single Deck Baccarat.
During a round of baccarat, the dealer will place two hands face-up on the table. One hand is Banco and one hand is Punto. The two hands will be compared to each other. If Banco is the best hand, all players that bet on Banco wins. If Punto is the best hand, all players that bet on Punto wins. If the two hands are of equal value, all players that bet on Egalité (tie) wins.
What are each card worth?
Baccarat has its own point system, where most cards are worth their numerical value but the cards ten, jack, queen and king are worth zero points.
- King 0 points
- Queen 0 points
- Jack 0 points
- Ten 0 points
- Nine 9 points
- Eight 8 points
- Seven 7 points
- Six 6 points
- Five 5 points
- Four 4 points
- Three 3 points
- Two 2 points
- Ace 1 point
How to calculate the value of a hand
You calculate the value of a baccarat hand by adding the point value of each individual card.
Example: A hand consisting of a queen and a four is worth 0 points + 4 points = 4 points.
If the value exceeds nine, only the rightmost digit counts.
Example: A hand consisting of a nine and a four is worth 3 points, because 9 points + 4 points = 13 points, and only the rightmost digit counts.
Which hand wins?
The best hand in baccarat is a hand worth 9 points. The hand closest to 9 points wins.
Banco is a four and a nine = 4 points + 9 points = 13 points = a hand value of 3 points.
Punto is a five and a queen = 5 points + 0 points = 5 points.
In this situation, Punto wins, because 5 is closer to 9 than what 3 is.
A round of baccarat
- All players make their bets. You can bet on Punto, on Banco or on Egalité.
- The dealer gives two cards face up to Punto and two cards face up to Banco.
- In some situations, this will be enough to crown a winner. In other situations, one or more cards need to be dealt. It all depend on the starting hands of Punto and Banco, and on the rules for the type of Baccarat that you are playing. You can find out more further down on this page.
- If Punto wins, the dealer collects all wagers on Banco and Egalité before paying out wins on all the Punto bets.If Banco wins, the dealer collects all wagers on Punto and Egalité before paying out wins on all the Banco bets.
If it is a tie, the dealer collects all wagers on Punto and on Banco before paying out wins on all the Egalité bets.
When are extra cards given in Punto Banco?
As mentioned above, there are situations where two cards are not sufficient to crown a winner. Exactly when more cards must be given varies depending on which type of baccarat you play. These are the rules for the type of baccarat known as Punto Banco. Punto Banco is a baccarat variant developed in the Americas and it is played with six standard 52 card decks shuffled together.
Rules for extra cards in Punto Banco
- If Punto’s two card hand is worth 0 – 5 points, then Punto must be given a third card.
- If Punto’s two card hand is worth 6 – 9 points, then Punto will not be given a third card.
- If Banco’s two card hand is worth 0 – 3 points, then Banco must be given a third card.
- If Banco’s two card hand is worth 4 points, then Banco must be given a third card if Punto’s hand is worth 2 – 7 points.
- If Banco’s two card hand is worth 5 points, then Banco must be given a third card if Punto’s hand is worth 4 – 7 points.
- If Banco’s two card hand is worth 6 points, then Banco must be given a third card if Punto’s hand consists of three cards and is worth 6 – 7 points.
- If Banco’s two card hand is worth 6 points when Punto’s hand is worth 6 – 7 points and Punto’s hand consists of just two cards, Banco will not get a third card.
- If Banco’s two card hand is worth 7 – 9 points, Banco never gets a third card.
What can I win?
The paytable for baccarat varies from one casino to another. This is a commonly use paytable:
|Punto defeats Banco||Punto bets are paid 1:1.
If you wagered $200 on Punto, you are paid $200 and have a total of $400.
|Banco defeats Punto||Banco bets are paid 19:20.
If you wagered $200 on Punto, you are paid $190 and have a total of $390.
|There is a tie between Punto and Banco||Egalité bets are paid 8:1.
If you wagered $200 on Egalité, you are paid $1,600 and have a total of $1,800.
- Baccarat is derived from a medieval card game named Tarrochi. Unlike baccarat, Tarrochi was played with a deck of the kind that we today call tarot deck.
- Baccarat was developed in Italy.
- During the reign of the French king Louis XIV (1643 – 1715), baccarat was played extensively at the royal palace. After the revolution, the new upper class kept the game alive.
- Baccarat was played at the court of Napoleon Bonaparte.
- In 1837, public gambling was banned in France and the casinos closed. Baccarat was turned into a home game, played in privacy without any casino to act as bank. It was during this era of home games that Baccarat Chemin de Fer was developed. The players must take upon themselves to be dealer and bank. An important aspect of Chemin de Fer is how a player, in certain situations, is allowed to make a decision regarding the cards, turning baccarat from a game of pure chance to a game of skill and chance.
- Baccarat banque is any form av baccarat where the casino is bank, so that no player needs to take upon themselves to be bank.
- Baccarat á Deux Tableaux simply means baccarat with two tables. It was developed in Monaco to accommodate more players. The dealer is seated between two baccarat tables. Each table gets it own Punto hand, but the dealer only deals one Banco hand. The same Banco hand is thus used by both tables.
- Chemmy is a card game popular in Great Britain and some of the former British colonies. It is a derivative of baccarat and the name is a short British form of Chemin de Fer.
- Punto Banco is a type of baccarat developed in the Americas. It was introduced to the United States by players that encountered it on Cuba (before the revolution). When Punto Banco first appeared in Las Vegas, it was called Mini-Baccarat.