Variants of Baccarat: Chemin de Fer

Chemin de Fer

Chemin de Fer is actually older than baccarat which derives rom it. The name is French for a railroad. It is far more complicated than modern baccarat.

In Chemin de Fer, the dealer holds the banker cards. It is not possible for players to wager in favor of these cards. They can only bet on their cards and the dealer can bet only on his or her cards. (That takes away the key feature that makes modern baccarat so easy to play.) The dealer or banker pays out to and collects bets from the players while a croupier supervises the game.

In Chemin de Fer, players can take turns in the role of banker. Banking duties change every time the current banker loses a hand.

Playing the Game

The dealer will draw two cards each for the house and the player(s). These starting cards are dealt face-down. Next, the dealer turns each hand up in turn. If either hand has a natural - an 8 or 9 - and there is no tie, the winner is announced and the hand ends at once. If it is a tie, the wagers stay for the next hand. Bets are never returned.

Card Drawing Rules

In modern baccarat, all decisions are predetermined by the hand scores. The same is true for dealer hands in blackjack. In Chemin de Fer, the player can *technically* do what he or she wants; but the polite thing to do is to follow accepted drawing "rules."

If the player's card total is 0-4, they are expected to draw. They must say "yes" or "card" to indicate this. If the total is 5, they can say yes or decline. If the total is 6 or 7, they must refuse a third card. An 8 or 9, of course, is a natural.

The banker is not expected to play by any preset rules. He or she can freely make hand decisions.

Pot Rules

In Chemin de Fer, the dealer or banker is one of the players. When the banker role switches from one person to another, they must pass on the wagered money or "pot." No banker can touch the pot when they resign their post.

Just as in modern baccarat, the casino charges a 5% rake for ALL winning bets, whether player or banker. This is necessary because like in poker, the house takes no part and merely hosts the game.

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