Use our baccarat guide below to learn all about this old school casino game. if you haven’t played it yet, you are really missing out.
When it comes to sophisticated table games, baccarat is the king of the casino. If you are ever in a live casino and see a big roped-off area with lots of well-dressed people sitting around a large table, then you are likely watching a baccarat table. What’s really interesting about baccarat is that while it plays with concepts similar to blackjack, you don’t actually get to make any strategic decisions when you play. Overall, it’s a very simple game with strategies that are easy to learn, and a lot of the appeal of the game is the social interaction that players get at the table since the average table seats a dozen or more players.
The Rules of Baccarat
In the middle of the baccarat table, there are two different areas for cards. One area is called “Player,” and the other area is labeled “Banker.” Keep in mind that the dealer handles both of these card areas, and the players aren’t dealt individual cards. Only one of the dealer cards is turned face-up after the deal, while neither of the player cards are face-down, much like blackjack. The players start off by making their bets, and then the cards are dealt. From there, the real play begins.
The card values in baccarat are as follows. The Ace is one point, while Tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings are all zero points. The rest of the cards are their face value. The goal of the game is to get as close to a total of nine as possible. However, if you go over, then you only look at the ‘ones’ digit of your total, so there is no busting like in blackjack.
Action on the table begins like this. The players make their bets by betting on either the player, the banker or an end result of a tie, and then the cards are dealt. One card for the dealer is up, and both player cards are up. There are similar rules for hitting and standing as in blackjack, except there is a strict procedure. If either the player or the banker has an eight or a nine total, then this is called a “natural” and they must immediately stand. If the player has a total of five or less, then the player hits once. With a total of six or seven, the player stands. Once the player’s turn is over, the dealer’s play is based on a complicated set of rules.
If the player hand stood without hitting, then the dealer hand hits if it has a total of five or less. This is simple enough. However, if the player hit, then the dealer hits based on what the player’s third card was and what the banker’s score is. If the banker has a score of three or less, then the dealer hits if the player’s third card is a zero card, Ace or Nine. If the player’s third card was an Eight, then the banker hits only with a score of two or less. With a third player’s card of Two or Three, the banker hits with a score of four or less. When the third player’s card is a Four or Five, the banker hand will hit when it has a score of five or less. Finally, if the player has a third card that is a Six or Seven, the dealer only stands with a score of seven, eight or nine.
Because the physical players at the table have so few strategic options in the game, it’s hard to put much of a dent in the casino’s average take on the game. With that having been said, the banker bet has a payout rate of slightly more than 99 percent, and the player bet has a payout rate of just under 99 percent. You also have the option of betting that the game will be a tie, but with the standard eight deck shoe, this bet has a payout rate of just under 86 percent, making it the worst bet at the table by far.
The best strategy with baccarat is to bet on the banker and to look for games with special promotions that can help to whittle down the house advantage. The reason for this is that mathematics has proven that there is no real advantage that can be gained with counting cards with a system like blackjack.
Baccarat is an excellent social game with simple rules that are easy to learn. This makes it one of the favorites of high stakes players who often see it as a more sophisticated version of games like blackjack. Because of famous movie shots of baccarat games, it has a lot of symbolism as an important game for important people of status.
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