BACCARAT – How To Play Baccarat

Originating in mid 19th century France, Baccarat, or Punto Banco, is a casino type game that requires no technical skill to play. Baccarat and Mini-Baccarat are among the easiest casino games to play but are often associated with the High Roller players with high stakes— James Bond’s favorite game.

The dealer draws two cards for the Player (Punto) and the Bank (Banco).

The objective of Baccarat is to bet on the hand you guess will be as close to or equal to 9.

Rank of Cards

The values of the two cards in each hand are added together. Cards 2-9 have their numerical value, 10 or picture cards have a value of 0 and Aces have a value of 1. The nearest to 9 is the winning hand.

How to Play

To begin the game, players simply must walk up to a Baccarat table and place a bet on either of the three outcomes: your hand winning, the banker’s hand wining, or a tie.

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Player

If you bet on your hand winning and win, you will receive a payout of 1:1. The house has a 1.24% edge over the player.

One thing which can be confusing about baccarat is the drawing of a third card. But the important thing to remember is: this is not a matter of strategy, these decisions are all covered by game rules and actioned by the dealer. So as a player you could simply ‘go with the flow’ – but it’s always a good idea to have some understanding of what may happen.

When a player’s hand totals 0 to 5, or equals 10, a third card is drawn. If the total is 6 or 7, the action is known as a ‘stand’, which means no third card is drawn. Totals of 8 or 9 are described as ‘naturals’, and here too no third card can be drawn.

These actions are summarized in the chart below:

Banker

If you bet on the Banker’s hand wining and win, you will receive a payout of 1:1. You will, however, have to pay the house a 5% commission on your winnings from the Banker’s hands. The house has a 1.06% edge over the player.

The rules for a banker hand follow similar principles but are a little more detailed. Once again, the dealer is responsible for applying these rules and thus will announce the action to be taken. And once more, the actions involving the banker hand are summarized in the chart below:

And one more point: When there is a tie, there is no loser. Should the first two cards total 8 or 9, the hand is deemed a “natural” and is thus an automatic win, except when both hands produce “naturals” of equal value, in which case it becomes a tie. If neither hand contains a natural, further cards are drawn to decide the winner.

Tie

If you bet on a tie and win, you will receive a payout of 8:1 (sometimes 9:1) The house, however, has a 14.36% edge over the player.

When bets are made, the dealer will draw 2 or 3 cards for the player’s and Banker’s hand. The closest hand to 9 wins.

If a hand exceeds 10, 10 is then subtracted from the hand. For example, a hand of 8 and 5 is 3 (13-10). Neither the Dealer nor the player decide if a third card is drawn.

Top tips to play baccarat

Like many other casino games, there is much you can learn from the experience of playing the game. But certain plays and actions should be understood early. So here are six baccarat tips to help you develop a playing strategy.

1) Ignore the ‘tie bet’ option: Experts have calculated the house edge for a tie bet is around 14.4%. Such a big percentage is a disadvantage from the outset and always makes this particular bet a poor choice.

2) The banker is your best bet: Because the bank wins just over 50% of games, this should always be your go-to bet. And the fact that 5% commission is charged to reduce the benefits to the player simply confirms this.

3) Follow the bank – until it loses: You should always watch for winning streaks, and statistically speaking, the bank will usually get the most. When this happens, bet with the bank – just don’t be over-aggressive.

4) Pass on the next bet after the bank loses: Whenever the bank finally loses out to the player, don’t bet on the next outcome. Wait until the following one. Note whether it’s a win for the player or the bank. Then resume betting in line with the outcome of that play.

5) Discount all tie bets: For strategic purposes, treat every tie bet as if it never happened. A tie bet is simply a drawn game without a winner or a loser, so don’t include it in your bank-win/ player-win calculations.

6) Practice good stake management: Though baccarat has an advantageous house edge, its win/lose ratio makes it a coin flip. So look to follow bank streaks as suggested, but always monitor your outlay. Staking 10 units for each wager with a limit of 200 units per session (followed by a complete break) is a wise schedule to follow.