How to Play Baccarat
Baccarat is a popular card game worldwide, and one of the oldest casino games around.
A bet is placed on whether the player or the banker will have the better hand, or you can bet on a tie. There is no creative thinking like in poker or skill as soon in bridge and there is no chance of winning large on a modest bet like you could with a sportsbook accumulator.
The basic rule of baccarat is to get a natural nine or eight in the first two cards or draw a third card to get a score closer to the perfect nine when the aces are valued at one point, deuces through 9s hold the value of the number on the card and face cards have a zero points value. It is worthwhile learning baccarat strategy before you start so that you have the best chance of a win. This means knowing when to stand, hit or draw a third card.
The dealer distributes two cards for the “banker” hand and two cards to the person designated the “player,” usually the person who has placed the highest bet on the player side. The two cards score is the second digit of the sum of the two cards, with the first digit cancelled. For example, a 4 and a 7 is scored as a 1. A pair of 5s is scored as a zero. The score will always be a number from zero to 9, with 9 the highest possible score. Suits are irrelevant.
A player or banker will stand when a hand has a score of 8 or 9 (a “natural”). The player also stands if he is dealt a 6 or 7. Otherwise, the player draws a third card. When the player does not have a natural, the banker hits on totals of zero to 2. If the player stands, the banker hits on 5 or less. If the player hits, the banker acts according to set rules that determine whether he hits or stands.
The banker bet payout is 1:1 but the casino gets 5 per cent commission. The tie-bet payout is 8:1 or 9:1 depending on the casino. The player bet payout is 1:1.
Four main variants
The four main variations of the game worldwide. They are mini baccarat, punto bunco, chemin de fer and baccarat banque. Most online casinos offer a selection of baccarat games, with live dealer baccarat often a popular choice for players.
Mini baccarat has just seven players, not the usual eight. Played in the smaller casinos of Vegas, this is a faster game most commonly played in the US, with the same rules already stated. The game is played with just one croupier who is both dealer and banker. The game has low bet rates, one of the reasons for its popularity, and is played openly in casinos rather than in a roped-off area like some casino games.
When baccarat was introduced in Cuba after the 1950s, the country amended the game and called it Punto Banco. In this version of the game, 12 to 14 players can take part in one game, the highest number of players for any baccarat variant. This game is often found in the high-limit rooms in casinos. The players are known as Punto and the banker as Banco. A shoe containing eight decks are used and the dealer or the croupier does all the shuffling and distribution. In this game, the third card is dealt automatically, so players do not choose a third card as they would in other baccarat games, and the winner is announced by the croupier or the dealer.
Baccarat banque / à deux tableaux
In this version of the game, one of the players will take on the role of the dealer for the whole game, unlike Chemin de Fer, where all players get a chance. Fewer decks are used in this version of the game, which is most popular in Europe and offers larger betting options to players.
Chemin de Fer / chemmy
The variant of the game that is played with least frequency, Chemin de Fer is the French version of baccarat which had arrived in the country from Italy. In this game, six decks are used instead of seven and it is only the croupier who shuffles the cards, which are distributed by the player who is the banker, with all players taking it in turns to be the banker, giving players more active participation than in any other variant of baccarat. The game cards are distributed face down and the decision to draw a third card rests with the player. The first chance to play goes to the player placing the highest bet.