3 Leading Card Games Galore

In Baccarat, players sit around a kidney-shaped table and the dealer sits in the middle. Six to eight packs of cards are shuffled together and placed in a sabot (a dealing shoe). The dealer then distributes two cards each to himself, the active player on his right, and another one on his left. Participants bet that the player either at the right or left, or both, will beat the dealer. The object is to hold a hand that totals or closely approaches eight or nine, counting the pip cards and aces at face value and tens, and face cards as nothing.

Only the last digit of the sum of the pips counts; for example, an eight and a six, totaling fourteen, counts as four. Active players must draw a third card if their cards total zero to four points, and must stand with a total of six or seven. If the total is five, the player may decide whether to stand or draw. Hands totaling eight or nine win automatically, unless they can be matched or (in the case of an eight-point hand) bettered by the dealer. The dealer then pays all bets on a hand that is nearer nine than his own. In case of a tie, the bets are cancelled.

Blackjack, also known as Twenty-One, and as Vingt-et-un in France, Blackjack can be played by any number of people, but from five to nine players make the most interesting game. Players bet against the banker/dealer. The object of this game is to hold a hand in which the sum of the card values totals 21 or less. With the pip cards counted at face value, face cards counted ten, and aces counted either one or eleven.

Hands of two cards are dealt, one at a time with the first card face down, to each player and the dealer. Players may then request additional cards, dealt one at a time in each round, to bring the total closer to 21. If a hand counts to more than 21, the player is said to have 'busted' and has lost. When all players have completed their hands, the dealer uncovers his hole card. If his total is 16 or less, he must draw another card, but may not do so once the count reaches 17 or more. In a social game, with the deal changing from player to player, all hands counting closer to 21 than the dealer's win--- otherwise the dealer collects all bets. In casinos, the house wins only against players whose hands have busted or count further from 21 then the dealer's. In case of a tie, bets are cancelled.

Chermin de Fer is one of the most popular games of the French Riviera and other European casinos; Chermin de Fer differs from Baccarat in that the dealer changes after each hand and plays against only one player instead of two. The first dealer is selected either by lot or by auction, but thereafter the player to the dealer's right becomes the new dealer and banker after each hand. Before dealing, the dealer announces the size of his bank, and bettors may then cover part or all of it. The cards are distributed only to the dealer and one active player, but all other participants may bet on whether or not the active player will beat the dealer. The object, as in Baccarat, is to hold a hand valued at eight or nine, or as close to these totals as possible.

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