How to Play Baccarat
The game of baccarat has been around since 1490 in various forms. Although it is still popular in American casinos today, the game of Baccarat was only introduced after the limited success of its two predecessors in the 1950s, chemin de fur and punto banco. The first offering of a baccarat game was in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1959. Chemin de fur is still popular in Europe and is governed by similar play, rules and strategy. The etymology of Baccarat can be translated into the Italian "zero", an indication of the point value of all face cards in the game.
Baccarat has one of the lowest house edges with a percentage of on 1.17 when a bet is placed on the banker's hand and 1.36% when a bet is placed on the player's hand. Although the house edge is even lower with Blackjack players that can grasp basic strategies and poker players that have an extensive knowledge of the game, Baccarat requires almost no strategy, making it attractive to beginning gamblers.
However, early Baccarat games were often only designated to high rollers with the average minimum bet set at $20. The famous gambler Akio Kashigawa once accepted a $12 million challenge to play until he either won or lost $12 million to/from and Atlantic City casino. After six days of 12 hour play, the challenge was cancelled and Kashigawa went home having lost $10 million.
The Basics of Online Baccarat
Many online casinos, much like their offline counterparts, offer full size, 14 player games. At each table, a dealer (referred to as the callman) is highlighted. In offline casinos, this player would be responsible for removing cards from the shoe and placing them face up on the table. He is also responsible for saying the point totals for each drawn card as he places them.
In most online casinos, the callman is either a player (whose actions are automated) or a computer that randomly draws and places cards (the latter being the most common). At each table (offline Baccarat), there are also two other dealers that are responsible for paying winning bets and collecting money from players that lose. At smaller games, there may be only one dealer that assumes the roles of all three. In online baccarat, one computer controlled dealer is, by far, the most common.
Each Baccarat table is designed in an oval shape, much like a standard poker table. On the outermost portion of the table's edge, there is a column with numbers that marks the position of each player, from one to twelve. There is also a designated space for the dealer or banker. In the space immediately in front of each player's number, there are two spaces where bets can be made on either the banker or the player hand. If a player bets on the banker's hand and wins, a marker is placed in front of the player.
Playing Each Hand
Regardless of how many people are participating in the game, only two hands are dealt each turn. One hand is always dealt to the banker while the other is dealt to the player whose turn it is. The order of players determines the order in which each hand is dealt every round. Although the shoe is passed to each player in order, the actual player hand does not belong to any player in particular. Every player places a bet on whether they think the dealer or player hand will be the winner. Each player that bets correctly wins the hand.
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