Baccarat: Ritual, Rules, and Rumors

What makes baccarat incredibly fun to play is its simplicity. Almost anyone who knows how to play cards can play a game given, of course, that he has some cash to risk.

The Great History of Baccarat

Baccarat is an Italian word for zero. The origins of the game have been debated by many and everyone seems to claim it as theirs. One of the most interesting origins of baccarat, however, tells the story of a ritual held centuries ago. The Roman Etruscans in the Italian peninsula introduced baccarat over 2600 years in the past. They had nine gods who were all housed in the Temple of Golden Heir whom they were required to offer a blond virgin to. To determine whether the woman dies or not, a nine sided die was to be rolled in front of her and a specified number will determine her fate. A six or a seven meant that she could live and will be forever excused from rolling the die again. An eight or nine meant that she was to be promoted to a priestess. While a five or less meant that she had to wade farther and farther down the sea until she drowned. The rules of baccarat display a very close similarity to this story. Though the origins of the game are dark and grim, the game is absolutely fun and easy to learn.

During the 14 th century, the game flourished when the Crusaders once again re-introduced playing cards. Cards were often once thought of by the Church as the work of the Devil, but Gutenburg, in just about the same year that he published the Holy Book, also printed playing cards which then evolved into the first tarot deck where the four suits of the deck represented a certain class in society. To represent the serfs, the Clubs, which then evolved into cloverleaves, were used. The Coins which turned into diamonds represented the merchant class and nobility was represented by the Swords, which then turned into spades. The last suit, the cups, which represented the church because of its allusion to the Holy Grail, turned into Hearts. It is worthy to note that the first King of Hearts was Charlemagne the great King of the Francs and the Emperor of the Romans.

Felix Falguire created a game similar to the Etruscan ritual in the 1600s, using tarot cards. Thinking of a name to call his game, he decided of calling in Baccara, a Venetian slang term for zero which then turned into the the game we know today. Some say that the baccarat comes from the Chinese Pai Gow, which means to make nine, and was only introduced to Italy on one of Marco Polo‘s great expeditions.  It is interesting to note that Pai Gow also has the same banker rules.

Rules on Playing the Game

Baccarat is a not a complex game, but certain rules will need some getting used to. You need to understand the dynamics of the banker hand and player hand. Two hands are dealt and one is given to the banker while the other is given to the player. In the casino mini-baccarat, the objective is to bet on the hand with two or three cards with a sum that is closer to 9. If you are the player, your objective is to draw a two or three hand card that totals closer to nine than the banker. Remember that tens and face cards are all equal to zero, and all the other cards are equal to their face value. The ace earns you one point. If, on the other hand, the total of your hand equals to more than ten, you need to drop the ten and make the second digit the value of your hand. If you hand equals 14, for example, drop the ten, and your value is 4.

Two cards are dealt at each hand, and the point totals should determine whether the banker or the player gets a third card. The hand belonging to the player is always completed first. A maximum total of 8 or 9 is often called a natural. When a player gets a natural, he gets no more cards. If, on the other hand, the banker has a 9 or ties the natural eight, no more cards are drawn, and the player with a natural is an automatic winner. A player stands when his hand totals a six or seven. On zero to five, the player draws a third card if and only if the banker has no natural, in which case the bank wins without the need for drawing more cards.

Bankers have rules that are a bit more complex. The banker must stand on the numbers 7, 8, or 9 while he draws on a 0, 1, or 2 on other hands the banker is dependent on the amount of the players third card. Here are a series of banker rules for you to follow:

Hand equals 0,1,2: The Banker must draw a third card
Hand equals 3: Banker draws only if the Players third card is 0 through 9 with the exception of 8
Hand totals 4: Banker draws only if Player can third 2 through 7
Hand totals 5: Banker draws only if Player thirds 4 through 7
Hand totals 6: Banker draws only if Player can third 6 or 7
Hand totals 7: The Banker stands

Once all the cards are dealt, either the banker or the player with the total hand that is closest to nine wins.

The Only Possible Strategy

Remember, that there is no way of improving your odds in this game. Other than trying to avoid a Tie bet, there is nothing your efforts can do to improve your chances of winning. If you wish to count the cards, like the way people do in TV, remember that its only a facade. Professional research has proved that card counting in the game of Baccarat does not work. Baccarat is completely a game of luck, but if you utilize the rules to your advantage, you may just improve your chances of winning.