Baccarat - often also called Baccara - is a casino game that originated in China and is therefore very popular with players, especially in Asia. In Swiss online-casinos, the game has so far eked out a rather niche existence and, in contrast to classics such as Blackjack or Poker, is still little known.
Similar to poker, Baccarat can be played either against other players (Chemin de Fer) or against the bank (Punto Banco). The following rules refer primarily to the Punto Banco game. This is the variant you will encounter most often in the casino.
The structure of a Baccarat game board for Punto Banco is very simple, because it consists of only a few parts. The most important are the three betting fields: One to bet on the banker, one to place the bet on the player and one to speculate on a potential tie. By clicking on one of the mentioned betting fields you place your bet.
Depending on the table, it is possible that different side bets are also offered.
A Chemin de Fer table is even simpler. The individual places on the table are marked by separated fields, on which the bets are placed, as well as the cards are distributed.
Card values in Baccarat
Baccarat is usually played with 6 to 8 sets of the classic poker cards. Each set consists of 52 cards, with each of the four suits of hearts, spades, diamonds and clubs comprising 13 cards each.
In Baccarat, cards 2 to 9 each correspond to the number of points shown (so, for example, an 8 corresponds to 8 points), while the Ace counts for 1 point. The cards 10, Jack, Queen and King each have a card value of 0.
The values of all the cards a player holds in his hand are added together, so for example 4+5=9. But be careful, if the sum of the cards in your hand exceeds 9, only the ones digit counts. For example, 5+5=0 or 7+5=2.
Goal of the game
The objective of the player in classic Baccarat (Chemin de Fer) is to get as close as possible to the number 9 with 2 or 3 cards, or to achieve a score closer to 9 than that of the opponent. For example, if the player has 4 points and the dealer has 8, the dealer wins. In case of a tie, the result is a draw.
In Punto Banco these same rules apply as in the classic game. However, here the player does not try to beat the banker's hand. Instead, he bets on its outcome at the beginning of the game. So he has the opportunity to on it:
- That the dealer will win the hand
- That he himself, as the player, will win the hand
- Or that the hand will end in a draw
In Punto Banco, the player must bet on the winner of the game right at the beginning of the game. So you have to decide whether the banker or the player will win the hand or whether the game will end in a draw.
Once the betting is completed, the dealer distributes 2 cards to himself and 2 cards to the participating player. In classic Baccarat, the player receives his cards face down, while in Punto Banco all cards are face up.
The distributed cards are then used to determine the hand value of the player and the banker. If at least one of them holds a so-called "natural hand", as a hand with a value between 8 and 9 is called, the game ends immediately and no further cards are paid out.
Otherwise, the dealer distributes a third card according to the following rules:
|Card values of the player's starting hand||Next turn|
|0 to 5||The player receives one more card.|
|6 to 7||The player does not receive another card.|
Then the banker receives more cards according to the following rules:
|Card values of the bank's starting hand||Next turn|
|0 to 2||The bank receives one more card.|
|3||The bank receives one more card, unless the player's 3rd card was an 8.|
|4||The bank receives another card, unless the player's 3rd card was an ace, an 8, 9 or a card of value 0.|
|5||The banker receives one more card if the player's 3rd card was between 4 and 7.|
|6||The bank receives another card if the player's 3rd card is a 6 or 7.|
|7||The bank does not receive another card.|
If the player has not received a third card, the bank acts according to the same rules as the player. This means that if the value of the first two cards is between 0 and 5, the banker receives another card, but if the value is 6 or 7, the banker stops at the two cards.
The player usually receives one more card if the dealer beats the player's point value from a 2-card hand with the third card.
The above combinations of when the player and the dealer receive additional cards are according to the common rules. However, depending on the table rules, these requirements may vary slightly. We therefore recommend that you always take a look at the relevant table rules before playing Baccarat in a casino.
Chemin de Fer
The player sitting at the table to the right of the croupier is called the banquier (also banker) in Baccarat. The role of the banker is passed from one player to the next as the game progresses, and the card carriage moves around the table like a train. The banker bets on the bank and hands over his bet, which he wants to place, to the croupier. The remaining players, called pointeurs, bet against the bank. Representing them all, only one of the players is dealt cards. This is the player with the highest bet - the so-called "Ponte".
The bankroll and the stakes of the players must always be the same amount. If the bankroll exceeds the bets of the remaining players, the banker receives the difference back. However, if the opponents bet more than the bank, all bets that exceed the bankroll are rejected. The bets are counted starting from the right neighbor of the banker.
After placing the bets, the game can begin: The banker deals the cards face down. The first card and the third card go to the ponte, the second and fourth cards go to the banker.
When all the cards have been dealt, the ponte looks at his cards and adds up their value. Depending on the score, the Ponte's action follows:
|Card values of the Ponte's starting hand||Next turn|
|0 to 4||The ponte places his cards face down next to each other on the table and asks for another card with "Carte s'il vous plaît" ("Card please")|
|5||The ponte has the free choice to ask for another card or to stand still.|
|6 or 7||The ponte places his cards face down on top of each other and says "Reste" ("Pass") as a sign that he does not want another card.|
|8 or 9||The ponte turns his cards face up and says "huit" ("eight") or "neuf" ("nine"). The Banquier then also turns over his cards, no further cards are drawn in the case of a so-called "Naturel".|
Once the ponte has made his move, it is the banker's turn. He turns over his cards and sees them for the first time. If the banker has 8 or 9 points, a desired third card is not dealt by the ponte, but is settled immediately. However, if the banker has 7 or less points, the next steps follow using the following drawing rules:
|Card values of the banker's starting hand||Next turn|
|0 to 2||The bank receives another card.|
|3||The bank receives a third card, unless the ponte has received an 8. If the ponte has received a 9, the bank has free choice.|
|4||The bank receives another card, unless the player's 3rd card was an ace, an 8, 9 or a card with value 0.|
|5||The banker receives another card if the ponte's 3rd card is a 5, 6 or 7, or if the ponte passes. The banker has free choice whether to draw or not when a 4 is dealt.|
|6||The banker receives a 3rd card if the player's 3rd card is a 6 or a 7.|
|7||The banker does not receive another card.|
When both parties are served, the points are counted, with the higher score winning; if there is a tie, the coup is void.
If the banker wins, the payout is 1:0.95 (5% tax usually goes to the casino). The banker remains the bank in this case. However, the profit is not paid to him, but it increases the bank sum. If the new bets of the pointeurs in the next round are smaller than the bank sum, the banker may take the difference. If the pointeurs win, they receive a profit in the ratio 1:1. In this case, the banker must give up the bank, which then passes to the neighbor to the right.
Winning probabilities and payouts
The odds of winning in the baccarat version Punto Banco vary depending on which square you place your bet on. The bet on the banker offers the highest chance of winning with 50.68%, closely followed by the bet on the player with 49.32%. The high chance of winning on the banker bet is corrected by a smaller payout. The payout for a winning bet on the banker is 1:0.95 (5% commission is charged), in contrast to the 1:1 payout for a bet on the player field. The bank advantage on the two bets is 1.18% (RTP = 98.82%) for the bank bet and 1.36% (RTP = 98.64%) for the bet on the player.
The bet on a draw attracts with a high payout of 1:8, but the chances of winning for it are also very low. With a winning chance of 9.54%, not even the high payout can do much more and the RTP remains at a low 85.64%. Thus, the draw bet offers by far the biggest house advantage at Punto Banco.
Chemin de Fer
Also in the Chemin de Fer version, the payout for the bank is 1:0.95 and that of the player is 1:1 and thus identical to Punto Banco.
If both parties behave optimally according to game theory in Chemin de Fer, the banker has a narrow advantage over the pointeurs of 1.28%. However, as soon as the two players no longer behave according to game theory, this percentage changes.
The payouts, as well as the odds and RTP may differ depending on the game version and table rules. Therefore, please still inform yourself about the exact table rules in each case. This applies to both the Punto Banco and Chemin de Fer versions.