Baccarat – A Casino Card Game With III Phases and a Bit of History

Before I explain this Baccarat game that dates back to the 15th Century, let’s review a brief bit of history. Americans got their first real glimpse of this casino game during the 1962 James Bond movie, Dr. No, when Bond, played by Sean Connery, was winning in a Monte Carlo casino. The game was Chemin de fer.

Phase I – Chemin de fer

In this original version Players wagered among themselves and won or lost with their own money. A dealer shoe rotated around the table counterclockwise after each hand. Players could decline the bank and pass the shoe to the next player. A 5% commission for winning bank hands paid to the house was to cover the casino overhead.

Phase II – Punto Banco

Punto Banco, meaning Player, Banker, was introduced in Nevada from Cuba in the late 1950′s, where it was very popular until Castro closed he mob run casinos. The main difference from the French version is that the house banks the game. A tie bet was added to increase the house edge, and the 5% commission to the house for a winning bank bet remains in place. Eventually the name baccarat, Italian for zero, was coined. Today baccarat is played in high limit rooms throughout the world where millions are won and lost each day.

Phase III – Mini-Baccarat

Eventually gaming establishments saw profit potential with Baccarat however they had to make it attractive to the average player. Hence, a new version was born, Mini-Baccarat.The rules for this game are exactly the same as Punto Banco except one house dealer controls he game for up to seven players. Table minimums are as low as $5 or $10. Numerous optional side bets have been added to increase the house edge.

How to Play Baccarat

The objective of baccarat is for the player to come as close to the number 9 as possible. Aces count as one, 2′s – 9′s are face value and 10′s – K’s count as zero.

Regardless of the number of players, the dealer only deals two hands from a six or eight deck shoe. Prior to the deal players must first place one bet on either the bank hand, player hand, or tie. Croupiers pass the shoe so players have the option in turn to deal the cards. In Mini-Baccarat, the shoe remains in place and the dealer controls all the action.

When a hand is totaled, it cannot exceed 9. If the two cards total more than 9, the first digit is dropped. The second digit becomes the total. Ex: 7,8=15. (the 1 is dropped) total = 5.

Baccarat requires no skill to play. All the player needs to do is place one bet before the deal. The dealer examines both hands to determine if a third and final card should be drawn. The determination is made according to a fixed set of game rules. Here they are:

Game Rules for Player Bet

The player position always draws on a 0, 1, and 2,3,4,5, unless the banker has a natural 8 or 9. Player always stands on 6,7,8, and 9. When the play bet has a natural 8 or 9, the game is over.

Game Rules for Banker Bet

The banker position always draws on a 0, 1, and 2 unless the player has a natural 8 or 9. The banker always stands on 7,8, and 9. When a banker has a natural 8 or 9, the game is over.


No playing strategy is required. Always bet the bank which has the lowest house edge at 1.06%, even with the 5% commission owed to the house. A player bet has a house edge of 1.24% while the tie bet that pays 8 to 1 has a whopping house edge of 14%!. This bet is not recommended. A number of optional side bets at the mini tables have house edges from 2 to 13%. These are not recommended.

Good luck!

The Struggle With Concussions, MTBI and PTSD

Concussions have been in the news a lot since the movie came out in 2015. Like many other “hidden conditions”, the mainstream is slow to change.

I played twelve years of professional football so I have seen my fair share of concussions and the nagging after effects. My best friend, Shannon, was an all-star linebacker at the University of Arkansas, leading them to the Cotton Bowl as a freshman!

Unfortunately, playing that position made him more susceptible to concussions. I got to experience his “sticking his face in the hole” while playing High School football. One particular game he was looking at me in the huddle, blood running down his face.

“Shannon, you’ve got blood on your face,” I told him.

There was a long pause as he contemplated what I had said…

“Does it look mean?” was all he said.

That was, and for the most part, still is how players consider injuries. They have grown up being told to “rub some dirt on it” and get back out there.

Luckily, today we are supposed to be more educated on the dangers of concussions, not only in athletes, but in everyone. Car accidents, amusement park rides and even equestrian events can cause mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

The inspiration for this article is two-fold.

1) My friend, Shannon, went on to commit suicide at the young age of 22. He had suffered from an ankle injury which prevented him from “being the best”. I believe the multiple head injuries he had experienced during his younger days may have led him to this horrible end.

2) My own father has been diagnosed with early-onset Dementia. He is an example of someone that played football as an undersized kid but finally quit at the age of 16. I don’t know if his Dementia was caused by his early head traumas but the fact that he has this cognitive impairment scares me to death!

How could I help people suffering like Shannon and my Dad?

After my football career ended I went on to become a Doctor of Chiropractic and focused on sports nutrition. But more on that in a minute…

There are a multitude of assessment tools out there for concussions. The NFL has teamed up with the CDC and created the SCAT3 test. This assessment tool incorporates 4 tests in one. While that may seem “good” I personally prefer a simpler approach.

The King-Devick test is an easy to understand and, more importantly, to implement during athletic events. Every athlete is given a baseline assessment in the offseason so that they can easily compare themselves to, well, themselves! There is no standard that everyone should be compared to with the SCAT3 test.

The King-Devick test utilizes a visual test that is timed. This makes it easy to stay objective. If, after an mTBI, an athlete takes longer to do the test then they fail. It consists of a series of numbers that they read. Sometimes concussed individuals start reading incorrect numbers or even say words instead! Scary stuff but it’s a quick and easy way to assess cognitive function.

I recently met with the ladies from Beyondconcussion, a concussion support group located in San Diego, California. I was shocked to hear that the San Diego school District does not require baseline assessments for their student athletes!

This is my call to action! We must contact ALL school districts to initiate baseline testing for their student athletes… ultimately ALL student should be assessed. There is a neurometabolic cascade of events that occurs in the brain after an mTBI that can be addressed but NOT if there is no assessment tool utilized to determine if they have had a concussion in the first place!

I’ll cover that “cascade of concussion” in a another article but summarize it here. The basic problem is that trauma causes a massive depolarization of the neurons in the brain that leads to ionic changes causing an enormous energy crisis. This leads to headaches, visual disturbances, audiophobia and more. The neurons themselves can be damaged via the mechanical trauma involved which leads to cognitive dysfunction and prolonged susceptibility to future brain injury.

Contact your school board and ask them if they perform baseline tests on their student athletes. If not, refer them to the King-Devick Test website.