Baccarat is an interesting casino game that new players often find quite confusing, but it needn’t be the case as it is actually quite simple. There are only three possible outcomes and just like Blackjack, players receive two cards each.
The game is thought to have come to France from Italy in the late 1400s, but not much is known about Baccarat prior to that period. The version of the game that arrived in France is still played there today and is known as “Chemin de Fer”, but two other variations of Baccarat have evolved since then; “Baccarat Banque” and “Punto Banco”.
The Best Baccarat Sites
These casino sites are great places to play Baccarat:
Punto Banco, or “North American Roulette” is the most commonly seen variation of Baccarat and the rules are simple. A standard game sees eight decks of cards shuffled together before the croupier deals two cards to the “Banker” and two cards to the “Player”. Bettors then have the option to bet on the Banker, the Player or a Tie.
The object of Baccarat is to predict which hand will total nine (or the closest to nine). Totals are calculated by adding the two cards together and taking the last digit, so if a seven and an eight are dealt, the hand is worth five (7 + 8 = 15; 5 is the last digit in the number 15). The totals always range from 0 – 9, 0 being the worst (which is known as “Baccarat”).
Card values are as follows: Ace = 1; Ten – King = 0; 2 – 9 = Face value.
If either the Player or the Banker has a total of eight or nine, then both stand. If the Player’s total is five or lower, than the Player must hit. If the Player stands, then the Banker must hit on a total of five or lower. If the Player does hit, then the Banker’s action will depend on what card is turned up.
The winning hand is the one of the highest value and if both are the same, it is a Tie. Banker bets pay 19/20 and Player bets pay even money. Tie bets pay 8/1 and any bets on Banker or Player are returned.
Baccarat is one of the lowest house edge games in the casino, with a 1.06% edge on Banker bets. Assuming an eight deck game, Player bets guarantee the house 1.24%, while Tie bets represent horrendous value, with a 14.36% edge.
The only strategy worth pursuing at the Baccarat table is to simply back the Banker every time. Any other bet represents poor long term value and is not worth the effort.