Poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette may be the biggest and most popular games in a casino, but what about Baccarat? Baccarat is a great card game played between a player and a banker.
Most people know Baccarat because of its connection to James Bond. That is actually quite unfortunate as the game offers quite a different experience than blackjack for example.
Baccarat also goes by the name Punto Banco, so if you were ever confused whether the games are one and the same, we hope to have cleared things up.
What Is Baccarat?
First of all, Baccarat is a game of cards. There are 3 versions of Baccarat played in casinos:
- Baccarat chemin-de-fer
- Baccarat Banque
- Punto Banco
They are all the same essentially, with a few slightly different rules. Although chemin-de-fer is James Bond’s favorite, Punto Banco is the most popular baccarat version in land-based and online gambling sites around the world.
Baccarat is played between a player and a banker where it also gets its name from (Punto=player; Banco=bank). It’s popular in Europe under the name of Punto Banco. In Macau and all around Asia, Baccarat is a big casino game. According to estimates, more than 90% of the income in Macau casinos comes from Baccarat.
The game is played on two types of tables. It can either be played at a blackjack table with one dealer. It can also be a bigger, kidney-shaped table that may include up to 3 dealers. The latter is common for big casinos in Europe where a total of 12 players can sit in comfy armchairs and deal the cards on their own.
The bigger ‘variant’ of Baccarat is also the more challenging one as there are more players involved along with several dealers. However, the version played on a smaller table has its own charm. It is perfect for those that don’t like playing in a crowd.
What Are The Rules Of Baccarat?
In Baccarat, the objective of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand value. Whoever is closer to a count of 9 wins the game. When the game starts, the dealer deals two cards to himself and the player. The first one to the player (the dealer usually burns the first card, meaning its dealt face up). after that he deals to himself. Third to the player again, and the last one goes to himself again.
Unlike in blackjack where an ace can be worth 10 points, in Baccarat it is worth one point. All the other cards up to 9 retain their numeric value. Face cards are worthless in this game.
Once the cards are dealt, the player checks his hand. The objective of the goal is to get as close to 9 as possible. Since there are cards with a higher value, a player may end up with a value of two digits. In this case, he doesn’t go bust. A value of 10 is deducted from any hand with a double-digit value. That gives the player a single-digit number. For example, the cards the player holds in his hands are 9 and 8. That brings the count to 17. Ten is deducted from the total value, bringing the count to 7.
Baccarat has 3 main bets – player (Punto), banker (Banco), and Egalite (Tie). This means that the player can bet whether he wins, the dealer wins or they will tie. In this case, both should have an equal hand value (e.g. 7). Than the player wins his bet.
The rules of Baccarat state that if the player has a hand value of 0-5, a third card is drawn. If the value is 6 or 7, the player stands. If the player’s hand has a value of 8-9, which is also known as a natural, the player stands again.
When it comes to the banker’s rules, he draws a card in case of a hand value of 0-3. If the banker’s hand value is 4 and the player’s hand value is 5, the banker draws a third card. He also draws a third card if his hand is a total of five and the player has a hand valued 4-7 or if the banker’s hand value is 6 and the player’s hand is 6-7.
The banker only stands when his hand value is either 7, 8 or 9. After the cards are revealed, the banker pays out the winnings or collects the lost bets. If the hand results in a tie, neither the house or the player wins.
Like all popular casino games, Baccarat (and Punto Banco) has its own online version. If you try looking for Punto Banco in online casinos you probably won’t find it, but you can play baccarat which is more or less the same.
Of course, due to the virtual nature of an online casino, you don’t get the chance to deal the cards on your own, but everything else is basically the same. The first thing you need to do is find a respectable casino and always check the rules of the game you’re playing, as they might differ from what you know. Of course, you should check the payouts as well, although in Baccarat they shouldn’t be much different from what land-based casinos offer.
Once you’re ready to play, you’ll see that the virtual table isn’t at all different than those you’re familiar with. Some casinos also offer live Baccarat in their live casino sections, which brings the excitement of playing in a land-based casino to your PC or mobile screen – it’s something you should definitely check out.
What Are The Odds?
A winning player in Baccarat is paid out at even money. A winning bank is paid out at 19/20. The Egalite bet pays 8/1 (don’t believe the casinos that advertise it as 9/1). The low house edge never goes under 1%. That’s why Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games. The casino has a huge advantage over the player on the Egalite bet, which has a house edge of 14%.
How Can I Play Baccarat?
Baccarat is a simple game to play and doesn’t require any special skills. It’s a game of chance that requires minimal involvement of the player. All you can do is place your money on three basic bets. You have the Tie, the Banker and the Player bet. What does that mean? It means that you need to place a wager on one of the three bets before you begin playing. For instance, you can bet that the Banker bet will win and then you will get two cards by the dealer.
You don’t touch your cards until all players are dealt with their cards and all bets are placed. Then, the dealer compares the totals. If your total is 5 or less, you are dealt with another card. It the two-card total is less than 8 or 9, the player doesn’t draw a third card.
Things are a bit more complicated with the dealer. If the dealer’s hand total is no higher than five, he will draw a card if the player hasn’t. Just like the player, the dealer does not draw a third card if the two-card total is 8 or 9. The dealer also stands if the player hand is 7. Whenever the player draws a third card, the dealer will do the same if his total is 2.
If it’s three, he’ll take a third card only if the player’s third card isn’t an 8. The dealer will draw a third card in case of a hand total of 4 only if the player’s third card isn’t a 0, 1, 8 or 9. If the dealer’s total is 5, he’ll take a third card if the player’s third is 4, 5, 6 or 7. Finally, the dealer will draw another card if his hand is a total of 6 and the player draws a third card which is a 6 or 7.
The tableau of drawing rules is consulted when neither the player or banker are dealt a hand total of 8 or 9 on the first two cards. In this case, the tableau is consulted for the player’s rules first.
What Are The Game Rules?
The majority of casinos in the USA and across Europe offer punto banco, simply known as baccarat. This is the default variant of baccarat most people know and play. In it, the casino banks the game at all times and plays out both hands according to pre-determined rules. The two hands dealt are for the player (punto) and bank (banco), which means that you can back those choices.
A regular baccarat table has spots for 12-14 players. The game uses a shoe containing 6-8 standard 52-card decks which are shuffled together. The cards have a different value than their usual. For instance, cards from 2 through 9 have their rip value, while the tens, jacks, queens, and kings are worth nothing, zero. The ace counts as 1.
Once players place their bets, the game starts. The dealer burns the first card (draws it face up). Depending on its numerical value, he continues to burn that many cards (i.e. if it’s a 10, he burns 10 cards up). Your goal is to obtain a hand that is closest to a total of 9. The rule is that you need to subtract 10 from the total to get the result. For instance, if your hand is 18, you subtract 10, meaning your hand totals in 8.
What’s The House Edge?
Baccarat is a casino game with the lowest house edge – the player bet has a house edge of 1.24%, while the banker bet comes at 1.06%. These odds are better than playing single-zero roulette and quite comparable to playing blackjack without any strategy. There’s also a 5% provision on both bets should your selection win.
The low house edge is the reason why baccarat is a game preferred by high-rollers. Those who spend big at casino tables love baccarat since as its high-stakes nature helps them win big. Not all the time, of course, but it does happen occasionally.
What Are The Payouts?
The payouts in baccarat vary due to the different house edge. The player and banker bets both pay even money, while the tie pays 8:1. In case of a draw, the player gets his money back.
Although one cannot say that one bet is better than the other, pro baccarat players recommend avoiding the Tie bet until you’re confident you’ve understood the game. The thing is, they say that the Banker bet is the safest, as it wins more than 50% of the time. That’s a 50% chance that you will win, after all.
In fact, expert players claim that if the Banker is on a streak, you should wager on it until it loses and then take a break. This is not a baccarat strategy as much as it is a useful advice by professional players. Of course, if it doesn’t work for you, you don’t necessarily need to follow it.
Can I Use Some Kind Of Strategy?
A quick glance at the odds will tell you that the house edge lies in the banker bet. It’s the bet that is least likely to win. Knowing this and the fact that the player and banker bets have even odds, it’s fair to assume that you’ll win the most on those bets.
The even nature of these bets is why some players decide to use a gambling system. Of course, not all of them will work great, but a simple system such as the 1-3-2-4 may bring you profits.
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