“Chemin de Fer” is the original French version of Baccarat. “Chemin de Fer” has soon become more popular than “Baccarat Punto Banco”. Six decks of cards are shuffled together and the players are seated around the table in random order: the table layout is typically oval and the discarded cards are placed at the centre of the table. The play starts to the right of the croupier and continues counterclockwise.
Once the hand has begun, one of the players is designated as the “banker” or “bank”. Cards are dealt by the banker, that’s why “Punto Banco” is the only version played in the online casinos, where the software performs every operation exactly as the croupier in land-based casinos. The other players are punters, though the position of the banker passes counterclockwise during the game.
In each round, the banker chooses the amount he wants to risk. The other players, in order, may challenge the banker and decide to wager all or part of the amount risked by the banker. However, another player may go bank playing against the entire bank with a matching wager. If two or more players want to go bank, they have to make their wagers in order.
The banker deals four cards face-down: two to himself and two in common by the other players. The player who has the highest wager (or the first in play order in case of tie) will represent the group of players challenging the banker. After that, the cards are turned face-up and if either has an eight or nine, as in “Baccarat Punto Banco”, the hands are compared. Oppositely, both the banker and the player may decide to accept a third card. Once they have made their choice, the hands are turned face-up and compared: if the player’s hand exceeds the banker’s, the wagering player (or just the player who decided to tie the banker’s wager) will receive an amount from the banker. If the banker’s hand exceeds the player’s, money is placed into the bank and the position of the banker doesn’t change. In case of tie, wagers are the same for the next hand. If the banker wants to withdraw his winnings, the new banker is the first player willing to stake the amount currently placed in the bank. If no one is willing to stake the amount, the next player in order is the new banker. The banker may set a new wager.