Simple to learn and easy to play, Baccarat is a French card game, played by the comparing of two hands, the player and the banker. In this game either player wins, the banker wins or it is a tie. The aim of the game is to bet on which hand you think will have the highest value.
Similar games like Macao and Oicho-Kabu were around before Baccarat came on to the scene in the 19th century. Now, Baccarat has its own variation in the game, Punto Banco, (meaning ‘player and banker’) which is commonly found along side, or instead of classic Baccarat in many casinos around the world as there is not much difference between the two games.
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Choose your table! Big table Baccarat is for the high rollers often in VIP areas. Midi baccarat can be found in roped off sections on the casino floor, and mini Baccarat tables, are a smaller table, a faster game, lower bets, and is more accessible for the casino visitor as they are usually on the main card gaming floors.
Make sure you have a stack of casino chips to bet with.
The dealing box of cards is called the ‘shoe’. You can play Baccarat with either a six-deck or an eight-deck shoe. The dealer holds the shoe, and the dealers’ duties are rotated around the table. If a player does not want to deal they can pass the shoe on to the next player.
You must bet either on the player, the banker, or a standoff (tie) before the cards are dealt.
The dealer will give two cards each to the player and the banker. If these two cards total 8 or 9 for each player, this is considered a ‘natural hand’. The hand is then over and bets are cashed out. If it is not an 8 or 9, a ‘third card rule’ comes in to play. This rule is determined by the amount the cards add up to in each hand.
Third card rule has different guidelines for both banker and player, but are determined only by the number on the preceding cards. You can’t opt out of a third card if the numbers under the rule come up, you must play it.
Player: draws a third card if the players first two cards are equal or less than 5. If the player DOESN’T draw the third card, the banker hand stands on 6 or more, and will also take a third card with a total of 5 or less. When the player DOES take a third card, the bankers rules will establish if the bank is taking a third card.
Banker: With a total of 2 or less, bank draws third card. Total of 3, bank draws third card UNLESS player’s third card is an 8. Total of 4, bank draws third card UNLESS player’s card third card is 0,1, 8, and 9. Total of 5, bank draws third card IF the player’s third card is 4,5,6,7. Total of 6, bank draws third card IF the player’s third card is 6,7. Total of 7, then the banker stands.
Confused much? Don’t worry, Baccarat is he kind of game you need to play a few hands at to get into the swing of things and learn what each value means.
The house will charge a 5% commission on bankers hands won.
Stakes and bonuses
Baccarat cards are given the following value.
Ace = 1
2-9 = face value
10 and face cards =0
Winning bets on the banker pays 19 – 20, winning bets on the player pay 1 -1, winning bets on a tie 8-1
The banker bet wins more often than not and the house has an advantage most of the time. For each win: – Player wins – House advantage 1.24%, banker wins – house advantage 1.06%, a tie – house advantage 14.4%
Safety and withdrawal
You may leave a game when the hand is finished and the shoe is passed on to the next player. The casino croupier, or dealer, will have kept track on the commission you must pay (from your bankers hands wins) and will collect all commissions before players leave the table.
Where to play
A game frequently played by high rollers, bets can start at a relatively high price. It is because of this that sometimes you’ll find designated baccarat playing areas, cordoned off from other major casino sections for safety and privacy purposes. Sometimes they are in another room altogether.
Found in most major casinos, the smaller tables, the mini Baccarat table, can be found in smaller establishments. Casinos like Jupiter’s casino on the Gold Coast in Australia is a large casino but is a low rollers Baccarat heaven with some tables as low as $5 minimum.