In order to play Baccarat like a pro, you need to know not only the rules of the game, you need to be well-versed in the slang so you can keep up with the play and never find yourself pondering a puzzling situation. English may be your mother tongue but when it’s time for another coup, you may feel a bit out of your element as monkeys start flying around the table and everyone’s cheering on a La Grande.
We’re starting back school season at the casino, so pencils at the ready – below, you will find explanations of the terms and casino slang you need to know before you start playing Baccarat.
Action: A generic gambling term used to describe the total amount of money wagered by a player during a full gambling session. It can also be used just to describe a bet or a wager on a game.
Baccarat: The worst hand in Baccarat. The name of the game means zero in Italian and describes a hand of cards with zero value – 10s, Kings, Queens, and Jacks.
Banco: The Spanish word for bank or banker. In the game of Baccarat, it refers to the player who has the shoe and deals the cards.
Banco Prime: The privilege of a player nearest to the dealer’s right to match the stake wagered by the bank if more than one player has called banco.
Banker Bet: One of the three possible bets you can choose in Baccarat. It’s simply one of the options on which you can bet and does not represent the house or the person who deals the cards from the shoes. Its payout is 1:1 but there is a 5% commission which is deducted from winning bets. Some experts claim that the Banker bet is the best bet in terms of odds at 45.843% as opposed to 44.615% for the Player bet. Banker can also refer to a casino staff member who supervises the game, runs the shoe, deals the cards, and ensures a smooth play.
Banque: A Baccarat version played at two conjoined tables. The Banker sits in the middle and plays with one bet against two Player bets one at each table. Popular mainly in casinos throughout Europe and not so much in American casinos. The literal translation of Baccarat en Banque is “Zero in Bank”.
Bankroll: The amount of money a player intends to spend on gambling and can risk losing.
Burning: Right after shuffling and before the start of a new game, the top three to six cards are discarded.
Players from United States accepted
Caller: A member of the casino staff who turns the cards, calls out the points, and deals additional cards according to the third card draw rules in baccarat.
Carte: The French equivalent of “Hit me” used to request another card from the dealer.
Chemin De Fer: A variation of Baccarat, very often referred to as European Baccarat. Chemin de Fer is a French phrase meaning “railway” or “railroad”. It’s a version in which the shoe with cards moves across the table, hence the name. In this version, a player deals the cards and takes bets, acting as the bank. The game version is popular in Europe, more specifically land-based casinos in France and is rarely played at American casinos or online.
Cheval: French for across. Depending on the type of game, a “cheval” bet is won if both active players win the bets. The bet is lost if both players lose, and in case one player wins and the other loses, this is a standoff, with the “cheval” bet remaining intact. Some Baccarat games can allow for a “cheval” bet by one player who has two hands. If the player wins both hands, they win the “cheval” bet and the round goes to them. If only one hand is won, it’s a tie.
Cheques: In land-based casinos, Baccarat is played with special chips called cheques, that further enhance the feel of exclusivity.
Commission: Although Baccarat has a very low house edge on both player and banker bets, the banker bet is considered to be more beneficial to the player as it wins 45.86% of the time, while player wins 44.62%. However, the Banker bet comes with a 5% commission. For example, if the bet is $5, at 1:1 payout, the win is $10. Subtracted from that is a 5% commission – in this case $0.5, so the actual win is $9.5. Occasionally, a casino may lower the commission to 4%. There are also No Commission Baccarat games. However, these game find another way to compensate the lack of commission, like paying 2:1 odds on the Banker bet or 0.5: 1 odds (paying $1 on a $2 bet) if the Banker wins with a particular number, for example 8 or 6.
Coup: A French term used to describe a round of Baccarat where one Banker hand and one Player hand are dealt.
Croupier: A French term for the dealer.
Cut: Cutting the cards means dividing the deck of cards in half after the cards have been shuffled. Usually, the dealer shuffles the cards and places them face-down on the table, asking a player – usually the one to their right – to cut the cards by taking a section of cards from the top and placing them on the table. According to casino mores, the dealer then completes the cut by placing the remainder of cards atop them. In some Baccarat versions, players are allowed to shuffle, cut, and deal the cards. In high-roller games, the person with the biggest bet on Player is offered to cut the cards.
Cut Card: A special plastic card (usually about the size of a playing card and solid colored) used for cutting the deck once the cards have been shuffled. A player inserts the cut card in the deck and the dealer makes the actual cut at that exact point of the deck. The cards are then placed in the shoe.
Dealer: In a game of Baccarat, the dealer can be either a player or a casino staff member. They’re in charge of dealing the cards, drawing extra cards to the Player and Banker hands, and generally making sure the game runs smoothly. In some Baccarat versions, players themselves may take turns and act as dealers. At some tables like the tables of Baccarat en Banque, you will see two dealers.
Deux Tableau: Another name for Baccarat en Banque.
Discard Tray: When for some reason, for example “burning” before dealing, cards are discarded, they are placed in the discard tray.
Down Card: A card turned face down. Sometimes also called a hole card.
Dragon Bonus: A popular side bet in Baccarat that allows players to not only place a bet on Player or Banker but to also wager on the number of points with which the winning hand will crush the other one. The Dragon Bonus pays out if the hand wins with a natural (an eight or a nine) or if the margin is more than four points.
Edge Sorting: A technique which allows identifying card values based on small differences in the pattern on the back of the cards as a result of the manufacturing process. Although some casinos consider it cheating, many players won’t be held accountable as it’s the casino’s responsibility to ensure the consistency of the cards. For obvious reasons, edge sorting can not be applied at online Baccarat.
*Flat Bet example
Face Cards: All cards which have portraits on them are called face cards. These are Jacks, Queens and Kings of any suit.
Fading: A term used for placing bets against a person. In sports betting, it usually describes betting against an unsuccessful bettor and in open dice games, it’s used to refer to betting against the person casting the dice. In Baccarat, it is applicable only to land-based games.
Flat Bet: Wagering the same amount no matter if the hand is a winning or a losing one.
Hand: The cards dealt and played within one round of Baccarat.
High Roller: A bettor who plays with high stakes.
House Edge: The margin inherent to the game which gives the casino the advantage of making a profit regardless of the outcome of the round. The house edge will eventually eat into your bankroll as it represents the difference between the true chance of a hand winning and the return to player rate offered by the casino when that hand wins, which will always be slightly lower.
Ladderman: One of the three dealers who is responsible for running the game of Baccarat.
La Grande: From French – “The Big One” which is a natural nine and ultimately the best hand in Baccarat.
La Petite: Again from French – “The Little One”. The second best hand in Baccarat which totals eight naturally.
Layout: The table layout in Baccarat encompasses a series of boxes and designated betting sections for gamblers to place their wagers – Player, Banker, or Tie. On the felt, there are also sections for the cards being dealt for a particular hand.
Loss Bet: Due to its higher house edge, a bet against the bank is known as a loss bet.
Match Play: Match play promotions are used by casinos to incentivize players to bet on their games. These bonuses can be used only once and are applied in even money games. Depending on the casino rules, Baccarat can be considered an even money game and players can take advantage of the match play bonus and get paid double their actual cash bet without having you double their bet.
Mini Baccarat: A smaller version of the full-size Baccarat table, similar to a Blackjack table that can seat up to seven players and one dealer. The mini version of the game also offers lower table limits and a fast-paced gameplay, making it a preferred choice of mass players. In online versions of Mini Baccarat the dealer will draw the cards face-up, but at a land-based casino, they are dealt face-down.
Monkey: A slang term used for a 10-value card – a face card or a ten.
Muck: Eight card decks containing 52 cards each and used at the start of the shuffling.
Natural: When the two initially dealt cards total either eight or nine. A natural eight is a winning hand, ending the round automatically unless the other hand is a natural nine – the best hand in Baccarat.
Palette: A long wooden tool used by the croupiers to move the cards around the table during the game of Baccarat.
Pass: A win in the game.
Pit: Exclusive area in the casino, separated by a red rope where the high-rollers play Baccarat at high stakes.
Player: This term can cause quite a lot of confusion especially for new players as they would typically associate it with the people participating in the game. However, this is one of the three available bets in Baccarat along with Banker and Tie. Player bets are opposite to Banker bets, as in people playing the game can make a wager on either Banker or Player or choose a Tie. Player bets pay 1:1 and the house advantage is a bit more than 1%.
Punter: The person playing the game can be called a Punter, especially in the UK. A bettor.
Punto: From Spanish – a player.
Punto Banco: Punto Banco is one of the most widespread Baccarat variations and an alias of the game worldwide. It was developed in the 1950s in Argentina, making its way to Cuba and then the USA. It translates as Player Banker.
Push: A bet that is neither a winning nor a losing one. As in Blackjack, the amount players have wagered is held over for the next round.
Railroad: Another Baccarat version which is commonly referred to by its French translation Chemin de Fer. It was very popular in France in the late 19th century. When it was introduced to the USA, it was called Chemmy.
Run: A side bet option allowing players to bet on a series of hands.
Shills: Members of the casino staff, usually young glamorous women whose purpose is to add appeal to the game and attract players. The practice of using shills to lure players to a game of Baccarat was employed in the second half of the 20th century at casinos in Las Vegas.
Shoe: An automatic dealing machine used in Baccarat to prevent errors associated with the human factor in manual dealing. The shoe contains six or eight decks. It’s used in both land-based and online games.
Shooter: A term used to describe The bank.
Shuffle Up: A term to refer to the early shuffling of the cards by the dealer.
Skill: A joke made when a player is enjoying a good run.
Standoff: A term describing an outcome of a round when both the Player and the Bank hands have the same value and are joined in a tie.
Streak: If you have a streak in gambling, it means you’ve had a number of the same consecutive results. i.e. several wins in a row or several losses in a row.
Super Pan Nine: A variation of Baccarat popular at poker casinos in Los Angeles. All players are dealt three hands-down cards which are scored as in Baccarat. It differs in that one player acts as the bank.
Table of Play: The set of rules which describe the scores allowing players to receive a third card.
Tie: Besides Player and Banker, the Tie bet is one of the three possible bets in Baccarat. If a hand ends a tie, it’s a push which means that the player and the banker get their wagers back. The Tie bet pays 8:1 or 9:1 and has a house edge of more than 14%.
Upcard: A card turned face-up.
Vigorish: The percentage which is taken from the winnings of a bet by the casino.
VIP: An acronym for a very important person. In casinos, this term is used to refer to high rollers.
After enriching your vocabulary with these Baccarat terms, maybe you need a quick talk through about the basic rules and features of the game? Have a look-see at our Guide to find out how to play the game and learn more about the basics or choose a betting system if you feel more advanced and want to take a more elaborate approach to playing the game.