For much of the 20th century and the early 2000s, casinos had a limited land-based and online Baccarat offering. If the card game was offered, it usually was in the form of Punto Banco – something that still happens in many places. As a result, many players do not know about the game’s exciting variations, and they are missing out!
Thanks to online Baccarat software providers such as Microgaming, Evolution Gaming, and others, the classic variations are once again getting the treatment they deserve. You can experience the magic of some of them for yourself at our casino.
Chemin de Fer
Chemin de Fer is one of the oldest variations; so old, that it may actually be the game from which online Baccarat developed! The name is the French term that means ‘railway’.
It is a multi-player variant in which you cannot bet on the banker – a role that players take turns playing. The banker tentatively bets a specific amount, which can be matched by only one of the players. The rest need to keep betting until the amount is equal to or surpasses what the banker put aside.
6 decks of 52 cards are used, and the player that placed the highest bet is the first to play. The banker and player check their hands, which they will need to reveal if the value is 8 or 9. As you can imagine, it takes a bit of getting used to.
One of the most popular and widely available variations of online Baccarat, Punto Banco developed in Havana in the 1940s. Like Chemin de Fer, the version is played with 6 decks of cards.
The gameplay follows the familiar 2-hand format in which one hand is designated as the player and the other as the banker. You can bet that one or the other hand will win, or you can bet that they will tie. The winning hand has the score that is closest to, but not greater than, 9 points. Hitting is determined by complex rules.
Mini Baccarat is virtually identical to Punto Banco. The only real difference between the two versions is that the Mini edition is a low-stakes game without any bells and whistles. This variant also tends to be played at a faster pace and 8 decks are used.
Not often offered as online Baccarat, the variant known as Baccarat Banque is another of the oldest forms of the game. Only 3 decks of cards are used in the shoe, and the dealer or banker is decided at the start of every game.
After bets have been placed, the deals the cards. This is done by dealing one card to your right, one to your left, and one to the bank. The dealer deals second cards in the same way, so that there are 3 hands of 2 cards on the table. You need to bet on either or both of your hands and you cannot bet on the banker hand.
European Baccarat features gameplay that is similar to the Punto Banco and Mini online Baccarat variations, however, there are 3 key differences.
Firstly, the banker can choose whether to draw a third card. In other versions, hitting is determined by rules. Secondly, if your initial hand score is 5, you can choose whether to draw or to stand. Thirdly, in some casinos, the house funds the banker’s hand. If one player places a bet of the same size as the banker’s fund, other players cannot bet during that round.
As you can see, each variation of online Baccarat is wildly different to the next. Whatever players choose, they are in for a thrilling time.