What are the rules of craps and baccara?

If poker and blackjack shine in the collective imagination, craps and baccarat remain more discreet entertainments. Yet, these games of money and chance sparkle in Hollywood cinema. Would you like to get started on an online casino? Understanding the rules of craps and baccarat is essential before placing your first bet.

The rules of the craps game

Very popular across the Atlantic, craps remains a more niche game in Europe. Few players truly know all the rules.

A brief history of craps

Craps finds its roots in an ancient game called "Hazard," invented in the 12th century by Guillaume de Tyr and his troops while attempting to besiege a fortress of the same name. However, there is still controversy about the exact origin of the term, as the Arabic word "Al Zar" means "The dice."
Later, the game was played at the English Court and among the English bourgeoisie. The writer Geoffrey Chaucer, in his "Canterbury Tales," published in the 14th century, makes numerous references to it.
The practice of craps then spread to France and to Louisiana in the early 19th century, under the influence of Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville. This wealthy aristocrat and avid fan of games of chance then set out to simplify the rules. The goal was to democratize this practice among the workers and sailors of New Orleans.
Gradually, all cities bordering the Mississippi River displayed a Hazard salon. The term "craps" officially appeared. Its origin remains unclear. For some, it would result from a mistranslation of the word "crabs," used by English aristocrats to refer to the numbers two and three. For others, it would be a reference to the crouched position (like a toad) of the workers throwing dice in the streets.
A new rule emerged in the early 20th century, contributing to the spread of the game. From then on, all players present around the table could bet on the results of the dice shooter. The game layout, containing all available craps bets, was introduced as well.
Craps gained even more popularity among soldiers during World War II. It became one of the main attractions in Las Vegas casinos from the 1950s onwards. A decade later, it crossed the Atlantic again to spread throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Today, it is offered by all online casinos.

The basic rules of craps

Craps is played with two standard six-sided dice. A player, known as the "shooter," rolls the dice, adds up the numbers rolled, and wins or loses based on the outcome. Spectators around the table can also bet on the player's rolls, winning or losing money in the process. They are not obliged to become shooters in order to participate in a game of craps.
The shooter rolls the dice. If they get a 7 or 11, they win. If they get a 2, 3, or 12, they "crap out" and lose. If the shooter rolls a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, they establish a point. They then continue to roll the dice until they either roll that point again (to win) or roll a 7 (to lose).

Betting in a game of craps

Both the shooter and the spectators can make various types of bets:

  • The "Pass Line" bet: To win once their bet, the shooter must roll a 7 or 11, or establish a point. This bet is only made on the first roll;
  • The "Don't Pass Line" bet: To win once the bet, the player must "crap out." If the player establishes a point, they must roll a 7 before rolling that point again;
  • The "Come" bet, available only after the first roll: To win, the player must roll a 7 or 11. In case of 2, 3, or 12, the bet loses. The numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10 become "Come" points. To win once their bet, the player must roll the "Come" point before rolling a 7;
  • The "Don't Come" bet, available only after the first roll: Rolling 2 or 3 results in a win for the player. However, if the player rolls 7 or 11, they lose. If the player rolls 12, they get their bet back. If the player rolls 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10, they must roll a 7 before rolling that point to win;
  • The "Odds" bet: This is a bet made after the first roll, and it involves increasing the bet;
  • The "Field" bet: The player bets on the numbers 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, or 12. If the player rolls the chosen number on the next roll, they win. In case of 3, 4, 9, 10, or 11, they win their bet. For 2, the bet wins 2 to 1, and for 12, the bet wins 3 to 1;
  • The "Big6" and "Big8" bets: The player must roll a 6 or an 8 before rolling a 7. They win their bet;
  • The "Place" bet: For a "Place Lose," the player must roll a 7 before rolling a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. For a "Place Win," it's the opposite. In both cases, the player wins their bet;
  • The "7" or "Any 7" bet: If the player rolls a 7 on the next roll, they win four times their initial bet;
  • The "11" or "Any 11" bet: It works the same way, but this time the payout is fifteen times the initial bet;
  • The "Craps" or "Any Craps" bet: The player must roll a 2, 3, or 12 to win seven times their initial bet.

The rules of the baccarat game

A simple and enjoyable game, baccarat is now accessible on most online casinos.

A brief history of baccarat

Baccarat appeared in Italy in the 1400s, invented by a player named Félix Falguerein. In Italian, the term "baccarat" means "nothing." It refers to all cards above 10, which have no value.
To create this game of chance, Félix Falguerien was inspired by a legend from the Middle Ages. At that time, to honor the gods, priests would sacrifice the lives of young blonde virgins. A dice roll could save the unfortunate maiden. With a 5 or less, she was condemned to death by drowning. With a 6 or 7, she was imprisoned for life. If she rolled an 8 or 9, she was allowed to become a priestess.
Subsequently, French knights discovered baccarat during the Italian War led by King Charles VIII in the 15th century. The game then became popular at the Court of France and spread throughout Europe, under a variant called "chemin de fer."
In the early 20th century, immigrants from the New World brought baccarat with them. From the 1950s, it was offered in Las Vegas casinos and in private salons. Popularized by Hollywood cinema, especially James Bond films, it retains, wrongly, an image of a game reserved for the jet set.

Key rules to know for playing baccarat

Baccarat is played with at least two decks of 52 cards. casinostables are managed by three dealers. They can accommodate up to 12 players, known as "pontes."
The cards have the following values:

  • Ace is worth 1 point;
  • Cards from 2 to 9 retain their value: a 3 is worth 3 points;
  • 10, Jack, King, and Queen, called "logs," are worth 0 points.

The game's principle is quite simple. The cards are dealt to the banker and the player. The player must guess the winning hand, which is the one closest to 9 points. It can be the player's own hand or the banker's. There can also be a tie. The player has three possible bets:

  • They have the stronger hand;
  • The dealer is the winner;
  • The hands are equivalent.

To evaluate the value of the hands, the player does the following: they tally the value of each card and then subtract ten if the hand exceeds 10. Here are some examples to help you understand better. Your hand consists of a 4 and a 5. The value is 9. If you have a 7 and an 8, the value of your hand is 5 (7 + 8 - 10 = 5). Finally, if you have an Ace, a Jack, and a King, your hand is worth 1 (1 + 0 + 0 = 1).

How does a game of baccarat unfold?

The dealer sets the initial bet. This is one of the peculiarities of baccarat. The player has a choice:

  • To follow the bet;
  • To bet a lower amount;
  • To decline to play.

The dealer then deals two cards to each player and keeps two cards for themselves.
If a player or the dealer has a hand with a value of 8 or 9 points, it's a "Natural." The cards are revealed. Whoever has the hand closest to 9 points wins. There can be a tie or a "draw."
If neither has a "Natural," the game continues. If a player has a value of 7 or 6, they stand. However, if their hand's value is 5 or less, they draw another card.
Then it's the dealer's turn to play according to the following rules:

  • If the dealer's hand is worth 0, 1, or 2 points, they draw a third card;
  • If the dealer's initial hand is worth 3 points, they draw a card unless the third card drawn by the player is worth 8;
  • If the banker's hand is worth 4 points, they draw a new card only if the player's third card is worth 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7;
  • If their hand is worth 5 points, they draw a card only if the player's third card is worth 4, 5, 6, or 7;
  • If their hand is worth 6 points, they draw a card only if the player's third card is worth 6 or 7;
  • If the banker has 7 points, they don't draw any cards.

Once this step is done, the players reveal their hands. The hand closest to 9 wins the game.

How are baccarat bets paid?

In the case of a winning hand, the player's bet is paid out at even money. Therefore, if the bet is 20 CHF, the player wins an additional 20 CHF in addition to their initial bet.
In the case of a winning bet on a "draw," the player multiplies their initial bet by 8. So by betting 20 CHF, they win 160 CHF.
You now have a grasp of all the rules of craps and baccarat. It's time to practice! Start with fictional bets on online casinos. Once you've thoroughly understood all the intricacies of these games of chance, dive into real games. But remember, maintain responsible play, and don't forget: you're here to have fun first and foremost!