Essential guide to Chemin de Fer Baccarat | LeoVegas

Chemin de Fer Baccarat

Summary: Chemin de Fer Baccarat, originating in renaissance Italy and later popularized in France as a favorite of King Charles VIII, is one of the oldest baccarat variations dating back to the Napoleonic era.

The game uses six decks of cards, and the bank moves around the table with players taking turns as the banker. The objective is to have a higher total (8 or 9) than the opponent.

The table layout includes specific places for bets, and players may take on roles like "Tireur" (always draws) or "Non-Tireur" (always stands). The game ends in three outcomes: player wins, banker wins, or a tie.

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Chemin de Fer Baccarat Game Origin and History

The game of baccarat has its roots in renaissance Italy. When it moved to the neighbouring country of France, it gained the moniker of Chemin de Fer. This literally translates as an iron road or railway. It became a favourite pastime of King Charles VIII and was soon loved by the aristocracy of the time.


This makes it one of the oldest variations of the game, with records going as far back as the Napoleonic era. Even when gambling became illegal in France around 1837, it was still played in underground establishments.

Chemin de Fer first opened on a Vegas casino table in 1959 under the name “Chemmy”. However, historical evidence suggests that it was played in the country as early as the 19th century. As it moved to US casinos in the 50s, the game became displaced by other variations such as Punto Banco. As the players bet against each other, the house takes very little, aside from a small commission for providing the items required to play.

Thus, it is very hard, if not impossible to find Chemin de Fer in land-based casinos. It is only available at some in its home of France.

What is the Difference Between Chemin de Fer and Other Types of Baccarat?

The main feature of Chemin de Fer is that players bet against each other, not the house. The bank moves around the baccarat table, with the player who is the bank setting aside an amount to cover the bets of their opponents. In other games such as Punto Banco and Baccarat Banque, the bank belongs to the casino.

How to Play Chemin de Fer Baccarat

The game uses six decks of cards held in a shoe. This shoe will move in an anti-clockwise motion around the table each turn. At the start of the game, the decks get shuffled by the croupier and then by the players in order. They will get shuffled again by the croupier once this has taken place. The player to his left will then split the deck with a blank card and play will begin.

At the start of the round, four cards get drawn. Two are for the player and two are for the banker. The player that has made the highest bet will represent all the players at the table. Should two people have the same highest bet, then the player first in the table order will take responsibility.

The cards get dealt face down. The banker and player then check their cards first. If they have a natural 8 or 9, they announce it and the round ends. Whoever has the highest total from 8 or 9 wins. If not, then additional cards may be drawn.

Table Layout for Chemin de Fer

The table in Chemin de Fer has two set places for bets. Banque is for bets on the banker and Reliquat is for the part of the banker's bet not covered by other players.

Two slots reside in the middle of the table. One is a place to house used cards and the other is a space for the 5% casino commission on winning bets. This commission is required as there is no other financial incentive for a casino to operate the game. All it does is provide the dealers and equipment, and players bet against each other.

Bank Handling in Chemin de Fer

In Chemin de Fer, the croupier sits in the middle seat at the table. The person to their right is the first person who will be the banker. Players assume this role in turn.

At the start of the turn, the banker puts forward an amount that they are willing to gamble. Each player must decide if they will go all in against the banker by calling ‘Banco’. All players may decide to do this, or none. If more than one player calls Banco then the priority is given to the person to the banker's right, known as Banco Prime.

When no one goes all in and calls Banco, betting can take place at the discretion of the players. Should the bank not be covered by the player's bets, they can be covered by the spectators around the table. The banker may also agree to raise the bank if bets exceed the amount or have excess bets removed from the table.

Drawing Additional Cards

When the cards are drawn by the player and the banker, if neither of them has a hand that totals a natural 8 or 9, additional cards are drawn. To do this, the player must announce ‘Carte’. A player must reveal their cards after the banker has announced theirs first. Any additional cards get drawn face up. The player's rule is as follows:

5Draw or Stand

The banker's rule depends on if the player stands. If they do, the banker can draw a third card if their total is 0-5. They must stand if it is 6 or 7. The banker's rule is as follows:

31-7 or 108
42-71, 8, 9 or 10
55-71, 2, 3, 8, 9 or 10
66-71- 5, 8, 9 or10
7xAlways stands
8 or 9xWins

It is when a 5 gets drawn that the game comes alive. This is where the tactics of players and bankers come into play. Knowing the type of player you are up against can give you an advantage, just as being a uniform player can put you on the back foot. Therefore, it helps to mix up the playing style. Generally, players can get broken down into three categories.

  • Tireur – This is French for a shooter. It is a type of player who will always draw.
  • Non-Tireur – A non-shooter. This type of player will always stand.
  • Douteur – The Doubter. This type of player alternates between drawing and standing.

The Result of the Game and Payout in Chemin de Fer

Like baccarat, there are three outcomes in Chemin de Fer. These are player, banker or tie.

After all additional cards are drawn, if the player's total is greater than the banker’s, then a payout of 1:1 occurs for all players. For example, if you had put down $50, you would get $50 back along with your original bet for a total of $100.

In a tie, all bets remain on the table to be played in the next round. If the banker wins, they take the bets and can decide to retain the role of the bank if they wish. When they wish to give it up, they must declare a pass.

It is against Chemin de Fer etiquette to give up the role after one winning round, as it does not give players a chance to win back their money. An average of around three rounds is acceptable before saying pass. The house will decide the minimum and maximum bet amounts before the game begins. Should no one be willing to hold the bank, it goes to the next player in the order.

Chemin de Fer FAQ

What does Chemin de Fer mean?

Chemin de Fer means iron path in French and is the name used for a railroad. In the popular card game, it is named as such because the shoe travels around the table very much like a train rolling along the tracks. As it goes, players take turns to be the banker and the players bet against them, not the house as you would find in other forms of baccarat.

Is Chemin de Fer the same as baccarat?

Chemin de Fer is a variation of baccarat but with one fundamental difference - the players bet against each other. Players hold the bank and set aside money that covers the bets of opponents. Thus, you don’t find the game in many casinos as it has no financial advantage for the house.

How do you play Chemin de Fer?

Chemin de Fer gets played at a large oblong table with 12 player seats, two dealer seats and one banker seat. It needs to be played with a minimum of eight players and a maximum of 12. Players take turns to be the banker starting to the right of the dealer.

The banker places the amount they wish to wager. This covers the bets at the table. Players must then decide if they want to go all in against the banker by calling ‘Banco’. The player with the highest bet represents the other players.

Four cards get drawn, two for the player and two for the banker. If the player or banker has a natural 8 or 9, they must announce this and the round ends. However, if not they may decide to draw additional cards depending on their preference. In the event of a tie, then all bets stay on the table until the next round.

What is the difference between baccarat and Chemin de Fer?

The main difference is that in Chemin de Fer, players bet against each other and not the house. It is played in groups of 8 to 12 players and each player gets a turn at being the banker. A croupier is also present at the table to manage the deck and bets.

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