Baccarat Basics

Baccarat is favoured by the rich and famous and can be found on a wide range of online casinos across the world. The appeal has something to do with its simplicity, potential for big wins and the high-maximum stakes imposed on the many private tables reserved for all their regular high-rollers.

Baccarat has also been glamorised by the likes of James Bond through the many depictions of him playing the game throughout his films. With it being such a popular game has decided to put together a detailed guide which will help you get the most out of your baccarat page.

The bets

There are two principle bets to make when playing baccarat at the casino: banker or player – or punto – banco. Another bet available to the player is the standoff bet – which is rarely taken due to its poor odds. Depending on the casino, some let the players deal in turns while some restrict dealing just to the banker. In online and live baccarat the cards are simple dealt by the dealer.

Banker or player?

Everybody has the opportunity to play as the banker in baccarat; you also have the opportunity to not deal and instead may pass the shoe. The shoe will remain with the player until the bank loses and then it passes on to the next player.

Playing to lose!

During the dealing process all players have the opportunity to bet on either punto or banco – it is customary though for the dealer to bet on banco.

Since you are able to bet on the banker instead of the player, in some situations you want the player to lose!

How much do I win?

Two hands are dealt and each player has to bet which one will win; or if they’ll tie – which is the standoff bet. The payoff for winning is 1:1 – apart from the standoff bet which pays out various odds. The only difference between punto or banco is that a win on a banco bet will have a 5% commission implemented.

The cards and hands

Each hand consists of a maximum of three cards and a minimum of two cards – the person who is the dealer will put two cards face down and then give two cards to the person who has placed the highest bet – these are the punto cards. He or she will then look at the cards and give them to the person who is dealing and then the banker will turn over all cards – the casino dealer will then announce who has won and pay out accordingly.

What are natural hands?

Natural hands are hands that have a total of 8 or 9 – these are the highest hands possible in the game. If natural hands are dealt the game will end and no more cards will be dealt. If hands are not natural then more cards will be dealt – this is determined by the dealer. There are a precise set of rules when it comes to dealing a third card:

2 cards or 3?

Player’s third-card-rule

  • If either the bank or the player’s total is eight or nine on first cards then no further cards are released. This is a natural hand and the game is over.
  • If the player has a total hand value less than or equal to five the player will then draw a third card.
  • If the player doesn’t draw a third card then the bank stands on 6 or more and the banker takes a third card if their total is five or less. The bank’s third-card-rules apply when they take a third card:

Bank’s third-card rule:

  • If the bank holds a hand of 2 or less then the bank will draw a card – regardless of whatever the player’s third card is.
  • If the bank holds a hand of 3 or less then the bank draws a third card, unless the player drew an 8 as their third card.
  • If the bank holds a hand of 4 then the bank will draw a third card unless the player drew a 0, 1, 8 or 9.
  • If the bank holds a hand of 5 then the bank will draw a third card if the player drew a third card of 4, 5, 6 or 7.
  • If the bank holds a hand of 6 then the bank draws a third card if the player drew a third hand
  • If the bank holds a hand of 7 then the bank stands.

Tips to play

With baccarat being solely a game of chance there are no sure ways of winning. We do have a couple of recommendations though:

  • Bet on the bank: Over time the banker wins 3 or 4 times more when playing through an 8-deck shoe. This means by betting on the bank to win you have more chance of winning.
  • Never bet on a standoff – The chances of winning standoff are slim and can result in negative equity rather quickly. We highly recommend you don’t bet on the standoff.

That’s pretty much everything you need to know about baccarat. Check out our other strategy guides here and good luck at the tables from the team.

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