Baccarat is on the face of it a very simple card game bets are made cards dealt and cards either added to or not in accordance with predefined strict rules (this makes it ideal for the web) beacause of this controlled action odds can be calculated reasonably accurately on the outcome over an exended period of time.
Yet if you enter a “Land Based” casino you will often find the Baccarat table sectioned off sometimes in its own rather oppullent environment complete with velvet draps and attractive ladies to add to the ambiance, the dealer may even be wearing a tuxedo.
In this exclusive zone the high rollers rule and if you can afford some of the high minimum stakes you can play too, but fortuneatly some casinos are moving with the times maybe because they know that with the aid of online casinos Joe public realises that this is a game he can play just as well as anyone else, so lets see whats involved.
The basic game involves betting on who will win, or in some cases if their will be a tie, in a hand of cards, this is followed by the dealing of initially two cards from the shoe which usually contains eight shuffled packs to each player and the banker, depending on the values of these cards the cards may be either shown, stand or draw a third card.
When dealing is complete the hand nearest to nine is the winner. The counting is a little unusual, all numbered cards have their face value picure cards count zero, cards in the hand are added numerically and if they total more than nine then tens are discounted. e.g. 4+6+7 = 17 the 1 is disguarded and the hand is worth 7, notice you can’t go bust like Blackjack.
Not excactly rocket science and the choice of when to take a third card is also predefined by the rules and is different for the banker and the players for the players the rule is
Draw if the two cards total value is 0 – 5
Stand if the two cards total value is 6 or 7
If the two cards total value is 8 or 9 then this is a “Natural” and the cards are shown and dealing stops.
For the banker the rule is if the two cards total value is
0 -2 Draw
3 Draw unless the player has drwn another card which was an 8
4 Draw unless the player’s hand has drawn and ace,8,9 or 10
5 Stand unless the player stood on 6 or 7 or drew a 4,5,6 or 7 in which case the banker draws a card
6 Stand unless the player has drawn a 6 or 7
7 The banker always stands
8-9 Natural as for the player
These rules place the odds slightly in favour of the banker accordingly bets on the player winning are paid at even money bets on the banker are evens less commision (this varies but is usually arround the 5% mark) and bets on a tie, where they are accepted are typically 8 to 1, see our Baccarat Odds page for the real odds and the implications of different commission levels.
Our Baccart History page discusses the origins of the game and mentions some of its many versions.