Baccarat guide – Chemin de Fer

When the game which is now known as Baccarat appeared in France at the end of the 15th century it was called Chemin de Fer. This name means ‘way of iron’ in French. The game got this name because the decks of cards were in an iron box.

This variety of Baccarat is played with 6 decks of cards, which are shuffled together. As a rule, players sit at an oval table. One of the players becomes the “banker”, the others are “punters”. The game moves counterclockwise starting to the right of the banker. At the beginning, the banker and then every player shuffle the decks by turn,counterclockwise as well. The banker is the last person to shuffle, the player to the banker’s left has to cut the deck.Then the banker deals the cards. All discarded cards are placed in the centre of the table.

Starting each round, the banker makes a bet and then the other players, one by one, say whether they “go bank”, playing against the whole bank with a declared wager. Only one of the player can “go bank”. If there is nobody to go bank, the players make their bets one by one. If the total bets are less than the current bank, then observing bystanders can make their wagers to complete the bank. If the total bets are more than the bank, the banker can increase the current bank to match, or if he doesn’t want to do it the excess money from the bank are removed from it clockwise.

After that 4 cards are dealt face down: 2 to the banker’s hand and 2 to the player’s hand (for all the players in common). That player who has made the highest individual bet (or first in play order if there are several players with the same bet) represents the non-banker players. Then the banker and the player look at their own cards. If no one has an 8 or a 9, they announce this and the hands are open and compared. The player can take if he wants the third card; if he wants to take it the card is given face-up. Once the decision is made, the banker decides either to take or not to take the third card. After that the third cards are dealt (if they have decided to accept them) face-up and then compared.

If the player’s hand is more than the banker’s one, each bettor (except the banker)gets back their wager and a corresponding amount from the bank and the next player becomes the banker. Otherwise, if the banker’s hand is more than the player’s hand, all the players’ bets are taken away and put into the bank, and the banker keeps his position. If there’s a tie, bets remain as they are for the following hand.

If the banker wants to leave the table, the first player in order who wishes to make a wager equal to the current bank becomes a new banker. If nobody wants to do it, the new banker will be the next player in order, the bank in its turn will be reset to the amount that player wants to wager.