Baccarat in Canada: From Medieval Elegance to Modern-Day Casino Thrill

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Baccarat emerges as a timeless classic in the big world of Canadian casino gaming. This article delves into the rich history of Baccarat in Canada. We will explore the origins, variations, and strategies for winning while playing. Read on to uncover the intricate world of Baccarat in the land of the Great White North.

History and Origins of Baccarat

Step back 500 years to medieval Italy, where Baccarat began its journey as an elite game for society’s crests. From those opulent beginnings, it’s blossomed into today’s three riveting versions: Punto Banco, Chemmy, and Baccarat Banque. Discover this captivating tale of evolution, where old-world charm meets modern thrill in the heart of casinos. Here’s the game’s history and how it has changed over time.

Origins in Medieval Italy

The origins of Baccarat are still under contention. Many believe it originated in Italy and that Felix Falguiere created the game in the 15th century. He named the game “baccara,” meaning “zero,” because the tens and face cards held no value in the game. 

The legend behind the baccarat game is quite intriguing. According to this legend, the game follows an ancient Etruscan tale. In the story, the roll of a nine-sided die determines a virgin’s destiny. If she rolled an 8 or 9, she became a priestess. 

A 6 or 7 means she could live, but the villagers banned her from performing religious duties. Anything less than 6 meant expulsion to sea. Although the outcomes of losing a baccarat aren’t so dire now, these rules form the game’s basis. 

Baccarat’s Move to France

Baccarat moved from Italy to France, earning the moniker “Chemin de Fer” or “Chemmy.” It caught the attention of King Charles VIII. However, it remained an exclusive pastime for the nobles. 

Its popularity later spread across England. It became a favorite of Ian Fleming. Afterward, he immortalized it with the iconic character James Bond. 

Punto Banco’s American Adventure

Sweeping across the seas from its European roots, Baccarat ventured into South America and the sun-kissed shores of the Caribbean, metamorphosing into “Punto Banco.” In this vibrant variant, players would spar directly with the house, and casinos themselves took the helm as the banker. Fast forward to the swanky 1950s, and the charismatic Tommy Renzoni brought this captivating game to the iconic Sands Casino in Las Vegas, sealing Baccarat’s fame in the Americas.

Rules of Baccarat

Most players recognize the classic game of Baccarat for its elegance and simplicity. Understanding the rules is key to winning.

The Game’s Aim

The aim of baccarat is to predict the game’s outcome. Several bettors must predict whether the house or the player will win or if the game will end in a tie. To play, both the house and player receive two hands, with the goal being to have the hand closest to nine. 

In Baccarat, every card possesses a distinct value. The cards numbered 2 to 9 retain their explicit value. Ace cards have a value of 1, while cards like 10s, Kings, Queens, and Jacks have no value and are considered 0. When the sum of a hand surpasses 9, only the unit digit is taken into account. For instance, if you have cards 7 and 8, the total is 15, but the hand’s value is only 5.

How the Casino Deals Cards in Baccarat

At the onset of the game, both the player and the banker receive two cards each. The goal is for one’s hand to be as close to 9 as possible. If both the player and the banker achieve the same total, it results in a tie. It’s as simple as that.

Types of Bets in Baccarat

When playing Baccarat, bettors have three options: bet on the banker, player, or tie. Here’s an overview of each bet type:

  • Player Bet: This is when you predict that the player’s hand will be closer to 9 than the banker’s. 
  • Banker Bet: Betting on the banker is often a safer option due to their higher win frequency. But it’s worth noting that a commission fee applies. 
  • Tie Bet: When players bet on a tie, they predict that the player and banker’s hand will have the same value. Although the odds are often enticing, this type of bet is risky as it rarely happens. 

Odds and Payout Ratios for Each Type of Bet

For each bet, the payout ratio is different. So, before betting on baccarat, it is crucial to learn about each bet’s odds and payout ratio. Let’s examine each:

  • Player Bet: The player bet often pays 1:1. If you wager C$10 and win, you’ll receive C$10 back. 
  • Banker Bet: For this bet, you’ll also receive a 1:1 payout ratio. It is worth noting that banker bets incur a 5% commission fee. So, if you bet C$10, you’ll get the same amount minus the commission fee. 
  • Tie Bet: The tie bet is the most rewarding and most risky. The odds are usually 8:1 or 9:1. For every C$1 bet, you could win C$8 or C$9.

Understanding Card Values

The ultimate goal of every Baccarat game is to secure a hand that is as close to 9 as possible, the card values are essential. Here’s a concise breakdown of their significance:

  • Number Cards (2-9): The cards with numbers 2-9 maintain their face value. This means that card 5 is worth 5 points.
  • Aces: These cards are worth 1 point
  • 10s and Face Cards (King, Queen, Jack): 10s and face cards are worth 0 as they have no point value.

House Edge and Odds

The casino’s inherent advantage in gameplay over the participant is termed the house edge. You can find it by calculating the difference between the actual payout odds and the true odds.

For instance, the payout odds for a banker bet are 1:1, but the true odds are 45.86℅. The difference is the house edge, which is 1.06%. For a player bet, the house edge comes up to 1.24% due to the 5% commission. 

The tie bet has the highest house edge, reaching 14.36%. This is because this bet rarely occurs (it happens only 9.6% of the time). 

Comparison of Odds for Different Bets

For a better understanding, here’s a table that illustrates the game’s odds and house edge. 

Type of BetOddsHouse Edge
Player Bet1:11.24%
Banker Bet1:11.06%
Tie Bet8:1 or 9:1 (varies)14.36%

Baccarat Variations

Baccarat boasts a tapestry of versions, each echoing distinct traditions and eras. Here’s a glimpse into a few of the most renowned iterations.

Chemin de Fer

Chemin de Fer is the oldest and most traditional form of Baccarat. It is a three-player game where one player plays the banker role while the other two bet against the banker. Punters play with six decks of cards, aiming to have a hand close to 9. 

Punto Banco

Punto Banco stands out as the favored baccarat variant due to its straightforward nature compared to others. This version utilizes between six to eight card decks and pits the participant against the dealer in a two-player setup. The objective remains to attain a hand nearing the value of 9. 


Mini-baccarat refers to a smaller version of Punto Banco. The only difference is that punters play it at a smaller table. This makes it an outstanding learning field for beginners. 

Unique Rules and Gameplay for Each Variation

Each variant has its own gameplay rules, and knowing them is essential for winning the game. 

Chemin de Fer

  • The player with the highest bid takes the role of “banker.”
  • If a punter bets against the banker, the punter must match the bet.
  • The casino deals the banker two cards face down while the punters receive two cards face up.
  • If the banker draws a third card, the punters must then decide whether to draw a third card.

Punto Banco

  • The player and the banker each bet on their own hand.
  • The player cannot choose to draw a third card.
  • The banker must draw a third card if their hand total is 5 or less and stand if their hand total is 6 or more.
  • The hand with the closest total to 9 wins.


The rules are the same as Punto Bancos’. 

Baccarat Strategy and Tips

Although Baccarat is a game of luck, players can still use some strategies to make some wins. Here are a few:

Martingale System

The martingale strategy is a progressive betting system. To use it, the players must double their bets after each loss. The aim is to recover previous losses and profits. 

How to Apply

Start with a small bet. If you lose, double your wager on the next bet. Keep going until you win, then return the initial bet amount. 

Paroli System

Unlike the Martingale system, you only double your bet after each win using Paroli. The aim is to capitalize on hot winning streaks. 

How to Apply

Begin with a modest bet and double it after each win. Reset to your initial bet after a loss or a set number of wins.

Fibonacci System

This strategy uses the Fibonacci sequence. In other words, you add the two previous bets to determine your next wager. 

How to apply

Start with the first two numbers in the Fibonacci sequence (1,1). Add them to get your bet size; if you win, move one step back in the sequence. If you lose, move two steps forward. 

Tips for Managing Bets

Aside from the strategies, there are some tips that players can use to gain wins. They include:

  • Set a budget before you start playing, and stick to it. 
  • Choose bets with a lower house edge, like the banker or player bets.
  • Avoid the tie bet, as it has a higher house edge.
  • Manage your bankroll; know when to quit.
  • Stick to your betting strategy and avoid impulsive decisions.

Baccarat Etiquette

To ensure a smooth gaming experience, here are some baccarat etiquettes to keep in mind:

  1. Respect other players and maintain a courteous, sportsmanlike attitude.
  2. If there’s a chat feature, use it with caution.
  3. Make decisions to keep the game flowing.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions.
  5. Never share personal or sensitive data in the game chat.

Famous Baccarat Moments

Several historic moments have occurred since baccarat started. From players cashing out big time to scandals, here are some memorable moments:

Akio Kashiwagi

One of the biggest wins in Baccarat happened at the Diamond Beach Casino. This event occurred when Japanese billionaire Akio Kashiwagi won over $15 million.   

Phil Ivey

In 2011, professional poker player Phil Ivey won  $9.6 million in the game from the Borgata Casino. The company accused him of cheating, but the case was later settled outside court.

John Warne Gates 

The American industrialist and gambler John Warne Gates is a worthy mention. He wagered a million across two hands in the game and ended up losing one and winning the other.

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