How to play Baccarat
Baccarat is a popular Casino game that is often associated with Casino High Rollers. This is despite the fact that it is one of the easiest Casino games to play and is as simple as betting on Red or Black in Roulette! Baccarat is usually played in a separate Casino area on a playing table that is roughly the size of a craps table and occupies three casino dealers and up to about 14 players.
To play Baccarat two hands are dealt and the player decides which one will win. The object of the game is to have a hand total that is closer to 8 or 9 than the opponent’s hand. There are three possible outcomes that a player can choose to bet on. These two most likely outcomes are to bet on either the banker or the player. The third and less likely outcome is to bet on a standoff (a tie).
Each player will be dealt a minimum of two cards and a maximum of three cards from a six-deck or eight-deck shoe. The card suits are of no concern. Each face card or 10 has no value while cards less than 10 are counted at face value. Aces are valued at 1. In Baccarat single digit values are important. If a player receives cards that total double digits then the first digit is dropped, e.g. 25 is counted as 5 or 16 is counted as 6.
To start the game players must place a bet on the banker, player or a standoff. Two cards are dealt to each player and the banker. The object is to bet on the hand that you believe will have the highest total value. If any hand has a total of 8 or 9 then it is called a “Natural” and no further cards will be dealt. If it isn’t a natural then the game must play out and the players must take a third card where they are obliged to do so. The rules for taking a third card are defined by standard Casino rules that oblige both the player and the banker to take a third card.
Once dealing is finished, the hand with the highest total wins. Losing bets are collected first and then winning bets are paid out.
Player’s third card rule
- When the player or the bank’s cards total of 8 or 9 on the first two cards then no further cards are drawn. This is called a natural and the hand is over.
- When the player’s hand totals 6 or 7 then the player must stand.
- When the player’s total is less than or equal to 5 the player’s will have to draw a third card.
- When the player doesn’t have to draw a third card then the bank must stand on 6 or above and take a third card on a total of 5 or less. If the player does take a third card then the Bank’s third card rule below comes into play.
Bank’s third card rule
- This comes into play when a player takes a third card
- If the bank’s total is 7 then the bank will stand.
- If the bank’s total is less than or equal to 2, then the bank must draw another card, regardless of the player’s third card value.
- If the bank’s total is equal to 3, then the bank must draw a third card, unless the third card that the player drew was an 8.
- If the bank’s total is 4 then the bank will have to draws a third card unless the player’s third card was a 0, 1, 8, or 9.
- If the bank’s total is 5 then the bank must draw a third card when the player’s third card is 4, 5, 6, or 7.
- If the bank’s total is a 6, then the bank must draw a third card if the player’s third card is a 6 or 7.
Baccarat card value table
King, Queen, Jack, 10
Some players like to know the past outcomes before choosing whether to bet on the bank or player. Generally this is indicated on a screen where “B” indicates a win for the bank, “P” indicates a win for the player and “-“ indicates a standoff. These are also displayed in consecutive rows until a new winning streak is started. A tie will be considered part of the same winning streak and will be displayed in the same row as the previous winner.
Baccarat House Edge and payouts
Betting in Baccarat is similar to betting on Black or Red in Blackjack. Overall, it is regarded that the Casino holds a house edge of 1.06%. The payoff is even money for betting on the Bank or the player with the only difference being that a win on a bet on the bank is generally subject to a 5% commission to the Casino. This extra commission is required, as over an 8-card deck of cards the bank will on average win three to four hands more than the player giving the Casino and in-built advantage or hold. The final option of betting on a standoff is paid out at 8:1 or 9:1.
Unlike with Blackjack, there is no optimal baccarat strategy that can result in a better chance of winning in Baccarat as the game plays out according to game rules. The most obvious of these would be to bet on the Bank and to avoid betting on a standoff.