So, what the heck is Chemin de Fer? Even if you’ve visited a casino a few times, there’s a good chance you may not know about this game.
Chemin de Fer is actually Baccarat. Yeah, Baccarat. Not the exact Baccarat card game we see every day, but a popular variation of Baccarat.
In this blog, we will talk about Chemin de Fer and tell you everything you need to know about this gambling game.
Chemin de Fer vs. Baccarat
Usually, when we say Baccarat, we are talking about Punto Banco. As you can probably tell, Punto Banco is the default way most players play this gambling game.
Punto Banco may not be the most complex gambling game to learn, but it’s probably one of the most relaxing games. Just sit back, place your banker’s bet, sip your drink, and hope the banker wins.
Chemin de Fer is MOSTLY the same as Punto Banco, with a couple of differences.
We will discuss these differences in more detail, but for now, let’s just say that players are much more involved than in Punto Banco. Since you can’t just place your bet and relax and have to do more ( tedious tasks), it’s no wonder that Chemin de Fer (often called “Chemmy”) is less popular than its counterpart.
Interestingly enough, Chemin de Fer is the original version of Baccarat which, unsurprisingly, originated from the French word “The Railway.” In the game, two cards were dealt to each side (the player and the banker), and the side with the better cards won.
Like in Punto Banco, the winner is whichever side gets closest to 9 but doesn’t exceed it. If a double-digit card is drawn (a 10), only the first digit counts (so, it’s a 0). The same rules apply to drawing the third card, and there are rules on when the banker stands.
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On the other hand, the players can decide whether on not the Player stands or draw a third card, but this can vary between casinos.
Baccarat Banque plays like a mix between these two games, but we’ll cover that in our Baccarat Variations blog.
The main differences between Chemin de Fer and Punto Banco
Before you get intimidated by thinking you might have to learn a new set of rules, don’t be. If you’ve ever played Baccarat (Punto Banco), you know all the rules. If Baccarat rules are unclear, we recommend reading the prior article before you continue ahead.. Chemin de Fer is like adding a few House Rules to the original game. So here are a few key differences:
Players can only bet on the Player
Unlike Punto Banco, where you can bet on the Banker, in Chemin de Fer, you can only bet on the Player. Players can’t bet on a tie, either. If a tie occurs, the bets stay on the table, and a new round begins.
In a way, players have even less of a say on whom they can bet on. Fortunately, things change a bit when it comes to the Banker. If players make different bets, the one player who makes the largest bet calls the shots when the Player’s hand should draw a third card or stay.
Players take turns being the Banker
The main difference between Punto Banco and Chemin de Fer, and the main reason why most players don’t want to bother playing Chemmy, is that the role of Banker changes every now and then.
In Punto Banco, the dealer is always the Banker, so players don’t have to pay much attention, but here, when you play as the Banker, the game changes a bit.
When a player becomes a banker, he/she can only bet on the Banker, and the rest of the players bet against him. Winning banker bets still have to pay the 5% fee because of the lower house edge, and the player who acts as the Banker needs to keep this role until he/she loses. This brings us to the next change…
The Banker covers his/her losses
In Chemin de Fer, the banker is supposed to pay for player winnings (out of his/her fund) after a loss. After all, the players are playing against the Banker. This is why you usually need a good amount of funds before you play Chemin de Fer.
When the Banker gets his cards dealt, they are also the first to place a bet. The rest of the players can either fold or call the banker’s bet but not raise it. This way, the Banker has, at least, some control even if he gets dealt bad cards.
Cards are dealt face down
An interesting rule about Chemmy is that all cards are dealt face-down first. The banker reveals one card first, and the Player follows. Players can also decide whether or not they want a third card. The third card is always dealt face-up.
Because of this simple rule change, many players say Chemmy feels more exciting and tactical.
Everyone shuffles the cards (brick-and-mortar casinos only)
If you play Chemin de Fer online, you don’t have to worry about this because the app/AI will shuffle.
However, if you are playing Chemmy in a brick-and-mortar online casino, be ready to shuffle some cards.
When a round begins, the Dealer shuffles the cards. Then, the cards are passed to the player on the right, who also shuffles the cards and passes them to the next player on his/her right. This continues until all the players have shuffled the cards. Finally, the dealer reshuffled the cards, after which the game can FINALLY begin.
Yes, we get it, this is to ensure that nobody cheats in Chemin de Fer, but it sure is tedious. While it’s not a deal breaker or anything, many players don’t like Chemmy because of this simple rule and prefer Punto Banco, where the dealer does all the shuffling (and everything else). Not to mention, this also kills the fast tempo of the game.
Chemin de Fer Table
Chemin de Fer tables are more capsule-shaped than the standard, kidney-shaped Baccarat (Punto Banco) table. This is because players are all meant to face each other, not the dealer. After all, it makes sense because the role of the Banker keeps changing as the game progresses.
While there is still a spot for the dealer, they don’t do as much as in Punto Banco.