Baccarat

History
Rules
Strategies


History

Baccarat has long held the attention of gamblers and an early version was played with cards from a Tarot deck back in the middle ages. A more modern variant originated in Italy (Europe) around 1490 and at the present time it is most popular in European casinos.

BaccaratThe word Baccarat is derived from the Italian word baccara, meaning zero, and refers to the zero value given to all of the face cards and tens. In the 1500s, it was introduced to French aristocrats looking for a new and exciting game of chance by their Italian counterparts. They called it 'Chemin De Fer', the French term for railroad.

In the 1900s, when the game became fashionable on the French Riviera (game of choice for the French nobility), players nicknamed it 'Chemmy' or 'Shimmy'.

Chemin De Fer traveled from Europe to South America and found a new home in Argentina. Casinos in Mar Del Plata (Argentina) became a gambling paradise for wealthy South Americans. When the game reached Cuba, it underwent a rule change that turned it into American Baccarat (in American Baccarat each player bets against the house; in Chemin De Fer, players bet among themselves). In 1958, at Capri Hotel Casino in Havana (Cuba), a young casino executive named Francis 'Tommy' Renzoni, spent countless hours watching gamblers play Baccarat.

When Renzoni left Cuba and settled in Nevada, he persuaded the owners of Sands Hotel to open up a Baccarat pit. But the game was not an overnight success in the United States. The separated pit and the game's sophisticated aura intimidated American gamblers, who at this time were mostly craps players who had picked up a liking for the dice during military service in WW II.

During that time a special form of Baccarat was introduced in many Las Vegas casinos and the game has become even more popular. In this variation of Baccarat the role of banker is usually held permanently by the House or Casino; only one non-Banker hand is dealt, and bets may be played either with or against the Banker.

Its popularity increased steadily in the United States, Australia and England during the past century. Traditionally, the Baccarat pit is set aside from the main casino area, away from all of the 'common' games, and 'common' players.

Now that the internet is fast evolving into becoming a highly diversified meeting place and playground, it has grown to include Online Baccarat. Gambling has now become firmly rooted in the electronic age, so it was only natural that it should gravitate to the Internet in the form of online Baccarat. The number of internet users is increasing steadily each week and more money and resources are being poured into the infrastructure. The resulting increase in bandwidth will provide support for a high degree of interaction between users and online Baccarat. As this becomes a reality, online Baccarat will take a permanent place amongst hundreds of other forms of internet based entertainment.


Rules

Initially 2 hands are dealt; one to the Baccarat player and one for the banker. The simplicity of Baccarat rules is, you can bet on either one or the other, or a tie. If the hand you bet on wins, you get an even money payoff, that's one to one. If you bet 5 and win, you get your 5 back, and another 5. If you bet on a tie, you get an 8 to 1 payoff (bet 5 get 5 plus 40). This is of course because a tie occurs less than once out of every 10 hands, making it quite a gamble.

Each hand gets 2 initial cards. The hand closest to 9 wins. Tens and face cards (except the ace) count as zero. The ace counts as 1, and cards 2 through 9 are worth face value. Baccarat rules state that the hand closest to a count of 9 wins.

There is no 'bust' as in poker, and here is the tricky part. The first digit of a 2 digit total is dropped. This means, if a 6 and a 7 are drawn, the total is 13, but the first digit is dropped, so the count is 3.

If the first 2 cards achieve a count of 8 or 9 it is called a 'natural', and as such wins automatically (excluding the event of a tie of equal valued 'naturals').

If neither initial hand is a natural, additional cards are drawn to determine a winner.

Baccarat rules state that winning banker bets are subject to a 5% house commission. This is of course because there is more of a chance for a banker win.

What's interesting, and what you won't learn from reading any standard Baccarat rules pages, is that even after the 5% house commission, there is still an advantage to betting on the house. The margin is slim at 0.19%, but it does exist.

All bets are made before the cards are dealt. In real life Baccarat each player gets the chance to deal if they want to, or they have the option of passing to the next player.


Strategies

Baccarat strategy is often said to be non-existent. Not so. There are a number of things you can do to increase your odds of winning this game, and there are a number of things you can avoid doing. Many people will give you advice on what they would call a Baccarat strategy. Unfortunately the majority of the time these are myths.

The first thing you notice about Baccarat at land based casinos, is that almost everyone at the table is tracking the results of each hand on scorecards. These people are pattern chasing, or pattern spotting.

Quite simply they are looking for patterns in the outcomes of the hands. You may ask why. If so you may be intelligent! There is no rhyme or reason to use pattern spotting as a Baccarat strategy , it's simply superstition. Where is the rational behind thinking a randomly shuffled shoe of 8 decks is going to follow distinct patterns?

So although you may see everyone around you marking down numbers, take it as entertaining company, but don't be fooled into participating. Think about it, would the casinos provide everyone with a pencil and chart if they were really worth anything?

Card counting is another technique that people attempt to utilize as a Baccarat strategy. This method is usually associated with Black Jack and involves keeping track of cards that have been played from the shoe in order to gain an advantage against the house. This sounds awfully promising considering the nature of Baccarat. As more cards are played from the shoe, the more you know about the cards that are left. But even though cards can be shown to be mathematically favorable or unfavorable, the effect is miniscule.

Unlike Black Jack you can't alter your bet mid-hand. Using card counting as a Baccarat strategy finds so few situations with an advantage against the house that the efforts overall are worthless. Baccarat can be considered a coin toss played with a lot of fanfare. Don't let this impression lure you towards systems that involve doubling your bet until you win. Streak analysis or pattern spotting is also useless, but serves as entertainment in a game where the simplicity can produce monotony. Looking at the numbers the odds are always better if you bet on the banker. Does this mean you should always bet on the banker? Technically yes. Practically, perhaps not. This Baccarat strategy would be undeniably boring, and so you wouldn't be playing for very long. Remember, the house does have an edge, even though it is relatively small for Baccarat. This means that in the long run the house will win, undeniably.

The point here is, although the casino does have the advantage in the long run, Baccarat provides a rare opportunity for short term success. Try to escape with your winnings and don't chase your losses. Never lose track of how much you are betting per hour, this is your best possible Baccarat strategy.


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