Baccarat Introduction to professional baccarat play


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During the 1600s and 1700s, baccarat was the favorite pastime of France's underworld, but it was so infested with cheaters that it had to be legalised and taxed in an effort to clean it up. As its popularity grew throughout Europe, South America, and Cuba, variations surfaced. There were Baccarat Banque (a' Deux Tableaux), Punto y Banca, and Chemiri-de-Fer.

, Chemin-de-Fer was the first version to be played the U.S., and it was essentially played just like baccarat, with two exceptions. One was that the players competed against one another, with one player taking the bank for any amount he could afford, and the second was that players had the option of standing or drawing to-a total of five. Without big money players it was tough game to jump start.

Credit goes to Tommy Renzoni for bringing baccarat to the states from Cuba. First introduced at the Sands in 1959, the casino now booked all action and the rules were 100% mechanical. The onlydecisions the player had to make were how much and which side. The early game was dealt with piles of cash. The bosses sat up on the ladder-chairs, shuffling procedures required the novel process of 'lacing the decks', the crowds gathered, and it was quite a spectacle. The cash game was a magnet for theft, scams, and money laundering. There are even a few stories where bosses and security guards went to the cage for fills and never came back! Dealing oversized checks and plaques became a prudent alternative.

The game has seen its ups and down, often a'functioh;of the overseas economies. After the
Mexican peso and the Japanese yen took nosedives, so did the game. Today, baccarat still attracts the super high rollers, known as 'whales', and prearranged betting limits up to $200,000 a hand are not uncommon. In some overseas jurisdictions, you can bet anything you Want, provided another player is betting a comparable amount on the other side, plus or minus the house limits. Minibaccarat was introduced in the 1970s to tap a curious customer base that wanted tb be part of the big game’s mystique.

Overseas the game is called Punto y Banca or Punto Banco. This is identical to oilr miihibaccarat in every aspect except one, the commission ort bankers bets is collected when the bet wins, not after the shoe is finished—a much more ieffident format in my view—and it appears that we are finally starting to catch on with many clubs adopting the same procedure.

One may occasionally run into a 4% commission game, or noncommission novelty formats where certain winning bank hands result in a push. Other noncommission formats are being explored.

On the game protection end, the slug scam continues to haunt the game while newer methods of building slugs 'on die fly' (during the wash or shuffle) seem to be surfacing, particularly in minibaccarat. Any scam that targets the top card is always a threat, and this would include marked cards (discussed in their own chapter), and shoe peeks. Most traditional strong arm cheating techniques, including Capping and pinching, past posting, mucking and switching, commission scams, gaffed shoes, and coolers are virtually nonexistent today, but we’ll still explore the possibilities.

Any threat from counting cards can be safely put to rest thanks to the authoritative computer analysis done on the game. This wasn't always the case. Shortly after Beat the Dealer, professor Thorp trained a team of counters to beat the side bet on a,'natural Eight or Nine. The count was simple, successful, and the bet was removed from the layout shortly thereafter.

From time to time, advantage techniques sneak through the cracks. We’ll explore a few such angles, some of which have gone unnoticed for almost twenty years.