Baccarat is one of the oldest and most popular casino games. It dates back to 15th century Europe, where it was a favourite with the nobility. Called Chemin de Fer in France, and Baccarat en Banque in England, it crossed the Atlantic and developed into a variation called Punto Banco. In 1950s Las Vegas, Baccarat became popular in the casinos, with special VIP areas set aside for the large Baccarat tables. Online casinos offer various versions of Baccarat, but all games have the same basic rules.
The goal of the game is to guess which of three hands will have points that add up to nine, or the closest to nine. Up to 12 players sit around the Baccarat table and bet on which of two hands, Player and Banker, will win, or if it will be a tie. Before the cards are dealt, players place their chips on the Player, Banker or Tie spaces. Cards are dealt from eight decks of 52 cards, with two cards dealt face-down on two spaces, marked Banker and Player. The players who hold the Banker and Player hands do not have to bet on their own hands to win, but can bet against them.
Cards from two to nine are counted at face value, while aces count as one point, and tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings as zero (or baccarat). Points are added up so that the hand does not exceed nine. For example, if the two cards in the hand are a seven and an eight, they are added as 7 + 8 = 15, then 1 + 5 = 6, giving that hand a score of six.
If either of the two hands is a ‘natural’, which is eight or nine points, they are immediately declared the winning hand. If a hand is six or seven, you stand, and if less than five, a third card can be dealt to decide the game.