The name baccarat draws from the Italian baccarat, which represents 0. Once you have played baccarat, you will understand the relevancy of this title. The origins of the game are said to date back to 16th century Italy but it soon spread across Europe, becoming a game that was appreciated by the nobility in France. Many people associate baccarat with James Bond, making this the casino game of choice for people who crave the life of the rich and famous.
Aside from its cool image, there is a very strong reason why so many casino veterans opt to play baccarat. The house edge for baccarat is low, much lower than the majority of casino games. If you remove the tie games from the equation, you are looking at the bank triumphing 50.68% of the time and the player winning 49.32% of the time. With the advantage to the house greatly reduced compared to some casino games, gamers that appreciate the statistical approach to games will enjoy what baccarat has to offer.
How to Play Baccarat/Punto Banco
There are a couple of different versions of Barracat that are played around the world, but the most common one you’re likely to find in countries such as the UK, USA, Australia and Canada is Punto Banco – and this is what we call ‘Baccarat’ in casinos in the UK. So just to save confusion, the version described here is actually Punto Banco, but referred to as Baccarat – simple, right?
The premise of baccarat is simple in that there are three outcomes. The player can win, the banker can win or there can be a tie. Players involved with the game can wager on the player’s hand or on the banker’s hand. The bet must be placed before the cards are dealt.
Both the banker and the player will be dealt two cards. The player or the operator in the casino, who is responsible for the shoe, will remove one card and then place it facing upwards in the box of the player. The next card is then removed from the shoe before being placed in the box of the banker. This pattern is repeated, with the player receiving another card and then the banker will receive their second card.
At this time, the point total of the player’s and banker’s cards will be announced. In baccarat, ten cards and face cards are worth zero points. An ace is equal to one point and all other cards in the game are worth their numerical value.
If the total of the two cards in a hand rises above 10, the right hand side number (the second number) is declared as the value of the card. An example of this would be a player holding a 7 and a 6, totalling 13. However, the hand would be worth 3 points, as this is the right hand number of the total.
The aim of the game when playing baccarat is to place a bet on the hand that is closest to 9.
If the banker held a 3 and a 5, their points total would equal 8. If the player held a 6 and a 5, their total be 1. In comparison, the banker has a points total that is closer to 9 (8 being closer than 1) and therefore bets placed on the banker would be successful. Bets placed on the player for this game would be lost.
In that example, as the first two cards which were dealt to either the player or banker resulted in a points tally of 8 or 9, the game is classed as a natural win. This ends the game and all of the bets that have been placed are paid out on.
However, if there is not a natural win in the opening two cards for either the player or the banker, the game can continue. With respect to the player, if they tally an 8 or 9 in two cards, they receive no further cards. If they hold a 6 or a 7 from their initial two cards, they will stand. However, if the player tallies between 0 and 5 on their first two cards, they will draw a third card, unless the banker holds an 8 or 9, and if this is the case, no further cards are drawn.
If the player does not draw another card, the banker will stand on a hand total of 6 or 7 while they will draw another card if they hold a hand worth between 0 and 5.
The rules for what the banker does if the player draws another card may seem complicated at first but it is easy to follow. These outcomes all follow on from a player drawing an additional card due to their tally being between 0 and 5.
- If the player draws an Ace, a face card, a 10 or a 9 as their third card, the banker will stand when their total is between 4 and 7 or draws when their total is between 0 and 3.
- If the player draws an 8 as their third card, the banker stands when their total is between 3 and 8 or draws when their total is between 0 and 2.
- If the player draws a 6 or 7, the banker stands when their total is 7 or draws when their total is between 0 and 6.
- If the player draws a 4 or 5, the banker stands when their total is either 6 or 7 and draws when their total is between 0 and 5.
- If the player draws a 2 or 3, the banker stands when their total is between 5 and 7 or draw when their total is between 0 and 4.
Once all of the cards have been dealt, the totals should be calculated and the winning hand is the one that is closest to 9. If there is a tie, there is no winner or loser.
Baccarat Tips & Strategy
The nature of baccarat means that there are no valid strategies that will give you any additional advantage when playing. This means that the common sense strategies associated with casino play are very much at the fore.
Wherever possible, slow the play down and make sure you think about your decisions. Casinos benefit in increasing the pace of play, forcing players to think quickly and to go through more money in a shorter period of time.
Knowing your budget limits and only betting what you can afford to lose are sure-fire ways of making the most of your time when playing baccarat.