Chemin de Fer: European poker game

by Gayle Mitchell

Chemin De Fer is a relative of baccarat and translated from the French means ‘railroad’ in this lesson at Learn Poker.
With this European poker game, you cannot bet on banker or player, you must be one or the other, therefore the casino has no direct involvement in the game.
The bettors wager amongst themselves, similar to American poker.
The other departure from baccarat is that there are three banker-player rules where a decision is required to draw or stand.
There is a drawing-standing chart for chemin de fer below that illustrates these rules.
Let’s review the card counting for chemin de fer--same as baccarat:
All number cards, 2 through 9, count as their face value or the number of pips on the card.  All 10s and face cards count as 10.  Aces count as 1. No hand can be worth more than 9. If it is, the last digit of the total is used. 
For example, if the hand has a king (10) and a 2, then it totals not 12, but 2.
To determine the value of a hand greater than 9, simply use the last digit of the total number--such as 9 for 19, 0 for 20 or 7 for 17.

Eight decks of cards are used for game play dealt from a shoe face down, one card at a time. On the layout, there are two squares marked Banque for the banker's bet and Reliquat for bankers bet not covered by all the other players.
The player who is acting as the banker by making the largest bid retains possession of the shoe, places his/her bid, (currency) in the middle of the table, and is responsible for all losing bets with their own money, as well as collecting all winning bank bets while betting the banker hand with chemin de fer.
The other players can now bet against all (Banco), or any portion of this money.
If one or two players match this amount, the remaining players sit out this round of play.
The highest bidder is now dealt the player hand.  There is no tie bet with chemin de fer and no money changes hands when there is a tie.
If a player has a count of 8 or 9 in his first two cards, he/she has a natural, and shows his/her win immediately. If only the dealer has a natural, the dealer wins all the bets.
If only the opponent has a natural, the dealer pays all the bets.

As with baccarat, a natural 9 beats a natural 8 with chemin de fer. Two naturals of the same number are a standoff. When this happens, cards are discarded, all bets are withdrawn, and players place their bets for the next deal or coup.
If neither the dealer nor opponent has a natural, the opponent, as per the chart, may receive a third card, which is dealt face up.
The dealer, also as per the chart, may draw a third card face up.
When both players have made their decisions, all cards are shown.
If the dealer is closer to 9 than his opponent, he collects all the bets. If his opponent is closer to 9, the dealer pays all the bets.
If the dealer and his opponent have the same counts, all bets are a standoff and are withdrawn.
See drawing-standing chart below for further details:

chemin de fer lesson at gambling teachers

The casino takes a 5% commission, or rake, as in poker, on all winning bank hands with chemin de fer.
This casino commission is paid immediately before the end of the shoe.
In return the casino provides a croupier as referee, table, and necessary equipment.
When all bets are settled, the next coup or deal starts.

Although, a larger bankroll is required, being the dealer is the best strategy. The dealer remains in that position as long as he/she wins or has a standoff.
If the coup is lost, the player to his/her left becomes the dealer.
At that time, the new dealer reveals the amount of his/her bank, wagers are placed, and the deal continues.
As the French say, “bonne chance”.

Chemin de fer poker is followed by a Badugi Poker Lesson
Return to Learn Poker Games 2 with 7 Game Types
How to Play Poker 1 Program

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Tips, Terms & Wins

Punto Banco:  similar to American baccarat, but some of the names change: shoe=sabot, player hand=punter, dealer =croupier and is in charge of the game.
Tie bet pays 8 times the stake.

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