How to play - BACCARAT
Baccarat is usually played in a separate casino area. The playing table is about the size of a
craps table with three casino dealers and up to 12 or 14 players.
There are just two principal bets to make: banker or player - Banco or Punto, plus the rarely
used Standoff. Some casinos let the players deal the cards in turn and others have a casino dealer to deal the
cards. In online Baccarat the cards are dealt automatically by a virtual dealer.
Each player, including the player dealing, may bet on either Punto or Banco but it is
customary for the dealer to bet on Banco. Players may opt not to deal, passing the 'Shoe' to the next player. The
shoe remains with one player as long as the Bank wins. If Punto wins, the shoe passes on to the next
Two hands are dealt and you bet which one will win, or that they will tie. It is just like
betting on Black or Red at roulette, and the payoff is even money, 1:1 (except for the standoff, which pays 8-1 or
9-1). The only difference between the Banco and Punto bet is a win on Banco will cost you 5% commission or tax
levied by the casino - the in-built advantage.
The reason for taxing the Banco is because it has been established that over an 8-deck cards
play on average the Banco will win three to four hands more than the Punto.
Each hand consists of a minimum of two and a maximum of three cards. The person dealing will
put two cards, face down, tucked under the shoe, and give the player with the largest bet on Punto the other two
cards, face down.
The Punto player then looks at the cards and gives them back to the player who is dealing.
Then the player who is dealing will turn over the cards of both hands while one of the casino dealers will announce
the results and the winner.
If either hand has a total of 8 or 9 (nine is the highest), then it is called a 'Natural' and
no more cards are dealt. If it is not a natural, then depending on the value of each hand the casino dealer may
instruct the card dealer to deal a third card. The decision when to deal a third card follows precise set rules
used by all casinos.
Once dealing is completed, the hand with the highest count wins. The paying casino dealers
will collect the losing bets first and then pay the winning ones. The player who actually deals the cards is not
responsible for the payouts. He is just like any other player, playing against the casino.
Baccarat is played from a six-deck or an eight-deck shoe. All face cards and 10s have no
value. Cards less than 10 are counted at face value, Aces are worth 1. Suits don't matter. Only single digit values
are valid. Any count that reaches a double digit drops the left digit. 15 is counted as 5 and 25 is also counted as
To start, the players bet either on Banco or Punto or Standoff. The card dealer gives two
cards each; first to the player and then the banker. The object of the game is to bet on the hand that you think
will have the highest total value.
A third card may be dealt to either or both the player (Punto) and the bank (Banco) based on
the following three-card-rules. It is not necessary to learn these rules to play, they are compulsory decisions and
therefore automatic. Only on rare occasions a mistake is made:
· If either the player or the bank have a total of 8 or 9 on the first two cards no further
cards are drawn. The resulting hand is called a natural and the hand is over.
· If the player's total is less than or equal to 5 the player's hand draws a third
· If the player does not draw a third card, then the bank's hand stands on 6 or more and
takes a third card on a total of 5 or less. If the player does take a third card then the Bank's third-card-rule
below will determine if the bank takes a third card.
· If the bank's total is 2 or less then bank draws a card, regardless of what the players
third card is.
· If the banks total is 3 then the bank draws a third card unless the players third card was an 8.
· If the banks total is 4 then the bank draws a third card unless the players third card was a 0, 1, 8, or 9.
· If the banks total is 5 then the bank draws a third card if the players third card was 4, 5, 6, or 7.
· If the banks total is 6 then the bank draws a third card if the players third card was a 6 or 7.
· If the banks total is 7 then the bank stands.
Banker (Banco) 1.17%
Player (Punto) 1.36%
Tie (Standoff) 14.12% at 8:1 payout
It is a good idea to avoid tie bets altogether, since they give the house a significant
advantage, close to 20%, in fact. By sticking to only the banker and player bets, the house advantage will remain
at a minimum, thereby maximizing your chances of winning.
Betting on the player gives the house a 1.36% edge
Betting on the banker gives the house a 1.17% edge
Either way, the house has the edge and should win in the long run.
Some baccarat players believe in streaks and will bet on whatever won the last hand. This
strategy does not give you better odds though as each hand is like the flip of a coin.
The Martingale Betting System
This dangerous sytem can dig you into a deep hole very quickly should you have a long string
It is an easy system to understand. You attempt to win 1 unit ($1/£1, or $5/£5, or whatever)
on every hand. Your first bet is 1 unit on player or banker. If the bet is won, you start again at 1 unit. If the
bet is lost, you double the next bet to 2 units. Winning at this stage gives you a win of 1 unit (1 unit lost
followed by 2 units won). Should you lose again, then you double your bet again, this time to 4 units. And again, a
win at this stage is of 1 unit (1 unit lost, 2 units lost and 3 units won). And so on until you win. Given a
'normal' sequence it should not be too long before you register a win which covers your losses and provides a win
of 1 unit.
The object is to assemble a hand of two or three cards with a points value as close to nine
as possible. The perfect hand is one that totals nine in the first two cards. Eight is the second-best hand and,
along with the nine, it constitutes the two "natural" hands. The only hand that will beat a natural eight is a
natural nine. If any player hand or the Bank has a natural eight or nine, the others may not draw a third card. In
a tie, bets are called off.
Aces count as one, picture cards as 10 and the others their face value. If your hand total is
in double figures, then the first figure is ignored. So a hand totalling 18 would count as eight.
The player with the most money is usually is declared the banker - this is the casino in
Baccarat Banque and rotates in Chemin de Fer. The banker deals three hands of two cards each, face down. These
hands are for two players, one to the right and one the left of the banker, plus his own hand. Other players at the
table may bet on either hand (cheval) or both to beat the banker's hand. If a player declares "banco", it means
they are betting the total value of the bank's funds and all other bets are withdrawn.
If either player has a count less than eight or nine, he may stand (saying "non") or get one
more card face up (saying "carte"). The player must stand on six or seven and must draw on four or less. Casinos
usually take their percentage of the bank and bets as their fee for the game.