Apparently of Italian origin, dating back to the 14th century, although it didn’t gain popularity in Europe until the 19th century.
It was often played by the French in private gaming rooms until the legalization of casino gambling in 1907.
It is still one of the casino games that has the lowest house edge (just over 1%).
Punto Banco is the most widely used version in casinos in the United States, and online.
There are several other variations which we shall also mention.
The table hasn’t changed much over the years, and although there are lots of different tables around they all consist of the same basic layout.
Multi Player Table
Single Player Table
This is played with a maximum of 14 Players against the house, in a similar fashion to Blackjack and not against other players.
The game is played from a shoe containing either six decks or eight decks.
All face cards and 10s have no value, and all cards less than 10 are counted at face value, and Aces count as 1.
Only single digit values are valid, so any count that reaches a double digit drops the left digit.
As you can see here:
There game consists of 2 basic bets, Player (Punto) or Banker (Banco), as well as the seldom used standoff bet that is used for a tie.
The object of the game is to bet on which hand will get closest to 9, the banker or the player.
If either is dealt an 8 or a 9 with the first two cards, (this is called a natural), the hand is over, with the party that received it the winner.
If this is not the case, then then additional cards are drawn as follows:
If the Players total is 5 or less he takes another card, if the player then reaches 6 he will stand.
The third card will be dealt automatically, the Player does not need to request it.
The Banker will then follow these rules depending on the total of his hand:
0-3 - He will draw.
3 - He will draw unless the Player has 8
4 - He will draw if the Player has 2-7
5 - He will draw if the Player has 4-7
6 - He will draw if the Player has 6 or 7
7 - He will stand
8 & 9 As already mentioned, are Naturals and he will stand.
Here are a few example hands:
*Remember any card 10 or over has a value of 0
*Here you can see the Player had K, A = 1, so they drew another card (the 9) making the total 10.
As the left hand digit is removed if the count reaches double digits, the total here will drop to
Punto bet pays 1:1
Banco bet pays 0.95:1 (This is actually a 1:1 bet, but there is a 5% commission taken on Banco bets)
Egalité (tie) pays 8:1
*If you bet on either Banco or Punto and the game is a tie you will receive your stake back.
Player Bet - 1.24%
Banker Bet - 1.06%
Tie - 14.36%
Player Bet - 44.62%
Banker Bet - 45.86%
Tie - 9.52%
Other variations of Baccarat have slightly different playing procedures and rules, as we can see below:
The French version of the game, played with 6 decks of cards.
In this format all Players will get to be the Banker in turn, the Croupier is only there to shuffle the cards.
The cards are dealt face down instead of face up, and the player gets to choose to draw the 3rd card, it is not automatically drawn.
Whoever places the biggest bet on the table is usually the person to play first.
Very popular in Europe, and played with only 3 decks of cards.
One Player is chosen to be the Banker for the duration of the game, it does not rotate to all the Players.
This is generally played for lower stakes with a maximum of 7 Players, and 8 decks of cards.
The Dealer handles everything which makes the game run faster, it’s not uncommon to see up to 200 hands per hour with this format.
Only generally found in the United States,
Played with a deck of 36 cards (all of the face cards, and A-6).
Both the Banker and Players are dealt 3 cards, with the option of drawing an additional card.
It’s fair to say that Baccarat popularity has increased a huge amount over the years.
What was once a game played by the “elite” is now a game enjoyed by people from all backgrounds, and with varying sizes of bank.
The majority of land Casinos and online Casinos now have the option to play the game in some form.
Although the drawing of cards might be a little bewildering to the newcomer, the game itself is relatively simple one to learn and after a few games the draws will become second nature.
With some of the highest win odds in the Casino, and Baccarat is up there with the best in terms of value for money.
And for the final word… “Only gamble what you can afford to lose!”