When you walk into a casino to sit down at the exclusive baccarat table, you may feel a little anxious or pretend not to fit in. However, you need not be worried, because absolutely everyone can play this game, not just the super-rich elite.
Since the baccarat rules are predetermined, the only thing you need to do is place your bet and see what happens. If you feel like it, you can use a baccarat strategy like Martingale or Parlay, but this is entirely up to you. However, what will allow you to keep your head cold and make you own the baccarat table is to understand the words being spoken around you.
To help you go straight up to the table with a self-esteem with James Bond, we’ve defined every word you need to know within the game of baccarat.
Concepts in baccarat – a comprehensive glossary
Action: This is the term used for the hands played at the table and the money wagered throughout the game.
Baccarat: Refers to the name of the game and also to the worst hand, which are two cards that make up zero points.
Baccarat en Banque: This is a more complicated version of baccarat mainly played in European casinos. Here the number of players at the table is different. It is also known as Chemin De Fer.
Banco: The Spanish word for the banker. In a live casino, this is the player who has the shoe and distributes the cards, although the name is only symbolic as the player will not handle the wagers and money at the table.
Banker Bet: This is one of the three baccarat betting options. It pays ‘even money’ and has a house benefit of 1.17%, but it also takes a 5% commission on your winnings, thus smoothing out the low house benefit. This bet pays 19:20 on your winnings.
Bankroll: The total amount of money a player has available to play baccarat. This term is used in all casino games.
Banque: This is a baccarat version found in some US casinos.
Burning: Removing the top 3-6 cards after shuffling before the game starts.
Callman: A casino employee who turns the cards and calls out the points. He also decides the game in which the rules for third cards in baccarat are followed. Also called ‘croupier’.
Card Counting: Card counting. The most popular strategy to use in baccarat, where players notice which cards have been dealt from the shoe to determine which outcome is most likely; whether the player or banker wins.
Carte: This is the French term for cards and is used to ask the dealer for a card.
Chemin De Fer: This is a more complicated version of baccarat that is mainly played in European casinos. The number of players at the table is different here. Also known as Baccarat en Banque.
Checks: Chips specially made for baccarat for an even more exclusive feel.
Commission: Commission. This is the fee that the casino requires on wager stakes in baccarat placed on the banker, which is normally 5%. This is the same as in most other casino games, but in some other games the commission is deducted from the bet itself. It is designed to counteract the low housing benefit in a specific effort.
Coup: The French term for a round of baccarat.
Croupier: The French word for ‘callman’.
Dealer: In the largest casinos, dealers are the two casino employees who are positioned on each side of the baccarat table with the ‘croupier’ between them. They only handle the stakes and money at the table, not the cards.
Discard Tray: In a live casino, this is a bowl that holds all the discarded cards, or the cards that have already been dealt at the table.
Down Card: This is a card that is dealt to the player face down.
Face Cards: Jack, lady and king of any color worth zero in baccarat.
Flat Bet: When a player bets the same bet continuously through different rounds of the game, without moderation.
Hand: The cards dealt and played within a round of baccarat.
High Roller: A player who places bets with very large amounts of money. Baccarat is synonymous with ‘high-rollers’ because of the very high minimum stakes, the exclusive area of the large casino where baccarat is played and the extremely rich clientele this game attracts which in a large casino can attest to it being played for millions.
House Edge: House advantage. The integrated casino advantage in a bet.
Ladderman: The casino employee who oversees the baccarat table from above in a live casino.
La Grand Natural: The winning hand in baccarat – two cards that combined make up nine points.
Le Petit Natural: The second winning hand in baccarat – two cards that combined make up eight points.
Mini Baccarat: A smaller version of table baccarat that was used to make the game popular in all casinos. Mini-baccarat is only half the size, with seating for 7 players at the table. It has much lower minimum bets, and in a live casino there is one dealer who handles the bets, decides the points, draws the cards and regulates how the game proceeds.
Natural: Once you have dealt your first two cards and you have a winning hand that amounts to eight or nine points. This ends the round and the winnings from the wagers are collected.
Palette: A long, rectangular and flat wooden stick used by the ‘croupier’ to move cards on the table in a live casino.
Pit: Exclusive, fenced area in the casino where the high stakes baccarat table is located.
Player bet: One of the three bets available in baccarat. It has a house advantage of 1.36% and pays ‘even money’.
Punto: The Spanish concept of player bet. Occurred in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
Punto Banco: The Spanish name for modern baccarat that originated in the casinos in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
Shills: A now outdated practice of hiring an oversexed woman in the live casino to lure people to the baccarat table.
Shoe: An automatic handout box from which the dealer draws the cards. In a live casino at a regular baccarat table, the player who places the highest bet will first have this feature. Then the shoe is given to the player who placed the second highest bet, and so on. In mini-baccarat this will be done by the dealer employed by the casino, and on the net the shoe is automatic.
Tie bet: A draw. The bet on the draw is one of the three bet options in the game. This bet pays 8 to 1 because a draw between the banker and the player happens very rarely. It also has a very large house advantage of 14.2%.
Upcard: A card with the picture face up on the table.
Vigorish: The percentage the casino takes from the winnings of a bet.