The end of the 19th century saw the game’s journey to America. Baccarat didn’t quite take off as another casino card game, Blackjack, was already quite popular in America at the time.
According to baccaratinbooks.com, baccarat found popularity in Cuba with the name Punto Banco, which means player-banker, and that Tommy Renzoni, a casino player and writer, brought the game to Las Vegas in the 1950s where its rebirth began. In casinos today, players will most likely find all three variations of the game with Punto Banco, also known as North American baccarat, being the most popular. Players will also find the scaled-down version, mini-baccarat, which was introduced by casinos in the 1980s to cater to average customers.
So how do you play baccarat and what is the objective? The player makes no hitting decisions, only wagering decisions and the object is to get closest to a total of nine. Aces count as one, tens, jacks, queens and kings are zero and two through nine count as their actual value.
According to about.com, a gambler at the baccarat table may wager on three things: the player’s hand winning, the dealer’s hand winning and a tie. Regardless of how many people are playing, only two hands are dealt. The banker hand and the player hand. Any customer may bet on either hand.
If you bet on the most likely of the three occurrences, the Banker hand winning, you pay a commission of 5% that the dealer will collect should you win. Your payoff is 1 to 1, or even money. If you bet on the player hand winning, you are paid 1 to 1, should it win. If the player and banker hand are the same, it is a tie, and neither bet wins or loses, unless you bet on a tie before the hand was dealt. Ties pay 8 to 1.
Baccarat is played on a large table that can comfortably seat 12 to 14 players. The game is played with standard English decks of 52-cards, usually six or eight, shuffled and placed in a shoe. A cut-card is placed 16 cards from the end of the shoe. When it is drawn, it indicates the last hand of the shoe. After all players make their wagers, a two-card hand is dealt out to the “player” and the “banker” spots, one card at a time, starting with the “player.” These are the only hands dealt, and all wagers at the table rest on the outcome of these two hands. The totals are compared, and specific drawing rules are used to determine whether the “player” should receive a third card, and then, based on the value of any card dealt to the player, whether the banker should receive a third card. The outcome is then determined by comparing the totals.
Today’s players can find any number of baccarat games online, along with the rest of the rules of the game. So brush up on this fun, and relatively easy, game before you head to your next meeting at the casino!