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Baccarat is a gambling card game in which players hold two- or three- card hands, the winning hand being that given the highest possible remainder when its face value is divided by 10.

Rules of Baccarat

The rules of baccarat are easy and simple to learn. The aim of the game is to get a hand value as close to 9 as possible. So the best hand a player can receive will equal 9 points with the first two cards dealt. Your second best hand will total 8 with your first two cards. These two hands are called 'natural' hands and no further cards will be dealt if you or the banker have a natural hand.

Baccarat hand value is calculated according to the following card values:

  • Aces count as 1
  • Cards 2 through 9 count at face value
  • 10's and face cards count as 0.

It is important to remember that it is impossible to have a combination of cards that totals more than 9. If you are dealt a 8 and a 7, for example, the total is not 15, but 5. If you're dealt a 4 and an 7, the total is not 11, but 1.

The dealer deals 4 cards, 2 each for the house and player. If the point total of either or both sides is 8 or 9, it is called 'a natural' and no more cards are dealt. If the point total of both sides is the same, it is a tie. When the dealer's or the player's points, after the initial two cards, don not add up to a natural, or when there is no tie, one additional card is dealt according to specific baccarat rules as described below.

If the player's initial hand adds up to 6 or more, he must stand and will not be dealt additional cards. For 5 or less, the player will be dealt an additional card. If the house hand, meanwhile, adds up to 7 or more, the house must stand. Should the house total add up to 0, 1 or 2, the house must take an additional card.

If the house hand totals 3, and the player's third card is anything other than 8 (the player receives his cards before the dealer), house will hit. If the house hand totals 4, and the player's third card is anything other than 1, 8, 9, or 0, house will hit. If the house hand totals 5, and the player is dealt a 4, 5, 6, or 7, house will hit. And if the house hand totals 6, and the player's third card is 6 or 7, the house will hit.

Breakdown of Baccarat Table Layout:

  1. Caller ("Croupier")
  2. Dealer1
  3. Dealer2
  4. Drop Box
  5. Discard Trays
  6. Tips box

Up to 14 players occupy the seats, which correspond to the numbers on the layout wagers placed in a section outlined in front of the players. According to the possible choices at the beginning of each game, the player has three betting areas associated with his/her position at the table. They are: "Banker", "Player" or "Tie".

Baccarat Payouts

If you bet on a winning player's hand, you will be paid out at 1 to 1.
If you wager on a winning house hand, the payout is also 1 to 1.
If you bet on a tie, the payout is 8 to 1.

Baccarat Strategy

Reliable baccarat strategy is generally considered a falsehood rather than a reality among gamblers. Although you may often hear people asserting that they have devised the 'perfect' strategy, Baccarat is essentially a game of chance and there is relatively little the player can do strategically to improve the odds.

However, there are several things to remember when playing baccarat that will help you to make better decisions, play more intelligently; thereby increasing your chances of success.

Consider the following if you want to become a better player:

  • Pattern spotting
  • Which game favours the player?
  • The Tie bet
  • Should you always bet on the banker?

Baccarat Pattern spotting - an effective strategy or superstitious nonsense?

You will often see some players make use of the pencil and chart provided by most casinos, keeping track of previous hands and trying to determine if there is a pattern. If they believe there is a pattern, they will change their betting in order to take advantage of a streak. The casino encourages this because they know it has no bearing on the game. In Baccarat, based on luck and fortune, no hand can have influence on a following hand. Pay no attention to all those marking score cards.

Which game favours the player?

Some tables use different numbers of decks. You can maximize returns by playing baccarat with single decks which offer the best mathematical return (about 1% house edge) for the banker bet. The banker bet represents the best return possible of any bets in any form of baccarat.

The Tie bet - When is the best time to wager on it?

Never! Avoid it at all costs!! No matter what you are told, the Tie is NOT a good option. Although the payout is considerably more than the player and banker bets, it is not a good idea. The house edge on tie bets is at least 5%. Smart gamblers do not bet on the tie.

Should you always bet on the banker?

Technically yes. Looking at the numbers, the odds are always better if you bet on the banker. Remember, the house does have an edge, even though it is relatively small for baccarat. This means that in the long run the house will win. To minimize the house edge, it is advisable to bet on the banker.

Important note:

Practice first before betting! It is always a good idea to practice your chosen game in free play mode (offered by all our online casinos) as it gives you the opportunity to check out their software before you start playing for money. And remember, use the above advice as a guideline only, no more and no less.

Baccarat Tips

Try keep these tips in mind when playing online baccarat.

  • Always remember that baccarat is a game of chance. There is little, if any, skill involved.
  • Make sure you set winning and losing limits when playing baccarat. Never play more than you can afford to lose.
  • The banker/house takes a 5% commission on winning bets placed on the 'Banker'. This tells us that the odds of the banker winning is higher than that of the player and thus making a banker bet a safer bet.
  • Tie bets generally payout 8-1 and they do so for a reason. they are scarce. Avoid tie bets as they will destroy your bank roll.
  • Systems don't work! Don't waste your time or money on baccarat systems.

Baccarat Glossary

A Natural
If the first two cards have a total score of 8 or 9 this is called a Natural.

Baccarat is the name of the game. Baccarat is an Italian word meaning Zero. Zero is the worst hand you can get in baccarat.

Banker Bet
A bet placed on the Banker's hand beating the Players hand.

Banko is only another name for the Bank. By announcing 'Banko' during a private baccarat game a player can challenge the Bankers entire bankroll by announcing 'Banko'.

Refers to all the money you bring to the table.

Best Baccarat Bet
This is a bet on the Banker - chances of winning are 45.84%.

A variant of baccarat - means railroad.

The casino takes a 5% commission on winning bets on Banker.

A single round of baccarat.

A casino employee who is dealing the cards and handling bets - paying winners and so on.

Le Grande
A hand with the value 9 - the best possible baccarat hand. Grand is French meaning Big.

This is a term used about all the cards - normally 8 decks or cards. Adding up to 416 cards.

A hand with the value 8 - petite is French meaning small.

Player Bet
A bet placed on the Players hand to beat the dealers hand.

Punto Banko
Another name for baccarat.

A variant of baccarat - also called chemin-de-fer.

The shoe is where the cards are dealt from.

Slang for the Bank.

A Tie - the value of the dealer and players hands are the same.

Streak A winning streak or a losing streak.

Tie Bet
A bet on a tie among the Banker and the Player.

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