Because of baccarat’s international pedigree, many of the phrases and terms used in the game are of Spanish, French, and Italian origin. Baccarat also shares many terms with other casino games, some with slightly different meanings. Before you plunk down your cash at a baccarat table, familiarize yourself with the following jargon.
Action is a generic gambling term that refers to the total amount of cash a gambler wagers during a gambling session.
In French, the word Baccara means “zero.” The name arose because in the game of baccarat, face cards and tens have a value of zero points. Baccarat is also the name of the popular casino game.
In Italian, the word baccarat means “zero.” You will sometimes see the game baccarat called baccara, especially in Italy or in casinos near Italy.
Banco is Spanish for bank or banker. In baccarat, the dealer is sometimes called the banco. The dealer in baccarat is the person that runs the game, runs the shoe, and deals and plays the cards. In some older more traditional versions of baccarat, the banker is also the financier of the gambling action. Even when the casino is the financial backer of the game, the dealer of the game is still called the banker.
In baccarat, the banker is the player that runs the shoe, deals the card, and plays the various hands. Betting on the banker also gives the gambler the best odds in the game. Many gamblers think a bet on the banker is the only smart bet in the game, based on the game’s odds.
A generic gambling term that refers to the amount of money a gambler is prepared to bet. This is different from action because the bankroll is a theoretical amount of money a gambler intends to spend, while action is the actual amount of gambling they do.
Another version of baccarat, banque is a version of the game with three hands: one banker hand and two player hands. Banque is more popular in European casinos than in American casinos.
In all card games, a burn card is a card that is pulled from the deck after the shuffle and discarded.
In French, gamblers say “carte” to request that a card be dealt. It is the French equivalent of saying “Hit me.”
Chemin de Fer
Chemin de Fer is the game of baccarat as played in France.
A round of baccarat play is called a coup; the word comes from French.
Croupier is French for dealer. The dealer does various jobs at the baccarat table depending on what sort of baccarat game is being played. In baccarat games in America, the croupier is the caller and the employee who controls the way the game runs, and not the actual dealer of the cards. In the game known as mini baccarat, the croupier or dealer performs all the tasks necessary for the game: dealing the cards, controlling the way the game runs, collecting losses, and paying out winnings.
To cut a deck of cards means to divide a deck in half after the cards have been shuffled. A cut deck is then combined again as an additional way of mixing up the deck.
In some games of baccarat a cut card is a specific type of card (usually solid-colored and made of plastic) that a player uses to cut the deck once the dealer has shuffled.
Different forms of baccarat have different tasks for the dealer. In the version of baccarat played in America, two casino employees standing at opposite sides of the table are both called dealers. The name is a misnomer in American baccarat, since the dealer doesn’t actually deal out cards. In American baccarat, the dealer collects all losing wagers and pays out any winnings. For some reason, the employee called the banker is the one who actually deals the cards
In baccarat and other card based games, the discard tray holds any cards that have been played or discarded.
In many card games, a card dealt face down is called the down card. Another common term for this card is the hole card.
In casino gambling, edge refers to a statistical or mathematical advantage. Most of the time, gamblers talk about the house edge, an advantage the casino has against the players. Edge is usually expressed as a percentage.
In card games, face cards are the cards with portraits on them: namely, the Jack, Queen, and King. In baccarat, all face cards have a point value of zero.
A flat bet is any wager placed without variation. This means the gambler is placing the same bet over and over with changing up the bet.
House Advantage / House Edge
The house edge or house advantage is the statistical advantage that the casino holds over the players in the game, usually expressed as a percentage.
The ladderman is the employee in the casino who supervises the various baccarat tables from a chair placed high above the tables.
Le Grande is French slang for a natural total of 9.
This is a version of American baccarat that is played at a smaller table and contains slightly different rules.
Baccarat slang for a face card or for a ten.
A natural is an 8 or 9 dealt within the first two cards dealt in the game.
The tool used in baccarat to move cards around on the baccarat table is called the palette.
This is the Spanish and Italian word for point. It is sometimes also used as a slang term for a baccarat player.
In casino gambling, the shoe is the device that holds the cards used for the game. Shoes hold as many as eight decks at a time and are designed to allow the dealer to move one card at a time onto the gaming surface.
A shuffle up is a move used by casino game dealers to try to counteract card counting.