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How To Play Baccarat and Its Variations

Baccarat is a card game that is widely considered as one of the most elegant of casino games. While originally played only by high-rollers, casinos also have tables that allow play for lower stakes, with less pomp and ceremony compared to the tables for high-rollers.  It is a popular casino game, and available in practically any casino, despite the fact that many do not understand how the game is played. Baccarat is played between two hands, traditionally the banker and the player. The winner is determined by the total value of the cards in each card, with Aces worth one point, 10s and face cards worth zero, and other cards equal to their face value. The highest value possible is 9, with only the rightmost digit of the total value used.

The initial hand is comprised of two cards, with the first card dealt to the player, alternating with the banker until both have two cards. Once dealt, both hands are turned face up to determine the totals. Depending on the variation, additional cards may be drawn by the player and the banker. Three variations of baccarat are typically played in casinos, punto banco, baccarat banque and baccarat chemin de fer. Casinos often offer special rooms for high-rollers to play baccarat, for added security and exclusivity. Punto banco is also known as North American baccarat, and is by far the most common variation played. In punto banco, the casino covers all bets, and also plays out both the banker hand and the player hand according to a set of drawing rules. For this reason, punto banco is much more of a game of chance than other variations of baccarat.

Up to fourteen may sit and bet as players in punto banco, though there are smaller variations that have fewer maximum players, and typically also have a lower minimum and maximum bet. As the casino plays both hands, players may bet on the banker to win, on the player to win, or for a tie. In baccarat banque, an auction is held to determine who holds the position of banker, with the player willing to risk the highest amount holding the position until he retires or runs out of finances to cover bets. Once the banker is determined, the banker sits at the center of the table, with up to five players at either side. In baccarat banque, the banker plays against two player hands, with players to each side of the banker able to bet on their side's hand. The total bet limit is determined by the banker.

Player hands are played by the player immediately to the right and to the left of the banker, until that player loses a hand. The hand is then dealt to the next player in rotation. When the banker chooses to retire, the position is then open to the other players in order of rotation, who then continue to play, dealing from the pack used by the preceding banker. Baccarat chemin de fer is considered the original form of baccarat, and is still played in France where the game was first introduced. A player is designated as banker, with all other players designated as “punters” who play together against the bank. For each betting round, the banker bets an amount they are willing to risk, and punters may match the bet in order of rotation. Two hands are dealt by the banker, one for himself, and the other for the other players, with the player with the highest wager playing the hand. Should the banker lose, all bets are paid out and the position of banker shifts to the next player counter-clockwise. In the case of a tie, all bets remain for the next hand, while if the banker wins, the banker wins all wagers, and the banker position does not change.

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