Baccarat holds of bit of mystique for the casual gambler. You may or may not see a lot of people at the baccarat tables in casinos. The casual gambler feels that it’s a high stakes game that is hard to understand and play. The truth is baccarat is actually very simple to play, and there may be only one good strategy.
RULES OF PLAY
The goal of the game is to bet on who will have the winning hand. There are 3 bets you can make in baccarat, The Banker’s Bet, The Player’s Bet and The Tie bet.
- Played with 3 dealers and 12 to 14 players
- Six to eight decks are used
- Aces count as 1
- Face cards and 10’s count as 10
- All remaining cards count as their face value
- Suit doesn’t matter
- Object of the game is to get as close to 9 as possible
- Player wins automatically with Natural 8 or 9
- Player must hit 5 or less
- Banker stands on 7 or more
- Banker must hit 0, 1, or 2
PLAY OF THE GAME
Play begins with all players, including the dealer, placing their bets on the banker, the player, or a tie. The dealer traditionally bets on the banker. The dealer can be the casino dealer or a player. Bets can be placed on more than one bet.
Once bets are placed, everybody receives two cards, including the banker. The two cards are added up and the last digit of that total is your score. For instance, if you receive a 9 and a 3, the total is 12, so your score is 2. The scores will always be between 0 and 9, and it is impossible to bust.
Whether or not a third card is dealt, is determined by strict game rules.
A two-card total of 8 or 9 is considered a Natural for the player and wins, the hand is over and payouts are made.
Depending on totals, a third card may be dealt. If the player total is 5 or less they must hit and receive 1 more card.
The banker’s play is determined by what the player has done. It is as follows:
- If the player’s third card is a 9, 10 or Ace, the banker will draw with a total of 0-3 and stand with a total of 4-7
- If the player’s third card is an 8, the banker will draw with a total of 0-2 and stand with a total of 3-7
- If the player’s third card is a 6 or 7, the banker will draw with a total of 0-6 and stand with a total of 7
- If the player’s third card is a 4 or 5, the banker will draw with a total of 0-5 and stand with a total of 6 or 7
- If the player’s third card is a 2 or 3, the banker will draw with a total of 0-4 and stand with a total of 5-7
Once all the cards are dealt, the hand total that is closest to 9 wins. If the player and the dealer have the same total, it’s a tie and no one wins. The bets on the player and the banker are returned and the tie bet is paid off.
If the banker has the highest total, that bet is paid 1:1, less 5% commission
If the player has the highest total, that bet is paid 1:1
If it is a tie, that bet is paid 8:1, or 9:1 (depending on the casino)
The banker bet includes a commission payment because the banker has a slight advantage
BEST BEGINNER STRATEGY
Always bet on the banker. Despite the fact that a commission is taken, it’s still the best bet. It’s a very simple strategy and practically the only strategy.
You only have to consider what the house edge is in baccarat to understand. The house edge for the banker’s bet is 1.06%. The house edge for the player’s bet is 1.24% and the house edge for the tie bet is ridiculous. Most table games seem to have a sucker bet and the tie bet is the sucker bet for baccarat.
So if you want to gamble at a casino table game or online, without basically thinking, just sit at a baccarat table and only bet the banker and figure out when you’d like to cash out your winnings!
There really is no skill in Baccarat, it’s about luck. Once you’ve placed your bet, there’s nothing else for you to control. You just want to truly understand the rules so you can know why you won or lost a bet.
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