Chemin de Fer is considered a baccarat variant, but the truth is, Baccarat is actually a variant of Chemin de Fer, or "railroad" in French. Chemin de Fer was developed generations before Baccarat, in France. The name comes from the custom of players passing the role of banker from one to the other.
The game most in common with Chemin de Fer it is Baccarat en Banque. The rules are quite different than standard Baccarat as it is played in most online baccarat games. The Chemin de Fer Baccarat rules are highly complex.
The player holding the cards is the "banker". Unlike standard Baccarat rules, he is the only one allowed to bet on the bank, and he can only bet on the bank. Players in Chemin de Fer can only make Player bets. Notice that in Chemin de Fer the casinos do not interfere with the game, the croupier is managing the conduct of the game but otherwise he does not intervene. The banker is responsible for the amount he wins or loses. It is up to the banker to accept or decline wagers from the players, also he is responsible to distribute the winnings or to claim the pot in case he wins.
The banker deals two cards to himself and to the player, face-down. If either the Player's hand or the Banker's hand is a natural of nine or eight he declares it out loud and the round stops and gets paid. In Chemin de Fer, a tie is neither a loss nor a win, the pot remains for the next round. Once the banker loses a hand, the cards are moved to the next player in order, making him the banker, though he can decline his status and the cards move to the next player.
If the card total of the player is 0-4 he "must" accept a third card by saying "card" or "yes". Note that the player can do whatever he wishes, but etiquette requires that he follow the rules for card drawing. In many places in France where Chemin de Fer is played, ignoring these rules of card drawing etiquette can actually incur fines, since he can be responsible for the losses of all the other players by bad play.The banker is not under such rules and he can draw or stand in any way he wishes.
If the initial sum is 5 he has the option to claim or decline a third card. If the initial total is six or seven he "must" refuse a third card.
The banker cannot extract any sum from the pot, if he wishes to dismiss himself from his status he declares "I pass the deal". He must leave the exact sum which was present in the pot when he commenced his duty as the banker. The pot moves to the next player in the rotation, who is free to put any sum at his disposal.
Casinos charge a 5% commission on winning bets in Chemin de Fer, in the same way way Bank bets in standard Baccarat are charged. This is the only profit the casino makes from the game, since it only oversees the play between players and is not a direct participant in play.
John Palmer - Editorial Team
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