So you’ve probably heard the rumors, haven’t you – about Baccarat being a guessing game and a game of luck? While there is truth in these rumors, in essence, Baccarat can still be a strategic game at times. The strategies are simplistic to say the least, but don’t let that fool you into thinking there’s no skill involved. Let us acquaint you with the game and its small intricacies.
The heart of Baccarat centers around two primary hands: the player hand and the banker hand. The player hand has nothing to do with the players at the table, and the banker hand doesn’t represent the casino. They are just two hands pitted against each other. The hand with the most points at the end of the round wins.
The player (you), which will from now on be referred to as the client (just to avoid any confusion), can bet on either hand and if the hand you bet on wins the payout, it’s in even money. Better yet, the client also has the option of betting that both hands will arrive at the same value and will then receive a pretty decent payout of 8 to 1.
Like with many table games, the cards dealt out in a specific manner must add up to a certain point total for the bettor to win. In Baccarat, this total is 9. Thus, the objective is for the client to predict which hand (Player or Banker) will equal a value of 9 or which hands’ total will be the closest to 9.
If you chose the option of betting on both hands and each one ends up having an identical total, this is known as a Tie.
There can be numerous players, all betting at the same table, but don’t let this distract you – the hands to bet on (whether Player or Banker) will always stay the same. One of the three dealers will deal the cards. This client will have two options: either to make a bet or pass the shoe to the person next to him/her. The shoe is simply a device that holds the cards, from which the dealer deals the cards.
At the beginning of each round, two separate hands (Player hand and Banker hand) with two different cards are dealt by one of the dealers. The game starts with each client placing a bet on either the Player or the Banker
You can’t place the bet anywhere on the table; there is a specifically marked area for the bets. Feel free to wager on whichever hand you fancy, but it’s a known fact that the Banker hand has a greater success rate because the dealer’s first bet will usually be on the Banker hand. The dealer always starts first. Once the dealer has placed a bet, they will then pass the shoe and when it reaches you, place your bet and continue by passing the shoe to the client next to you.
The table ethics change slightly from here on out, as there are three different kinds of Baccarat tables to choose from:
Baccarat Rules and Strategy
Bourgeois Baccarat (Full Scale Baccarat)
This table can usually be found in a cordoned off area and has an aura of sophistication about it, only because the minimum bets are high at these tables and it’s where you are bound to find a couple of high stakes gamblers. The process mentioned below is also only offered for the convenience of the high rollers and thus only exists at this table.
As I mentioned previously, the dealer (a client) will make a bet and pass on the shoe. The bettor who has been passed the shoe will slide a card out of the shoe and give it to the Stand-up Dealer, face-down. The Stand-up dealer is one of the three dealers who will be present at the table. This dealer (the Stand-up dealer) will continue by passing the card to the client who has made the largest bet. Another card will then be placed next to the shoe and this is the first card that goes onto the Banker hand. Bettor now deals a second card, which is the first of the Player hand cards and subsequently a second Banker hand card is dealt. The dealer will call the Player hand first. The client who placed the largest wager has the opportunity to look at the cards and then hand them to the dealer. The dealer turns the cards face-up and will call out the point totals.
The dealer will now call for the Banker hand. The shoe holder will look at the cards and hand them to the dealer. The dealer will see if the players’ total is in need of another card and will draw – by asking for “a card for the Player”, the shoe holder will then pass a card to the dealer. The dealer then passes the cards to the client who placed a wager on the player hand.
This client takes a peek and will return it to the dealer. The dealer then turns the card face-up for all to see. Only if the Banker hand needs a card will the dealer call out, “a card for the bank”.
If it’s your first time and you’re feeling brave, then go for it, but keep your wits about you.
Mini-Baccarat and Midi-Baccarat
If you’re one of those people who get a little edgy with drawn out processes, then you might be better suited to Mini-Baccarat, simply because the dealer plays out both hands in about half the time. Whilst Full Scale Baccarat seats up to 15 clients, Mini-Baccarat (as the name suggests) seats only 7 clients at one time. Clients are not allowed to touch the cards.
This version of Baccarat is played on an oversized Blackjack table and has places for up to 9 clients. The clients have the option to touch the cards. The rules for Mini-Baccarat and Midi-Baccarat are the same as in Full Scale Baccarat.
Learn Baccarat Card Values
Baccarat is played with 8 decks of 52 cards.
• 10, King, Queen, Jack have a value of 0
• The Ace merits a 1
• Cards 2 to 9 have their face value
The client will bet on the hand consisting of two or three cards that aim for a total of 9 or as close to it as possible. This is quite important: say the total of each hand is over 10, like a 16 and a 19 for example, the second digit from each total becomes the new value of the hand (6 + 9 = 15). If the point total is a 10 – it’s ignored, because a 10 in Baccarat has a value of 0. We’ll get to the cards’ values a little later on. Hands can also add up to 10 (7 + 3), which are unfortunate hands to have as they inevitably have 0 value. This is known as ‘baccarat’ and is where the game acquired its name. It also happens to be the worst hand in Baccarat.
If the Player or Banker has an 8 or 9 after the first draw, both hands stand and the point totals will be compared. The hand which contains the highest score wins. If neither hand has an 8 or 9 then the order of play is determined by the following rules:
When Player’s first two cards total:
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Draw a card
6 or 7
8 or 9 (Natural)
Not draw from either hand
When Banker’s first two cards total:
Player’s third card is:
0, 1, 2
8 or 9 (Natural)
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 9
2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7
0, 1, 8 or 9
4, 5, 6, or 7
0, 1, 2, 3, 8 or 9
6 or 7
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 or 9
8 or 9 (Natural)
Neither hand draws
There you have it! All the information that you have to begin your first game of Baccarat! This is just an excerpt from a larger collection of information we have for you that will have you playing games like a pro in no time at all. We have a more comprehensive version of Baccarat strategy in a great eBook for you to download called Baccarat for the Overwhelmed and Uninitiated if you want to know more.
Watch out for more gaming strategy and advice on our Maple Casino Blog as we help you on your way to becoming a high roller of note!