Many of us remember the exciting gambling action in James Bond films such as, Casino Royal. In it his game of choice was Baccarat and there was always big money at stake. This helped in a re-insurgents in popularity for the game in casinos around the world. It still remains a favourite with the high rollers and it is not uncommon for millions to pass hands in a single round, called a Shoe. Usually, for this reason, these game tables are located in the most privet locations in the casino where it is quite and without distraction.
The game it’s self is very old and originated in Italy even before the 1400’s and was brought over to France around the 1490’s where it quickly grew in popularity with Europe’s Royalty, and the elite. The name Baccarat is Latin for zero and, is so named because the 10’s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings point value in the game is 0.
There are three different variants of the game depending on what Country it is being played, and they are Punto Banco, Chemin De Fer, and A Deux Tableaux. Casinos in America, Great Briton, Australia, Sweden, and Finland all play Punto Banco. Oddly as it may sound the Punto Banco version of this game can trace it’s roots to the Argentine Casino called Mar Del Plate where it was played in the early 1950’s. It then spread to Cuba where the legendary Casino Boss Tommy Renzoni discovered it and brought it to Las Vegas in 1959.
It has remained the biggest money maker and looser for the Casinos ever since. Although card games such as Poker and Black Jack attract more players, this is because they do not cost as much to play. At first learning how to play this high stakes game seems somewhat complicated because of the scoring system but, it doesn’t take all that much effort to catch on. There are some similarity’s with Black Jack in that the player or the bank must take hits and take an additional card or, stick with the hand that is showing and, that two cards are originally dealt. The point system however, is entirely different. Basically a hands value is the right most digit, numbering from 2-9. For example if the two cards happen to be a 2 and a 3 it’s value is 5, if it happens to be a 6 and a 7, that totals 13 so the point value is 3. The highest possible hand would be 9.
When to stick or when to hit gets a little tricky but it goes like this. If a player has an initial hand of 0-5 they must take a hit, if the initial hand is 6-7 they must stick. Now if a player sticks on two cards the bank then plays by the same rules, hitting on 0-5 and sticking on 6-7 but, if a player takes a third card the bank must hit or stick depending on the players total hand. If a player drew a 2 or 3 the bank draws on 0-4 and stands on 5-7. If the player draws 4 or 5 the bank hits on 0-5 and sticks on 6-7. If the player draws a 6 or 7 the bank hits on 0-6 and stands on 7. Now if a player draws an 8, the bank draws on 0-2 and stands with 3-7. Finely, if the player draws an Ace,9,10, or face card as their third card,the bank draws with 0-3 and stands at 4-7. It takes an 8 or a 9 to win the hand known in this game as a coup. Ties are called Egalite and carry over to the next coup and pay at 8 to 1 odds. This is just the basics and it can really be fun the more you learn about Baccarat, just ask the high rollers!