The
Basics
The Player The
Banker Wins, Losses,
Ties Comments
Baccarat
has always enjoyed a decidedly glamorous image. In
Las Vegas, the game is often played in special rooms
that are roped off from the regular casino. Typically,
a baccarat room is occupied by beautiful women (employed
by the casinos to attract players) and high rollers,
who frequently bet thousands of dollars for endless
hours of play. Baccarat dealers sometimes wear
tuxedos, giving the game an additional air of exclusivity.
While the game attracts many notable high rollers,
especially from Asian countries, it has simultaneously
scared off less affluent players, who view the game
as overly sophisticated. Although baccarat may seem
intimidating to those unfamiliar with the rules, it
is, in fact, one of the easiest casino games to play.
There is only one decision you have to make for each
hand, and the dealers handle the rest, playing out
the hands according to strict, predetermined rules.
Some
casinos also offer a game called minibaccarat,
which actually has the exact same rules as regular
baccarat. The only real difference is that minibaccarat
requires only one dealer, and the bets are typically
made in much smaller denominations.
The
Basics
There
are two hands played in baccarat: The player
hand and the banker hand. You can bet
on either one, and if the hand you bet on wins, you
receive an even money (1:1) payoff. There is
one other bet you can make, called the tie
bet. If you make this bet and the two hands
tie, you receive an 8:1 payoff. Ties, however,
occur less than once out of every ten hands.
Each
hand receives 2 cards at the beginning. When
necessary, the dealers will draw additional cards
according to the rules. The hand closest to a
value of 9 wins.
10s,
jacks, queens, and kings all have a value of 0. The
ace through 9 cards have values of 1 to 9, respectively. To
determine the value of each hand, you simply add the
cards. If the total is over 10, the first digit
is ignored. So an 8 and a 6, when added up, would
normally equal 14, but in baccarat, we disregard the
first digit, and instead end up with a value of 4.
Similarly, a 6 and 4 would equal 0, and a 10 and 9
would equal 9.
(Baccarat layout
at the
Cybersportsbook and Casino)
If
the first two cards total 9, the hand is called a
natural, and it automatically wins. A
twocard hand totaling 8 is also referred to as a
natural, and it wins automatically too, unless the
hand it is playing against has a natural as well. When
both hands have a natural, the higher natural hand
wins (9 beating an 8). If the hands have equal
value, it is a tie.
When
neither hand has a natural, there is no automatic
winner, and the dealers draw additional cards to determine
the winning hand.
The
Player Hand
The
player hand draws cards first, according to the following
rules:
When
the first two cards equal....

...the
player must

6,
7, 8, or 9

stand

any
other value

draw
one card

The
player hand can never receive more than one additional
card. The hand must stand after the third card,
regardless of its value at that point.
The
Banker Hand
The
banker hand is a bit more complicated. How the
banker hand gets played is usually determined by what
the player hand's third card is. If the player
hand did not draw a third card (i.e. the player had
a 6 or higher), then the banker draws a card only
if the first two cards total less than 5. Otherwise,
the banker stands.
If
the player did draw a third card, then the banker
plays as follows:
When
the banker's first two cards equal...

...the
banker draws ONLY if the player's third
card is

3 
1,
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, or 10 
4 
2,
3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 
5 
4,
5, 6, or 7 
6 
6
or 7 
When
the banker's first two cards equal... 
...the
banker will 
2
or less 
always
draw 
7,
8, or 9 
always
stand 
Wins,
Losses, and Ties
The
hand closest to nine always wins.
Bets
made on the banker and player pay even money when
won. A winning banker bet, however, is subject to
a 5% house commission. So, if you made a $5 banker
bet and won, you would receive $5.00 minus 5% ($0.25),
which would actually be $4.75. If the two hands
tie, neither bet wins nor loses any money. If
you made a tie bet, however, you would receive an
8:1 payoff.
Although
winning banker bets are subject to a 5% commission,
they are still good bets to make since banker hands
actually win more frequently than player hands. All
things considered, the banker and player bets give
you about the same odds. In both cases, the house
edge is quite small. In fact, it is only 1.17%
for bets on the banker, and 1.36% for bets on the
player. From a statistical standpoint, you are
slightly better off wagering on the banker, albeit
not by much.
Comments
While
the rules may seem a bit confusing, keep in mind that
there really is no need to know them precisely. Baccarat
is pretty much a game of chance, and all you really
have to do is decide which hand you think will win,
and bet accordingly. However, knowing the basic
rules will certainly help you follow what is going
on, making the game a lot more enjoyable.
It
is a good idea to avoid tie bets altogether, since
they give the house a significant advantage (close
to 20%). By sticking to only the banker and player
bets, the house advantage will remain at a minimum,
thereby maximizing your chances of winning.
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