How to Play Baccarat: Rules, Strategy & Odds
Baccarat is one of the easiest games you’ll find in any casino. It’s actually amusing how land-based casinos try to put an air of mystique and aristocracy around such a one-dimensional game, but it does help to attract high rollers to the tables as they are drawn to enter the velvet ropes and shielding curtains of a resort casino’s extravagantly adorned baccarat tables.
This article is meant to teach gaming enthusiasts just how easy it is to play baccarat, and also that anyone can participate, not just the wealthiest of gamblers. If you find the refined nature of the game’s secluded enclosures to be too intimidating, you will be glad to know that just about every online casino offers the game of baccarat, where you can play anytime, without pressure, from the comfort of home.
What makes baccarat so incredibly easy to play is that no one actually “plays”? baccarat. Yes, there are cards involved, dealt out to produce a Player’s Hand and a Banker’s Hand, the outcome of which decides the winner of each game. However, the bettor has no control over the outcome of either hand. More akin to a spin of the roulette wheel, the player is merely placing a wager on which hand they believe will come out on top.
The Player and Banker are each dealt two cards. The value of each hand is determined by adding the value of both cards, which cannot exceed 9. If the value exceeds 9, the 10’s place digit is dropped and the remainder becomes the value. For example, a hand of 9-7 would add up to 16. The 10 is dropped and the value becomes 6. The best possible hand is 9, the worst possible hand 0.
There are three possible wagers that can be made in baccarat. The bettor can wager that the Banker Hand will win, that the Player Hand will win, or that the two hands will Tie. The way each hand plays out is defined by a specific regime of hand value rules.
If either the Player or Banker receives a hand valued at 8 or 9, it is called a “natural”? and neither hand may take another card. If the Player Hand amounts to 5 or below, it must take another card. If it is 6 or 7, it must stand.
The Banker Hand is played out according to the value of the Player Hand, whether the Player has taken a third card, and the value of that third card, if applicable. Like any casino game, the rules are designed to give the house (in this case the Banker) an edge over the player. Thus the chances of the Banker Hand coming out on top will always be higher. However, this does not necessarily mean it is in the player’s best interest to bet on the Banker.
Again, like every casino game, the house finds an edge on every possible wager. In the case of a Banker bet in Baccarat, casino’s collect a small commission of 5% on any winning Banker bet. Both Player and Banker bets pay 1 to 1 (minus the 5% commission on Banker bets), while the Tie bet pays 8 to 1. All in all, the Banker bet is still the most probable winner, toting a house edge of only 1%. The Player bet has a house edge of 1.25% and the Tie bet has a terrible house edge of more than 14%.