Although baccarat is one of the most popular casino table games worldwide, few players have experienced the oldest variant of the game — Baccarat Banque. Also known as Baccarat Deux Tables (Double-Table Baccarat), Baccarat Banque dates back to the late 18th century when it was a favorite form of entertainment among French aristocrats. It’s still played in European casinos, but you won’t find it listed in catalogs of online casino games. That’s because the layout and rules of this baccarat game simply don’t translate well to an online environment. Keep reading to discover what makes Baccarat Banque unique and how to play it.
You play Baccarat Banque at a special oval table with space for five players on either side and two cut-outs in the middle, making the table look like a cello. One cut-out is for the croupier, and the other is for the Banque, which is the name for the player who owns the bank. At the start of the game, there’s an “auction” to determine who’ll be the Banque. Players place chips in front of them, and the Banque goes to the player with the biggest pile; this is also the most that the Banque can lose on any hand.
After that, the croupier shuffles three decks of cards in a shoe and offers it to the players on both sides to reshuffle before handing it to the Banque for one last shuffle. The Banque then alternately deals out cards face down to the player on the right, the player on the left, and themself until all have two cards each. The two players play against the Banque.
Players can bet on the hand of the player on their side, the player on the opposite side of the table, or both at once. They can’t bet on the hand of the banker. Bets start with the player to the right of the banker, then move to the player on the left, then alternating from right to left until all bets are in. Any player can say “Go bank,” which means they match the banker’s stake in hopes of busting them and taking over the Banque. If a player “goes bank” on both sides of the table, the two stakes are halved. A player can “go bank” a maximum of three times during a game. The banker’s stake sets the table limit. For example, if it’s $1,500, the total amount of player bets can’t exceed that amount. Winning bets pay even money, with the casino taking a 5% commission on winning banker bets. The banker occupies the Banque until the shoe is played out, or they lose their money.
Players Versus Banker
Hands are compared once all bets are in and the cards are dealt. The scoring system is the same as in all baccarat games: ace counts one, cards numbered 2-9 have pip value, and the face cards (10, jack, queen, king) are worth zero. If a hand totals 10 or more, the first digit falls away. For example, 9 and 6 will total 15, which becomes five.
If a hand’s initial two cards win, it’s a natural, which means an automatic win against lower-value hands. If it’s natural versus natural, nine beats eight. In the event of a tie, it’s a push. Tie bets are not an option in this baccarat game version.
If no hand is dealt a natural, the players and the banker have the choice to draw cards.
The players directly to the banker’s left and right represent their halves of the table for as long as they keep winning. When they lose a hand, it goes to the next person in the playing order. In some casinos, alternatively, the player who places the largest bet has the honor of representing the hand.
The player hand on the banker’s right is resolved first, followed by the player hand on the left, and the banker hand last.
The players’ drawing rules are similar to Chemin de Fer. Players draw on four or less, draw or stand on five, and stand on six or seven. The banker doesn’t have to stick to any drawing rules, so they can draw or stand as they please.
When it comes to baccarat strategy, there’s not much scope for variation here. The only choice players really have is whether to hit or stand on five. Bankers are recommended to hit on zero to five and stand on seven. Ultimately, the most crucial strategy in Baccarat Banque is bankroll management.
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