Open AccountJoinDeposit 
DepositMy Bets
Open AccountDeposit
CasinoLive CasinoSports

A Beginner’s Guide to Chemin de Fer

An Introduction to Chemin de Fer 

Chemin de Fer is a hugely popular version of Baccarat that is enjoyed in casinos around the world. In the most common form of Baccarat, Punto Banco, players are simply competing against the casino. However, in Chemin de Fer, players compete with each other. The game is known to date back to at least the Napoleonic era in France, and it remains hugely popular in French land casinos.  

In this guide, we will teach you everything you need to know in order to play Chemin de Fer, including the rules and some basic strategy tips to help you get started. You are sure to get the hang of things in no time at all, and can soon start playing at your favourite casinos. 

How to Play Chemin de Fer 

As mentioned, Chemin de Fer differs from Punto Banco in that players will be competing against each other. Furthermore, in some situations it also gives players the choice of whether to hit or stand. The rules are very simple, and take just a few minutes to learn. 

To play Chemin de Fer, you need at least eight players and a table can hold up to 12. The game is played with six decks of cards shuffled into a shoe and the shoe rotates counter clockwise around the table. The players will take turns to be the banker and play the banker’s hand. The first banker is usually the player seated closest to the dealer’s right. The banker first has to indicate how much they are willing to bet; generally, this is expected to be a large amount and it is the banker’s responsibility to cover all the players’ bets.  

Players then take it in turns to bet as much as they wish up to the banker’s maximum bet. Once the bets have been placed, the player with the highest bet gets to act as the player against the banker. Next, the player and the banker receive two face down cards each. If either the player or the banker has a hand with a value of 8 or 9 (known as naturals), then the game ends and the player with that hand wins.  

The hand values are calculated the same way as in other versions of Baccarat. This means that the number cards are worth their face values, Aces are worth 1, and 10, J, Q and K are worth 0. If the hand has a total of more than 10, only the last digit counts, so a hand of 18 is worth 8.  

If neither hand is worth 8 or 9, then the player will decide whether or not to draw a third card. The rules governing this are as follows: 

Total 

Player Action 

0-4 

Draws 

Draws or Stands 

6 or 7 

Stands 

8 or 9 

Wins 

As can be seen, the player only has a choice if the hand is worth exactly 5. If the player draws a third card, then it is dealt face up so that the Banker can see it. The banker will then have a choice about taking a third card, and the rules governing this are as follows: 

Banker total 

Banker Draws 

Banker Stands 

Up to Banker 

0 to 2 

Always Draws 

Never 

 

If player 3rd card is 1 to 7 or 10 

If player 3rd card is 8 

If player 3rd card is 9 

If player 3rd card is 2 to 7 

If player 3rd card is 0,1,8 or 9 

 

If player 3rd card is 5 to 7 

If player 3rd card is 0,1,2,3,8 or 9 

If player 3rd card is 4 

If player 3rd card is 6 or 7 

If player 3rd card is 0 to 5 or 8 or 9 

 

Never 

Always Stands 

 

8 or 9 

No 3rd card drawn 

No 3rd card drawn 

 

*If the Player stands, the Banker should draw a 3rd card with a total of 0 to 5 and stand on 6 or 7 

After all the cards have been dealt, both hands are revealed and winnings paid. If the player has a higher total then all players are paid out at 1:1. If the banker has the higher hand, then the banker wins all the player bets, except for a 5% commission, which is paid to the casino. If there is a tie, then the bets remain on the table for the next hand.  

You will find that players will often change the way that they react to a hand of 5 in order to keep the banker guessing and avoid falling into a pattern. The banker’s moves are far more predictable and depend upon the rules explained above. However, it is this element of choice that makes Chemin de Fer a slower form of Baccarat, and this is why it is not always offered by casinos.  

Chemin de Fer Strategy 

There is a Chemin de Fer strategy, which will be explained below. However, it is important to remember that it is largely a game of luck and ultimately, nothing can guarantee that you will win.  

If you are playing the Player position and you are dealt a hand of 5, then there is really no right or wrong move. You can choose to either hit or stand and statistically, it will have no impact on your chances of winning. 

If you are playing the Banker position and the player takes a third card, then there is a recommended strategy. In general, the banker should hit on 0 to 5 and stand on 7. However, the exact recommended action is shown in the table below: 

Banker 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Hit 

Hit 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Stand 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Stand 

Stand 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Stand 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

Hit 

 

As can be seen by the positions marked with ‘?’, there are just two situations in which there is no preferred action for the Banker.  

There is very little more that you can do to try to improve your chances of winning. Be sure to always keep an eye on your fellow players, to see if you can pick up on whether one always stands or draws when dealt a 5, as this can be used to your advantage.  

Chemin de Fer Betting Systems 

Many people like to use betting systems to help them manage their bankrolls. While they will not guarantee a win, they can ensure that players will not run out of funds too quickly and can keep playing for longer.  

Because of the way in which betting works in Chemin de Fer, the betting systems can be a little harder to use, as you need to ensure that you are playing with players willing to match your larger bets. However, they can still be of some use.  

The most famous betting system is the Martingale, and it can actually be used with a huge number of casino games. The system simply requires you to double your bet after each losing round and return to your original bet when you win. For example, if you lose a bet of €2, then in the next round you would bet €4. If you lose that, then the next round you bet €8, and so on. This way, you will recoup your loses once you win a bet. However, there is a big disadvantage. It is possible to hit a losing streak and if that happens, then your bets can become very large, and you need to make sure that you are playing with a banker willing to cover large bets.  

You can also invert this system, and this is known as the Paroli or the Reverse Martingale. With this system, you double your bet every time that you win a round and then return to the original when you lose. For example, start with a bet of €5, win and then double it to €10, win again and double it to €20, and so on. This way, it gives you the chance to build up winnings in preparation for losses. 

Chemin de Fer Conclusion 

Chemin de Fer can be a hugely exciting game, and ultimately it is not at all difficult to play. If you study the above guide, you will soon become familiar with the rules and quickly realise that the strategy takes no time at all to master. While it is not a game offered by many casinos, when you do find it, you can be sure of having hours of fun, and with a bit of luck, enjoy a great deal of winnings.  

 

Related Articles