baccarat

/bah"keuh rah', bak"euh-; bah'keuh rah", bak'euh-/; Fr. /bann kann rddann"/, n.
a gambling game at cards played by a banker and two or more punters who bet against the banker.
Also, baccara.
[1865-70; var. of baccara < F < ?]

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Casino card game that resembles a simpler version of blackjack.

In basic baccarat the house is the bank. In chemin de fer (a more advanced baccarat) the bank passes from player to player. In punto banco, it appears to pass from player to player but is actually held by the house. Casino play involves three or six 52-card decks shuffled together and dealt from a shoe (a box designed to hold several decks of playing cards). Counting spot-cards at face value and face-cards and 10s as 0, the bettor's aim is to receive cards that are closer to totaling 9 than those of the banker. For the purpose of totaling these cards, 10 or more counts only as its last digit (for instance, 17 is counted as 7). The banker deals two cards to the bettor and to himself.

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outside Great Britain and the United States, spelled  baccara 

      casino card game resembling, but simpler than, blackjack. In basic baccarat the house is the bank. In the related game chemin de fer, or chemmy, the bank passes from player to player. In punto banco it appears to pass from player to player but is actually held by the house.

      Casino play involves three or six 52-card decks shuffled together and dealt from a dealing box called a “shoe.” Players aim for a total count of nine, or as close as they can get, in a hand of two or three cards. Face (court) cards and 10s are counted as zero; all others take their index value. The cards in each hand are added to obtain the value, but only the last digit is significant. Thus, if the two cards in a hand are 8 and 5, the count is not 13 but 3. A competing hand with a face card (zero) and a 6 wins because it is closer to a count of nine.

      The banker deals two cards to the “punters” (players) and to himself, facedown from the shoe. If anyone has a count of eight or nine—a “natural”—they turn their cards faceup and win immediately, except when the banker has a natural of the same count, in which case it is a tie, and a new hand is dealt. With a count of six or seven a player must stand; with less than five a player must call for a third card, which is dealt faceup; with exactly five a player may do either (but in most American casinos must draw). The banker must draw to a point under three, must stand with a point above six, and may do either with a point of three to a player's third-card nine or with a point of five to a player's third-card four. Otherwise, the banker must draw or stand as dictated by the most-favourable odds.

David Parlett

Additional Reading
Reliable sources for rules include Joli Quentin Kansil (ed.), Bicycle Official Rules of Card Games (2002); David Parlett, The A–Z of Card Games, 2nd ed. (2004; 1st ed. published as Oxford Dictionary of Card Games, 1992); and Barry Rigal, Card Games for Dummies, 2nd ed. (2005).

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Universalium. 2010.

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