What is Baccarat?

You might not have heard of baccarat. Although the game has been around a while (deriving from the European games Punto Banco and chemin de fer), it’s still relatively unknown. However, many online casino players love this game for its quick pace and excellent odds. What is Baccarat?

What is Baccarat and Where Did it Come From?

Baccarat means zero and originates from the Italian word baccara. The game takes this name because face cards and tens have a value of zero according to the rules. Baccarat most likely originated in Italy but became popular in France. In France, the game went down a storm with aristocrats during the reign of King Charles VIII.

Las Vegas casinos first offered conventional baccarat in 1959, after first playing the game’s precursor, chemin de fer. Both games thrived in underground casinos in the eastern states of America.

Baccarat Set Up

In the game of baccarat, each person will receive two cards, and a third may then follow if requested by the player. The values are added up and the nearest to a total of nine wins. If the total is above nine, the value returns to zero.

In the table game, the player’s wagers are shown by numbers on the casino table. Each person betting has a lined-off area in front of the numbers to indicate if they are betting on the banker or player hand.

There are numbers in front of the dealer for each person playing. Whenever somebody wins a banker bet, the dealer places a mark in the box for that person. That’s to let the casino know you’re due to pay a commission on those winnings (most casinos charge a five percent commission on winning banker bets).

At the full size 14 player baccarat games, one dealer known as the callman stands up. The callman turns cards facing up after they are dealt. The callman’s responsibilities include calling out the totals of each of the hands and announcing if either hand gets another card or not. Two dealers sit either side of the callman; their job is to pay winning bets and collect losing ones.

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The Rise of Baccarat

Baccarat is growing in popularity. For many years, it was a secretive game played in lavish underground venues. At this time, baccarat was seen as a game for the wealthy.

In the 1980s however, casinos started making baccarat available to all players. These casinos particularly promoted mini baccarat, a version of baccarat played on a seven-player blackjack table. Mini baccarat appealed to players for its speed and simplicity. The smaller table also offered a more intimate atmosphere.

Whereas the traditional baccarat table had three dealers, the mini baccarat table had one. This dealer took on the duties of the former three dealers, but the rules remained the same.

To learn more about baccarat strategy, here are some other articles you’ll enjoy:

Baccarat glossary of terms
Baccarat strategy: exploring tactics that work
Online baccarat: four tips to get started