A Casino Royale scandal
Despite its long history, Baccarat was first thrust into the public consciousness in the late 19th century amidst a royal scandal. Its controversy surrounds two people – Sir William Gordon-Cumming and Britain’s Prince of Wales. The drama started when Cumming was accused of cheating at a baccarat game, and so took his accusers to court for libel.
The Prince of Wales was witness to Cumming’s indiscretions, and as such was called into court to give evidence. Calling the Prince into court would have been only mildly controversial, if not for the fact that baccarat was illegal at the time. The combination caused an even greater spectacle for the British middle and upper classes, and forever associated baccarat with all the glamour of the British high society.
The affair was undoubtedly part of Ian Flemming’s inspiration for choosing baccarat as the casino game of choice for the world’s most famous spy, James Bond. In fact, 007 is found playing the game in numerous novels, including the original Casino Royale book, as well the films Dr. No, Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, For Your Eyes Only and GoldenEye.
Much of baccarat’s glamour still exists, with many physical casinos offering private rooms for the game where high-stakes baccarat players can bet hundreds of thousands of dollars away from the public. At the Pinnacle casino, we capture the glamour of the game by allowing you to bet with a table limit of $5,000 – truly high stakes baccarat online.
Basics and how to play baccarat
There are three popular types of baccarat in modern times: punto banco (North American baccarat), chemin de fer (the favourite of James Bond), and banque (or “à deux tableaux“). The former is by far the most popular, and sees a return to player of over 99%, which makes it the most profitable casino game for customers. It’s also the type available at the Pinnacle casino.
How to play Baccarat. In online punto banco baccarat (here after referred to as simply “baccarat”), the game is played with two dealt hands, one for the player and one for the banker. Bettors face a simple choice: do you back the banker’s hand, the player’s hand or a tie between the two?
In baccarat, hands are valued as the unit value of the sum of their cards. This means that if the sum of the cards in a hand is 15, the unit value (or rightmost digit) is 5. If the sum of the cards is 21, the unit value is 1. The total value plays no part in the proceedings – a hand of 15 will beat a hand of 21, as 5 beats 1. The 10 (from 15) and the 20 (from 21) are discounted.
A card’s value is simply the number of its face – cards 2-9 are worth their face value, while 10s, Jacks, Queens and Kings, have a value of 10, and aces have a value of one.
Because only the units of hands are counted, this means the highest possible hand value in baccarat is 9, and traditionally high-scoring cards (10s and face cards) are useless as they are valued at 10, which as a unit, equals 0. There are no jokers in baccarat.
How to play baccarat - winning hands
Two cards are drawn to both the player’s and banker’s hands at the start of a round, and play instantly finishes if the value of either (or both) hands are 8 or 9. If this happens, whichever hand has the highest number is the winner. The winnings are decided as follows:
- If the player’s hand wins – and you bet on the player to win – you win double your stake
- If the player’s hand wins – and you bet on the banker to win – you win nothing
- If the banker’s hand wins – and you bet on the banker to win – you win double your stake, minus a commission
- If the banker’s hand wins – and you bet on the player to win – you win nothing.
If the value of the hands is the same, a “tie” is declared. On this occasion, your stake is returned unless you bet on a tied outcome. If you did, you win at the value of 9 to 1, as it is a much rarer outcome. Casinos other than Pinnacle might return at 8 to 1, so it is advisable to look for the best value whether playing online or in real life.
If a hand worth 8 or 9 isn’t drawn, the game goes through the following steps:
- If the player’s hand is worth 6 or 7, no further cards are drawn for that hand
- OR If the player’s hand is worth between 0-5, another card is drawn to the player’s hand
- THEN If the banker’s hand is worth 6 or 7, no other card is drawn
- OR If the banker’s hand is worth 0-5, and the player’s hand has two cards, the banker’s hand is dealt another card
- OR If the banker’s hand is worth 0-5, and the player’s hand has three cards, the banker’s hand is dealt another card depending on the value of the player’s third card:
Head to the Pinnacle casino to play now – you can even try it for free without signing up or downloading any software.