While most casino table games have more than one version – some claim that casino blackjack has over 100 known variations – baccarat is unique in that its two major variants are completely different.
What is now known as European-style baccarat is the original game, a descendant of faro, the same progenitor of modern-day poker. Technically, this form may also be divided into two separate games, “baccarat chemin de fer” and “baccarat à deux tableaux,” basically the only major difference is in treatment of the game’s banker. (In European baccarat, one player serves as the “banker.” Shades of Monopoly, eh?)
Baccarat is definitely in the mold of “minutes to learn, a lifetime to master.”
Here’s how it works:
The objective of the game is to score a total of nine points with two or more cards. Though any number can bet, only two hands are dealt, one for the “banker” and one for the “punter(s).” Cards 2-9 are worth face value; 10 and face cards are worth zero; aces are worth one point. When the player’s total goes over 9, 10 is subtracted from the value of the cards, i.e. a seven and an eight would be valued at 5, not 15. An 8 or 9 on the deal is an automatic winner. If no 8s or 9s are revealed, players may request one more card, in similar fashion to blackjack, though just one more card may be taken.