Baccarat is an elegant card game with a long pedigree dating through 19th century France to the Italy of the 1400s. The casinos of the world have always offered their more sophisticated clientèle the opportunity to visit the private back room where the high rollers were playing chemin de fer, punto banco, or other exciting baccarat variants.
Traditionally a game for the very richest and most daring and with odds that are close to evens, baccarat has seen some spectacular sums of money won- and lost.
Famously Akio Kashiwagi lost $10 million over a six day period at baccarat-though he’s said to have walked away with $2 million still in his pocket. Seated at the private playing table the players, usually numbering fourteen, place their bets on either Banco (banker) or Punto (player) or occasionally the more daring standoff and the cards are dealt from the shoe.
Two hands- Punto and Banco- are dealt two cards each and the sum of the cards is added together; in Baccarat picture cards and tens are valued at zero, and aces at one point. And this is where it gets interesting! The sum of the cards is taken, and the first digit dropped entirely, leaving only the units as your score.
So if your cards are a six and a five, once you add them up to make 11 and drop the first digit you are left only scoring one point! Depending on the cards a player can now either draw another card or stand, according to a complex set of rules which we go into in more depth in the How to Play Online Baccarat page.
The complexity of the game led to the development in casinos of mini-baccarat, featuring a smaller table for seven players that was more accessibly situated within the main casino. Online Baccarat has extended that concept, allowing anyone to enjoy baccarat from their own home, with the more complex calculation of rules done automatically for the player, and without needing to put on a dinner jacket!