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Land Casino Baccarat Variations

By: Joan Peppin, Thursday April 1st 2010
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There are three common variants of baccarat played at different land casinos. The standard online casino version of baccarat is based on the simplest of these variants. This article highlights the differences in these land casino baccarat variants and explains why it is not possible to play the more glamorous variants at online casinos.

The online version of baccarat is based on the land casino variant called Punto Banco. Punto refers to Player and Banco refers to Banker. Punto Banco is more common in American casinos, especially those in Nevada. In this game the hands of the Player and Banker are played by the casino and the bettor has no choice to make in this regard. All that the bettor does is decides whether to wager on the Player, Banker or Tie Bet. He wagers against the casino, which collects losing bets and pays out on winning ones. Since there is no bettor to bettor interaction Punto Banco is easily adapted for wagering at online casinos.

The most popular variant of land casino baccarat is called Chemin de Fer. This is the game that has been glamorized in many of the earlier James Bond movies. In Chemin de Fer the bettors play against each other. The casino only facilitates the play and takes a rake. The bettors bid for the Banker position, with the highest bidder winning. He then takes the position of the house and puts up the bid amount as the bank money. He acts as the dealer and deals the cards for the Banker hand and the Player hand. All the other bettors wager for the Player to win. The bettor who wagers the most plays the hand of the Player. In Chemin de Fer the third cards are not taken as indicated by predetermined rules, but both the Player and the Banker can exercise options. If the Banker hand wins then the bettor who is playing the banker collects all the bets. If the Player hand wins then he pays out all bets at even money. The bets are so placed that their total does not exceed the amount in the bank. The bettor who has bid for the Banker position can continue playing the banker until he loses a hand or voluntarily relinquishes the position. The Banker position moves clockwise or counterclockwise, as per the rules of the individual casinos. If a bettor does not want to be Banker he can pass and the next bettor will become Banker. Because the bettors play against each other and hold the bank in turns, Chemin de Fer cannot be played at online casinos.

The third common land casino variant of baccarat is Baccarat Banque. In this game the bettors wager against the house. There is one Banker position and two Player positions. The casino plays the Banker position, usually as per fixed rules without exercising any options. The two Player positions are played by two of the bettors. These positions involve exercising options for the third card. The other bettors can wager on one of the two Player positions but not on the Banker position. Each Player hand is independently matched against the Banker hand and payouts made as required. In Baccarat Banque because two bettors are required to simultaneously and independently play their hands, it is not possible to configure this variant as an online casino game.

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Comment by: kristoph On: April 06, 2010
Speaking about baccarat I was just in Vegas and I was surprised to see how many people were in the high limit rooms playing baccarat at MGM where I was staying. It's crazy actually how many of them were Asian as well. Guess it must be one of their games of choice or something!

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