Baccarat pallet and cards
Baccarat (/ˈbækəræt/; French: [bakaʁa]) is a card game played at casinos. There are three popular variants of the game: punto banco (or "North American baccarat"), baccarat chemin de fer (or "chemmy"), and baccarat banque (or "à deux tableaux"). Punto banco is strictly a game of chance, with no skill or strategy involved; each player's moves are forced by the cards the player is dealt. In baccarat chemin de fer and baccarat banque, by contrast, both players can make choices, which allows skill to play a part. Despite this, the winning odds are in favour of the bank, with a house edge no lower than around 1 percent.
Baccarat is a comparing card game played between two hands, the "player" and the "banker". Each baccarat coup has three possible outcomes: "player" (player has the higher score), "banker", and "tie".
Baccarat first appeared in 19th-century France but was preceded by similar games like Macao, Oicho-Kabu, and Gabo japgi.
Valuation of hands
In Baccarat, cards have a point value: cards 2–9 are worth face value (in points); 10s, Js, Qs and Ks have no point value (i.e. are worth zero); Aces are worth 1 point; Jokers are not used. Hands are valued according to the rightmost digit of the sum of their constituent cards: for example, a hand consisting of 2 and 3 is worth 5, but a hand consisting of 6 and 7 is worth 3 (i.e. the 3 being the rightmost digit in the combined points total: 13). The highest possible hand value in baccarat is 9.
The overwhelming majority of casino baccarat games in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Finland, and Macau[examples needed] are "Punto banco" baccarat and they may be seen labelled simply as "Baccarat". In Punto banco, the casino banks the game at all times, and commits to playing out both hands according to fixed drawing rules, known as the "tableau" (French: "board"), in contrast to more historic baccarat games where each hand is associated with an individual who makes drawing choices. Player ("Punto") and Banker ("banco") are simply designations for the two hands dealt out in each coup, two outcomes which the bettor can back; Player has no particular association with the gambler, nor Banker with the house.
In some countries,[which?] this version of the game is known as tableau.
Punto banco is dealt from a shoe containing 4, 6, or 8 decks of cards shuffled together. A cut-card—a coloured (often yellow) piece of plastic, the same size as a regular card, and which is used in shuffling—is placed in front of the seventh-last card, and the drawing of the cut-card indicates the last coup of the shoe. For each coup, two cards are dealt face up (or equivalent) to each hand, starting from "player" and alternating between the hands. The croupier may call the total (e.g. "Five Player, three Banker"). If either Player or Banker or both achieve a total of 8 or 9 at this stage, the coup is finished and the result is announced: Player win, a Banker win, or tie. If neither hand has eight or nine, the drawing rules are applied to determine whether Player should receive a third card. Then, based on the value of any card drawn to the player, the drawing rules are applied to determine whether the Banker should receive a third card. The coup is then finished, the outcome is announced, and winning bets are paid out.
Tableau of drawing rules
If neither the Player nor Banker is dealt a total of 8 or 9 in the first two cards (known as a "natural"), the tableau is consulted, first for Player's rule, then Banker's.