A Quick Guide to Baccarat Etiquette
Baccarat is a game of sophistication and high stakes. It's also a game that can take different forms in different casinos. This makes it vital to know how to conduct yourself in various situations.
The first thing to note is that the three different table types have broadly different expectations. As is clear from the names, 'Mini' is a quick, low-stakes game of Baccarat, 'Big' is for high-rollers, and 'Midi' sits in the middle. Big Baccarat may also be played on a larger, 15-person table, as opposed to the Blackjack-style, seven-seater tables of Mini/Midi Baccarat. Each also has slightly different etiquette, but all follow some of the general principles you would expect from most table games:
- Know which game you're joining, and the relevant rules, before you sit down. In Mini Baccarat, questions are generally not a problem, but it's still advisable to know what you're playing.
- You shouldn't attempt to join a table in the middle of a game. In some instances, you may be invited to sit, but you shouldn't attempt to engage the players/dealer, or to bet, until the game is finished.
- Once a bet is placed, you cannot touch your chips. This could be viewed as an attempt to cheat.
- Drinking at the table is fine, as long as you are careful, and sensitive to other players when ordering. Generally drinks orders are best placed in between hands.
- When a whole table plays bets on either the Player or Banker, or if a player calls for 'Support', it's considered good etiquette to bet on the same side. More importantly, it creates a good atmosphere around the table.
- When you finish playing, don't forget to cover commission (forgetting to do so is embarrassing).
- Tipping is also widely expected, though you are of course free to choose how much.
Mini Baccarat Etiquette
This is by far the quickest of the three main Baccarat types. Generally, players can sit down and play quickly. The key difference here is that the player never touches his/her cards. The dealer is the only one able to handle them, and your cards will be dealt face up.
Midi/Big Baccarat Etiquette
Because these games are higher stakes, generally a higher standard of etiquette is required. There are also a few small differences in the way play progresses. The main things to remember are:
- Dress smartly. You won't be able to join a high stake table if you are under-dressed, no matter how much you want to wager.
- Acknowledge the other players when you sit. Introductions aren't necessary, but a polite smile and/or nod is customary.
- Players may be invited to handle the shoe (deal). This is dictated by the type of Baccarat being played. Generally the player with the highest wager will be invited to deal, or the shoe will be passed around the table. It is acceptable to politely decline.
- Some Midi/Big Baccarat tables may not follow the Punto Banco rules, where cards are drawn based on the tableau, but will be chemin de fer. In this game, players may accept or refuse additional cards. Keep an eye out for indications of which game you are joining.
If you want to get the hang of Baccarat before joining a table, you can practise online at Casino.com.