Baccarat is one of the oldest casino games around and is mostly played by Asian gamblers and high rollers. Baccarat is a high class kind of game that often has its own roped off section in the casino where well dressed people participate. There is only one bet to be made in baccarat and that is whether the banker or the player will win the hand. The object is to have the hand with the highest count. The count is determined by the last digit in the number so the highest count possible is nine. For example, 14 would be counted as 4 and 22 would be counted as 2.
How to Play
To begin players bet either on the banker (banko) or the player (punto). All winning bets on the player pay out even money and winning bets on the banker are charged a 5% commission. The dealer then gives two cards to the person who bet the most on the player and two to the banker. Both hands will then be turned over and the casino officials will announce a winner or whether a third card must be dealt. The rules for drawing a third card are as follows:
If either the player or the banker’s hand totals 8 or 9 then the hand is over and no third cards are dealt.
If the player’s hand totals five or less then the player must draw a third card.
If the player doesn’t draw a third card, then the banker stands on 6 or more and takes a third card on 5 or less.
If the player does draw a third card, the value of the card determines what the banker must do.
If the banker’s total is 2 or less then the banker must draw a third card regardless of what the player drew.
If the banker’s total is 3 then the banker must draw a third card except when the player’s third card was an 8.
If the banker’s total is 4 then the banker must draw a third card except when the player’s third card was a 0,1,8 or 9.
If the banker’s total is a 5 then the banker must draw a third card when the player’s third card was a 4,5,6 or 7.
If the banker’s total is 6 then the banker must draw a third card when the player’s third card was a 6 or 7.
If the banker’s total is 7 or higher then the banker does not draw a third card regardless of the third card drawn by the player.
After the winning hand has been determined the casino officials will take the losing bets and award the winning bets.
All players have the option to deal if they choose to. The dealer will continue to deal as long as the banker is winning. Once the banker loses, the dealer moves down the line.
Let’s say you bet $100 on the player. If this was the biggest bet at the table you will be handed the cards. Say the players cards were (10,3) and the bankers cards were (J,6). This means that currently the player’s hand is valued at 3 and the bankers hand is valued at 6. Since the players hand value is below 5 and neither the player nor the banker has a hand value of 8 or 9, the player must receive a third card. Say the card that is drawn is a 4, resulting in a hand value of 7. Since the card drawn isn’t a 6 or a 7 the banker does not draw a third card and the player’s hand wins. Since you bet $100 on the player you win even money.
There isn’t much strategy in baccarat as the game is played with very few player decisions. The house edge is 1.17% when betting on the banker and 1.36% when betting on the player. For this reason the best strategy would be to always bet on the banker.