One of the classic James Bond casino games, Baccarat is popular all over the world. Many baccarat variations have been created over the years, and many are now played regularly in casinos. The basic rules of the baccarat variations are the same – to get a natural eight or nine in the first two cards or draw a third card to score close to the perfect nine. The five main baccarat variations in casinos today are Mini-Baccarat, Chemin de Fer, Punto Banco, Baccarat Banque, and European Baccarat.
Here, we explore and explain all the baccarat variations and the baccarat rules and strategy in more detail.
Chemin de Fer
First on the list of baccarat variations is Chemin de Fer. This well-known variant is similar to Classic Baccarat, however, there’s one key difference – players do not compete against the dealer. Instead, players compete against one another. Another difference is the banker sets aside the money he wants to wager.
Played predominately in France, the name Chemin de Fer means “railway”. Typically, players take turns to be the banker and the game is played with six decks. Once the banker has been chosen, he/she puts aside an amount that he/she is willing to stake. Each player is then allowed to announce a “Banco”, meaning that they are willing to place a bet of the same stake as the dealer. If nobody chooses to announce a Banco, players continue betting until they reach the amount that the banker has staked. If the total amount of stakes from the gamblers surpasses the stake of the banker, the banker may decline the wager.
The dealer then deals the cards and the gambler who has placed the highest bet is chosen to represent the rest of the players. Both the dealer and the banker check their cards to see whether their total is 8 or 9. If it is, they must turn their cards.
Another one of the popular baccarat variations is Punto Banco. This game was developed after baccarat made its way into Cuba in the 1950s. One of the main differences between classic baccarat and Punto Banco is the number of players. In the Cuban version, up to 14 players can play the game at once. The players are called Punto and the banker is called Banco – hence the name Punto Banco. Between six and eight decks are used in this baccarat variant, with the dealer shuffling and distributing them between the players. Unlike some baccarat variations, players don’t get to decide on the third card in Punto Banco; instead, it’s dealt automatically.
Next on the list of baccarat variations is Baccarat Banque, a variant played in French and European casinos. In this game, only three decks of cards form a shoe. A croupier or casino dealer distributes the cards, but the banker role is given to one of the players at the start of the game. Unlike some of the baccarat variations, the banker role in Banque does not rotate among players. The banker role is usually given to the player with the biggest bet or the first players of the list.
Once the banker has been chosen, the dealer shuffles the cards and then chooses a player to cut the deck. Three hands are dealt in Baccarat Banque – two player hands and one banker hand. All hands consist of two cards. One player hand is dealt on the right side of the table, while the other player hand is dealt on the left. The banker hand is dealt in front of the banker in the middle of the table.
Mini Baccarat is another one of the popular baccarat variations. This is best described as a mini version of the game, as the name suggests. One of the main differences between Classic Baccarat and Mini Baccarat is that the latter is played on a round table with only seven players instead of eight. While classic baccarat requires three dealers, Mini-Baccarat is played with just one who acts as both the dealer and the banker. One of the best things about this variant is its low bet rates which are popular amongst small-time gamblers. Unlike bigger versions of the game which are played in a private room, Mini Baccarat is played in the open like other casino games. If you still need to learn a bit more, check how to play mini-baccarat on our blog.
Last on the list of baccarat variations is European Baccarat. The rules and strategy of this game are similar to classic baccarat – the aim of the game is to guess whether the banker or the player will score higher with their 2 or 3 card hand, or whether the scores will be equal. Each of the cards in this variant has a specific value, with 10 and all face cards being worth 0 points, Ace being worth 1 point and the remaining cards being worth their face value.
The distinguishing feature between European Baccarat and other baccarat variations is that the player can decide whether to draw or stand when the total of his hand is five. In European Baccarat, the banker is funded by the casino instead of the players. This means that if the bankers funds are at £100, and one player bets £70 and the other stakes £30, the next player is not permitted to place a wager during this round at all.
Want to try out the game for yourself? At NetBet, we have a wide range of baccarat variants and slots, including Mini-Baccarat for those who want to keep things simple. If you need a bit more information on how to play baccarat, you can find all the details over on our website.