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Chemin de Fer

Chemin De Fer is the version of baccarat that is mainly played in France.

In this game you cannot bet on Player or Bank (Punto or Banco), you must BE one or the other. The House (or the Casino) has no involvement in the betting. Therefore the players wager strictly amongst themselves.

The House provides a "Croupier" or dealer to make sure the rules are adhered to and that everything runs smoothly. Also, the House provides all the necessary gaming equipment; table, chairs, the shoe called "sabot" and the cards. For that, the House takes a percentage commission, or rake, (usually 5%) on all winning hands.

Each player can be a Banker in turn. The player who is acting as the Banker is responsible for all losing bets with his/her own money, as well as collecting all winning Bank bets.

Unlike Baccarat, Chemin De Fer has flexible third-card-rules i.e. there is some optional play whereby the Player and Banker can decide whether to call a third card or not. Also, the game is played entirely in French.

Player’s strategy

The player’s only decision is whether to draw or stand on a five. He must stand on a hand of 6, 7, 8 or 9 and draw to hands of 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4.

When on a total of 5, there are four card values that can help a player, and five cards that will worsen the total. 10 value cards make no difference. It would seem logical to stand, but is more complicated than that, if a player consistently stands, or consistently draws, he is effectively revealing his hand to the dealer. If he wants to keep his opponents guessing he must therefore bluff. It has been calculated that a players best strategy is to draw with a frequency of 9 times out of 11 and to stand the other two times. Obviously this must not be done in this order. Remember also that on occasion, the banker will also be the one bluffing.

Banker’s strategy

The bankers strategy is more complex as he has more options. A usual strategy would look something like this:

If his count is:

0 then Draw

1 then Draw

2 then Draw

3 then Stay if the player draws on 8, otherwise draw.

4 then Stand if the player draws on 1,8,9,10; Draw if the player stands on 2-7.

5 then Stand if player draws on 1-3, or 8-10. Draw if player stands or draws on 4-7.

6 then Stand if player draws on 1-3, or 8-10. Draw if player stands or draws on 4-7.

7 then Stay

Tell play

“Tells” are the giveaways that a player indicates through body language and can give an insight into their concealed cards. Typical tells of a good hand can be pupil dilation, lip-sucking and biting and an overly confident posture, whilst a hand over the mouth indicates that a player is trying to deceive. Folded arms are said to be a defensive gesture, and an indication that the player is trying to deceive.

01 June 2013

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