How to Play Baccarat

How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is sometimes also called Punto Banco, which is the name of the two possible sides, and two possible outcomes of the game. Two hands are dealt, one each to the Player and the Bank, and players may bet on the outcome of these hands. The dealer can be one of the players themselves, or can be a separate dealer, appointed by the house. Either way, cards are dealt from a ten-deck shoe, and each side begins with two cards: the aim is to have the hand reach as close to 9 as possible, in which case a Natural victory is called, the hands are over, and the chips are collected.

Baccarat Betting

Betting on either Punto or Banco carries the same potential payout, since the odds given are 1 to 1 on both: the house collects a 5% surcharge on all Bank winnings, however, since statistically, these are a few times more likely when playing with a ten-deck shoe. This is due to the possibility of a third card being drawn, by necessity, in a round. Unlike Blackjack, where the decision to draw another card is left up to the player, third cards must be issued if the hand is not resolved, and there are criteria for each side as to when this happens in the game. In the event of a tie, neither side wins, and bets can be re-issued, unless a bet has been placed on this exact outcome.

Baccarat Card Values

In Baccarat, only single-digit cards are counted: Aces count as 1, while tens and face cards carry no value. If the value of the cards exceeds nine, the first digit is discounted: thus, a hand of an 8 and a 4 will count as only 2. The player’s hand is completed first: if on 8 or 9, this will be either a Natural victory or a tie, if the Bank draws the same score. On a score of 6 or 7, the Player stands, and for anything below this, a third card is issued. The Bank’s cards are then totalled: if 8 or 9, the Bank wins or ties, depending on the Player’s hand. If 7, the Bank stands and the Player wins, but if 6, the Bank can draw a third card if the Player’s third card was 6 or 7. A total of 5 will get the Bank a third card if the Player’s card was 4,5,6 or 7, while a total of 4 will give a third card draw, unless the Player’s third was a 0,1, 8 or 9. The Bank draws a third card if it has a total of 3, unless the Player last drew an 8, or if the Bank’s total is 2 or less, it automatically draws a third card.

Play Baccarat Online

Got all that? Baccarat is based on a simple concept, with some complicated rules: these are, however, standardised, and thus the outcome of the game is entirely random, as long as the shoe is well shuffled. As such, it works well in electronic form: it’s worth watching a few hands, to get the hang of it, but once you have, it’s an engaging classic both to players and spectators alike.