The simple premise of baccarat leaves plenty of room for tweaking and modifying things. This is one of the main draws of baccarat, though! It’s a formula that has been endlessly innovated upon. Chemin de fer and Baccarat Banque are two of the oldest variants of Baccarat, and we’re going to take a deeper look at what sets them apart.

Punto Banco, as you may know already, is simply the good old game of Baccarat. We’re going to assume you’re familiar with baccarat rules – if not, you can find all the info here.

What is Chemin de Fer?

Chemin de fer is one of the oldest alternatives to standard Punto Banco in the world, first appearing in th 19th century. It was designed to be quicker than the original ruleset. It was even named after the railway, the fastest mode of transportation at the time.

To play Chemin de fer, several players need to sit around a table. One player is designated as the banker, and also acts as a dealer. The role of banker changes hands every round, passing around the table counterclockwise. First, the banker sets the stake amount. The other players all decide if they will “go bank” and play against the entire current bank with a matching wager. Only one player may do so. If not, the players pool their stakes together to match the banker’s stake.

The banker deals four cards face down – two to themselves, and two are common cards or everyone else. The player with the highest individual wager represents all other players. This player and the banker peek at their hands; if either has an eight or nine, the cards are immediately revealed and compared. If not, both sides can choose whether they want a third card or not.

Comparing the cards in Chemin de fer baccarat works much like in the standard game. As far as strategy goes, the most common practice is quite simple. If the first two cards are valued at 4 or less, you should take the third card. If not, just keep the initial two.

What is Baccarat Banque?

Much like Chemin de fer, Baccarat Banque is a multiplayer variant of the game in which one of the players takes the role of a banker. However, unlike Chemin de fer, the role of banker is somewhat permanent. The banker must either freely pass the role to someone else or empty their bankroll – whichever comes first. Also, only 3 decks are used per shoe, compared to the standard 6.

At first, the banker is determined by a simple auction. In other words, the player who is willing to risk the most cash takes on the mantle of the banker. Traditionally, the banker shuffles the cards as well as the croupier. Usually, non-banker players are divided into two groups. The banker deals out 3 cards each to himself and to both the groups. Depending on the house rules, the groups either share the pile or rotate the players on that side of the table.

As far as the cards themselves are concerned, Baccarat Banque works much like Chemin de fer. Players can opt to take a third card, peek for 8s or 9s, and so on.

Another interesting bit about how Baccarat Banque works is that any player can “go bank” and match the full pot at any time. Ifs they do so, they can even choose to go “cheval.” In this case, the stake is split into two parts, and the two card piles are both compared to the banker.

Closing Thoughts

Due to the way these baccarat variants are played, we’re not likely to see them online any time soon. Conducting live dealer baccarat with so many seated players at a time would be quite hard – though not impossible. Still, if you ever get bored with the same-old of playing Punto Banco, here are some ideas on how to spice it up.