The game of Baccarat, which is sometimes known as Punto Banco, has always had a reputation as being for the richest gamblers and that usually scared of the average player. But nowadays, more and more people are discovering that Baccarat is really a good game for the small stakes player because of first, it has a relatively small advantage for the casino and second, the Baccarat rules are very simple to understand.
Basic Baccarat Rules
So, how to play Baccarat? The game of Baccarat is very simple to play and that’s because the only decision you have to make is what bet you want to make from the three that are available: player, banker or tie. After the players make their bets the game begins and two 2-card hands are dealt from a shoe that usually contains 8 decks of cards. One hand is dealt for the banker and another hand is dealt for the player. The values of the two cards in each hand are added together and the object of the game is to have a total as close to 9 as possible. After the values of the first two cards in each hand are totalled, a third card can be drawn by either the player, the banker or both.
But, the decision as to whether or not a third card should be drawn is not decided by the dealer or the players – it is only decided by the Baccarat rules.
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All of the 10’s and all of the face cards are counted as zeros, while all of the other cards from ace through 9 are counted at their face value. So, a hand of Jack, 6 has a total of 6; 10,4 has a total of 4; 10, 7 has a total of 7; and ace, queen which would be a great hand in blackjack, only has a total of 1.
The other thing about adding the cards together is that no total can be higher than 9. So, if a total is 10 or higher you have to subtract 10 to determine its value. For example, 8 and 8 totals 16 but you subtract 10 and your total is 6; 9,5 has a total of 4; 8,3 has a total of 1, and 5,5 has a total of 0.
Which Baccarat rules determine the winner?
Once again, the object of the game of Baccarat is to have a total as close to 9 as possible, so after the first two cards are dealt if either the player or banker’s hand has a total of 9 then that’s called a “natural” and that hand is the winner. If neither hand has a total of 9 then the next best possible hand is a total of 8, which is also called a “natural,” and that hand would be the winner. If both the player and the banker end up with the same total then it’s a tie and neither hand wins. Now, if neither hand has an 8 or 9 then that particular Baccarat rules have to be consulted to decide whether or not a third card is drawn. Once that’s done, the values of the cards are added together again and whichever hand is closest to a total of 9 is the winner.
Other Baccarat Rules
These baccarat rules might seem a little bit complicated at first but you will soon get the hang of it.
If both hands end up with the same total then it’s a tie and neither hand wins. If you want to bet on the player hand just put your money in the area marked “player” and if you win you’ll be paid off at even-money, or $1 for every $1 you bet. The casino advantage on the player bet is 1.24%.
If you want to bet on the banker’s hand you would place your bet in the area marked “banker” and if you win, you’ll also be paid off at even-money, but you’ll have to pay a 5% commission on the amount you win. So, if you won $10 on your bet, you would owe a 50¢ commission to the house. The 5% commission is only required if you win and not if you lose. The dealer will keep track of the amount you owe by putting an equal amount in a small area on the table that corresponds to your seat number at the table. So, if you’re sitting at seat #3 and won $10 on the bank hand the dealer would pay you $10 and then put 50¢ in the #3 box. This lets him know how much you owe the casino in commissions and when you get up to leave the table you’ll have to pay the dealer whatever amount is in that box. After adjusting for that 5% commission the casino advantage on the banker bet is 1.06%
Finally, if you want to bet on a tie you would place your bet in the area marked “tie” and if you win you’ll be paid off at 8-to-1, or $8 for every $1 you bet. The big payoff sounds nice but actually, this is a terrible bet because the casino advantage is a very high 14.36% and this bet should be avoided.
Common Baccarat Rules for betting
One thing that many Baccarat players seem to have in common is a belief in streaks and the casinos accommodate these players by providing scorecards at the table that can be used to track the results of each hand. Many players like to bet on whatever won the last hand in the belief that it will continue to come in and they hope for a long streak.
The thinking for these players is that since Baccarat is purely a guessing game it’s just like guessing the outcome of a coin toss and chances are that a coin won’t alternately come up heads, tails, heads, tails, heads, tails but rather that there will be streaks the same result will come in for a while.
So, is this a good system? Well, actually, it’s no better than any other system because no matter what you do you’ll still have the same casino edge going against you on every bet you make: 1.24% on the player and 1.06% on the banker. The one good thing about a system like this though is that you don’t have to sit there and guess what you want to play each time. Instead, you go into the game knowing how you’re going to play and you don’t have to blame yourself if your guess is wrong, instead, you get to blame it on your system!