Complete Guide to Baccarat

Baccarat TableBaccarat looks more complicated than it actually is. The points system is a little strange for people at first but it’s pretty easy after you run through a few rounds of baccarat. There are only three different bets in baccarat, making it one of the simplest table games in the casino.

For a long time, baccarat has attracted wealthy gamblers and the minimum limits at baccarat tables are usually quite high. You’ll often see beautiful women and well-dressed men in the private baccarat areas.

Two people are dealt into every game, and each person bets on one of three outcomes: Player Win, Banker Win, or Tie. Both the Player and Banker positions are played by casino guests. The names don’t imply that the guests are playing against casino employees.

Baccarat offers one of the lowest house advantages in the entire casino. Bets on the player offer a house edge of only 1.36% and bets on the banker offer a house edge of 1.17%. Tie bets are a bad gamble that offers the house an edge of 14.12%.

The casino charges a 5% commission on bets on the Banker because the Banker will win slightly more often than 50% of the time. This commission is what gives the house a 1.17% advantage on Banker bets. Despite the commission, bets on the Banker are still the best bets in baccarat.

Points

The points system in baccarat is a little odd. Cards ranked 2-9 are valued at face value, 10s and face cards are worth 0, and aces are worth 11. Hand values are then calculated by summing the total value of the cards and ignoring the tens digit.

For example, a hand containing a 6 and 9 would equal 5 (6 + 9 = 15 = 5). A hand containing a 4 and 3 would equal 7. The best possible hand in baccarat is a 9, which can be formed with 9 and a face card, Ace and 8 or 5 and 4.

The worst possible hand is any two cards that add up to 10. For example, 6 and 4 equals 0 (6 + 4 = 10 = 0). A hand worth 0 is called “baccarat” which makes the game unique because it’s one of the few games named after the worst possible hand.

Play of the Game

Players take turns dealing the cards by passing the shoe around the table. Each player gets to deal for as long as the Banker wins. When the Player wins, the deal moves to the next player.

The cards are turned face-up after both cards have been dealt and the table croupier announces the score of each hand. The next move is determined by a strict set of rules.

If either the Player or Banker has an 8 or 9 after the two cards are dealt, it’s called a “natural” and both players “stand” (stop receiving cards). The person with the highest score wins.

In all other situations, the Player and Banker act according to the following rules:

Player

If the Player has a score of 0-5, the Player draws another card. If the Player has a score of 6-7, the Player stands.

Banker

Here is what the banker does in each situation:

If the Player did not draw:

- The Banker draws if his score is 0-5

- Stands if his score is 6-7Cherry Red Casino Baccarat

If the Player drew a 2 or a 3:

- The Banker draws if his score is 0-4

- Stands if his score is 5-7

If the Player drew a 4 or a 5:

- The Banker draws if his score is 0-5

- Stands if his score is 6-7

If the Player drew a 6 or a 7:

- The Banker draws if his score is 0-6

- Stands if his score is 7

If the Player drew an 8:

- The Banker draws if his score is 0-2

- Stands if his score is 3-7

If the Player drew an Ace, 9, 10, J, Q, or K:

- The Banker draws if his score is 0-3

- Stands if his score is 4-7

The croupier will announce the winner and loser of each game and collect/pay out all the bets. It looks like a complicated set of rules, but the croupier takes care of everything and the players just have to wait for the result.

In the end, this game has a small house edge and no skill involved. Even though it looks like a complex, high-class game, it’s really no different than betting on a coin flip every round.

Baccarat Etiquette

  • Don’t berate the dealer no matter how much you lose. It’s a game of chance and there’s nothing the dealer can do.
  • Keep your hands away from the table after the bets have been placed.
  • Dress nicely for the baccarat tables. This is a game of class so you should dress the part.
  • Tip the croupier occasionally.
  • Join baccarat tables when the shoe has just started or when it’s almost finished.
  • Ask for chips in between hands, not during hands.
  • Be polite, positive, reserved and respectful.  Baccarat isn’t a game for loudmouths or impolite people.

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