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Baccarat : Game Tips & Strategies

The actual origin of baccarat is lost in history, however some historians claim that there is no reliable record of the game before the middle of the nineteenth century, and the game originated in Italy. The game is thought to be a spin-off of the French game "vingt-et-un" (twenty-one), the game we know as blackjack. It is similar in is a card game where the goal is to get as close as possible to a set number without exceeding it.

The word baccarat is derived from the Italian "baccarat" that means zero. The term refers to the face game cards and 10s, all of which have zero value in the game. It's been suggested that the game was first played with a deck of Tarot cards in the middle ages. It was later on introduced in France around 1490 A.D. and remained an exclusive game to the French nobility for some time before becoming a casino game. In Europe, baccarat and a similar version called "chemin de fer" are some of the most popular casino games.

According to many, the game was first invented in Italy by a gambler Felix Falguiere. He is said to have based the game on an old Etruscan ritual of the nine gods, who prayed to a blonde virgin on their tiptoes waiting for her to throw a nine-sided die. The result of the die decided her fate. If an eight or a nine was thrown, she would become the priestess; if she threw a six or seven, she would be banned from any further religious activities; if she threw any number less than six, she would walk into the sea. The basis of this game is very similar, but the rules and payoffs are much less dramatic.

Since baccarat's introduction in Nevada casinos, the game has assumed an aura of glamour. In most casinos, baccarat is played in a roped-off area. The intention was to attract the high roller, or the more sophisticated moneyed player. With the tuxedo-clad dealers, there is an air of elegance to the game.

Baccarat is played in a snooty roped off area to separate itself from the other games at a land based casino. Concentration there is of course difficult, making online Baccarat an ideal choice.

The players are usually very well dressed and the table minimums are often high. The regular baccarat table is about the size of a craps table with 3 casino dealers and up to 12 or 14 players. Each player, including the player dealing, may still bet on either the player or the banker but it is customary for the dealer to bet on the banker.

However, for all the enchantment, baccarat is primarily a simple game. There are no decisions or options; no degree of skill is required for either player or dealer. Players may sit in any open seat at the table, seating position does not affect the play in any manner. Each seat corresponds to a number on the layout, one through 15. Three dealers service each table. The dealer standing between positions one and 15 is known as the "caller." He runs the game as cards are dealt from a box named "the shoe".

Each player gets a turn to handle the shoe. The player must bet the bank when he has the shoe, but any player may decline the shoe and it passes right along from player to player. Again, there is no advantage or disadvantage in dealing the cards, it is merely a formality and part of the ambience that some players enjoy.

The caller receives the cards from the player with the shoe, places them in the appropriate boxes and then calls for another card or declares the winner, according to the rigid rules of the game.

Players bet by placing their chips in the numbered box opposite their seat. Bets may be made on the player or bank, and both are paid off at even money. In most games: bets range from a $20 minimum to $2,000 maximum. After the winner is announced; the two other dealers at the table pay off the winning bets and collect from the losers. If the bank was the winner, players who won must pay a 5% commission on their winnings. Thus, if a player had a $100 bet on the bank and it won, $5 would be owed to the house. Rather than collecting this after each game, a record of what is owed by each player is kept in a numbered box just opposite where the two payoff dealers sit. Player pay the accumulated amount after the finish of a shoe. Each time the shoe is depleted of cards, all eight decks are thoroughly shuffled and replaced in the shoe.

The deal will rotate around the table, much like the dice rotate around the craps table. If a player does not want to deal they may pass the shoe to the next player. The same person will keep dealing as long as the banker keeps winning. The person dealing will put two cards, face down, tucked under the shoe, and give the player with the greatest bet on the player the other two cards, face down. This player then looks at the cards and then gives them back to the player who is dealing. Then the player who is dealing will turn over the cards and one of the casino dealers will announce the totals. Depending on the totals the dealer may then instruct the person dealing the cards to deal a third card. Finally the dealers will pay winning wagers and collect losing ones out of the dealer's tray. The player who actually deals is not assuming any financial responsibility of the other players bets, unlike pai gow, and is just turning over cards.

Baccarat School Lessons
Lesson 1: Baccarat History
What does baccarat mean anyways? Where did originate?
Lesson 2: Baccarat Rules
Did you know there are three main variations to Baccarat? Also find out the specific regulations for the North American variation.
Lesson 3: Baccarat Strategy
Once you've learned the basics, find out the when is the best time to "hit", "stand". What is the house advantage?
Lesson 4: Baccarat Tips
Things to keep in mind. Is a game played with fewer decks really a better game?
Lesson 5: Baccarat Vocabulary
What’s a ‘shoe’ and is a ‘shill’ a type of bet? Find out.
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