When people say the word “baccarat” they are usually referring to the type of baccarat played in casinos throughout the United States. This variation has become known as American Baccarat.
There are many variations of baccarat played in many different countries. The rules often vary but the object stays the same – to get a hand that totals as close to 9 as possible. The things that vary from game to game is who gets to play the role of the bank, the rules about drawing cards and some other differences as well.
Chemin de Fer
This variation of baccarat is often found in European casinos and mostly in casinos throughout France. You’ll be lucky if you find this form of baccarat in North America where casinos prefer Nevada (also referred to as American Baccarat) Baccarat.
The object of Chemin de Fer is the same as other version of baccarat – to get as close to 9 as possible. The rules of determining hand values is the same as in American baccarat.
The game of Chemin de Fer differs in that the casino does not play the banker. You can’t just bet on player or bank, you must be one or the other. The role of the bank rotates among the players and players wager on themselves. The role of banker may be refused and it passes to the next player in line clockwise around the table like a train (hence the meaning of Chemin de Fer – railroad).
American baccarat is played with players betting against the house and the casino provides the funds for the bank and the game. In Chemin de Fer, the casino is not involved in betting and provides a “croupier” or dealer to ensure the rules are followed and the game runs smoothly. The casino also provides the equipment like the table, chairs and card shoe. For this the casino takes a 5% commission on winning bets on the banker.
The third card drawing rules are also much more flexible than in American baccarat. The player may draw or stand on 5. In American baccarat, the player must hit on 5 or less. Also, the play of the banker is optional.
There are 2 main differences between European baccarat and American baccarat. In European baccarat, the player may choose to hit or stand on 5. The dealer controls the banker who may choose to take a third card. In reality the game follows the rules for American baccarat with respect to drawing a third card.
In European baccarat the casino provides the funds for the banker hand. For example, if the banker provides funding of $1500 and a player bets $1000 and another bets $500, the other players may not bet any more.
If a player wants to cover the whole banker’s bet, he says “banco” and no one else may bet in that round.
Players who bet on the bank and win must pay 5% of their winnings to the house, as in other variations of baccarat.
Baccarat en Banque
Some European casinos offer this version of baccarat. The object of the game remains the same – to get as close to 9 as possible. The differences lie in who plays the role of the banker. In this case, only the house may be the banker which is represented by a casino employee.
When the casino is the banker, bets are usually much larger than when a player is playing the role of the bank. This version of the game may also be played with a few as one player. Variations like Chemin de Fer must have at least 2 players.
In this version 3 hands are dealt – one for the bank and 2 hands for the players. Players may bet on one or both of these hands, but not on the dealer hand. There are no real drawing rules. On occasion the American baccarat drawing rules are following and sometimes they are changed to increase his chances of winning.
Some variations of baccarat may charge a smaller commission than 5%. The payouts of a tie bet vary, but usually pay out at 9 to 1. In Europe casinos use chips to make bets, but in North America, real money is used to make wagers and makes baccarat even more exciting.