Blackjack and Hold ‘Em have a special place in any avid card player’s heart. When looking for a change of pace, though, Baccarat is a great card game to learn in order to win a little money during your next casino visit.
Not only is this game one that will have you sipping martinis like James Bond, but it’s also fairly easy to learn.
How to play Baccarat
Baccarat is typically available in online casinos as well as brick-and-mortar casinos and card rooms. It’s considered a card game of sophistication due to the typically higher minimum bets. Don’t be surprised to see minimum bets as high as $50.00!
The basics of Baccarat
The object of a baccarat game is essentially to predict the winner between two hands: The Banker and the Player.
As the baccarat participant, you are not the Player, and the dealer is not the Banker. These two hands are simply dealt for the table to bet on.
Two cards are dealt for the Player and two cards are dealt for the Banker. The hand that wins is the one that gets as close to nine as possible without exceeding it.
Each card keeps its face value, with 10s and face cards worth zero. Both the Player’s two cards and the Banker’s two cards are added together to find the value of each hand.
If a hand’s value is a double–digit number, which naturally exceeds nine, the first digit of the score drops off.
For example, if the Player’s hand contains a seven and a six, and the Banker’s hand contains a four and a three, the Banker’s hand wins.
This is because the Player’s hand equals 13, and when the first digit of that number is dropped, the value of the hand is actually three. Since the Banker’s hand doesn’t exceed nine, it’s taken at face value, which is seven.
Seven is closer to nine than three, so the Banker’s hand wins.
When are additional cards drawn in Baccarat?
There are certain occasions when a third card will be issued. These instances are pre–determined by the house rules.
One common instance is when both hands equal zero. As an example, if one hand’s added value equals 10 and the other hand has two face cards, both hands are equal to zero.
Some house rules stipulate that if the Player’s hand totals five or lower, another card is drawn. If the Banker’s hand totals two or less, another card is drawn.
Other house rules say that the Banker’s hand can only take an additional card if the Player’s hand does the same.
Betting in a game of Baccarat
Baccarat is a game played with incredible simplicity, and that’s one of the reasons it’s so popular. The three main bets you can place in Baccarat are:
- Player win for a 1:1 payout
- Banker win for a 1:1 payout
- Or a bet on a tied score for an 8:1 payout
There are also some side bets that can be placed in the game of Baccarat. While their payouts are larger and they are usually fun bets to make, they are much more difficult to win.
Some examples of Baccarat side bets are:
- An “All Red / All Black” bet wagers that all cards shown will be one color.
- A “Player Pair” or a “Banker Pair” bet wagers that the first two cards drawn for a particular hand will be a pair.
- “Combined Value” bets wager that all cards in either hand will total higher or lower than 9.5. You can also wager on whether the combined value of the hand will be odd or even.
Strategies for winning at Baccarat
The house edge at any baccarat table is 1.06 percent on the Banker’s hand and 1.24 percent on the Player’s hand. If you consistently bet on the Banker’s hand to win, you’ll likely end up slightly on top.
While simply betting on the Banker is safe, it’s not always as fun as some of those side bets. However, the house edge climbs higher when it comes to wagers on tie bets and other side bets.
For example, tie bets have a house edge of roughly 14 percent.
If you’re playing to win, stick with the basics. If you’re looking for excitement and entertainment, go ahead and place a side bet wager.
Baccarat is a card game that’s easy to learn, is highly entertaining, and has a lower house edge than most other card games. Not only that, playing Baccarat gives you that same sophisticated feeling you get when you order a martin that’s shaken, not stirred.