What is Baccarat?Baccarat
is the French transcription of the Italian word baccara, which means zero. The game received this name because the 10 and face cards are counted as zero. Baccarat and a very similar game called chemin de fer are popular in casinos around the world, and especially in Europe.
Because the house edge in baccarat is low, it is profitable for the casino only when played at high stakes, therefore since the game was first introduced in Nevada casinos, it was given a form of elite game with a lot of glamour to attract high rollers. Nowadays, there is another game called mini baccarat, which is aimed to average casino players, but classic baccarat still remains exclusively the game of a roped-off area, operated by tuxedo-clad dealers.
How to Play Baccarat:
Despite all the air of elegance, baccarat is a very simple game, where neither players, nor dealers make any decisions except what hand to bet on. Baccarat tables have 15 numbered seats for the players, but these numbers are purely symbolical. They do not affect the game in any manner.
3 dealers operate a baccarat table. One of them, called the caller, stands in the head of the table and runs the game, while two others manage bets and pay outs. The eight decks shoe usually used in baccarat is not held by the dealers. Each player gets a turn to handle the shoe. Players take cards out and pass them to the caller, which places the cards at appropriate places. The player who handles the shoe is obliged to bet on the bank. Players may decline the shoe and sacrifice their turn to the next player. However, it does not give any advantages or disadvantages. It is more to a ritual than to anything else.
The players who bet on the bank and win pay a 5 percent commission to the house. This commission is not charged immediately, but recorded and kept in a numbered box located in front of the payoff dealers. When the shoe ends all players pay the commissions accumulated until the moment. When the shoe is depleted of cards, all decks are thoroughly shuffled and placed back in the shoe to start a new game.