Baccarat has been described as the game of gentleman and wealthier gamblers. It is the game in which James Bond, the spy, took great delight whenever he gambled in a casino. Baccarat has been applauded for its simplicity and elegance and derided for being not a game of skill but a spectator sport.
The point of baccarat is to wager on which of two hands win the game. In a full baccarat game there can be up to 14 players and 3 dealers, but the shoe containing the cards is handled by the players. The game is based on two hands of cards that are dealt in the open. One hand is the Banker hand and the other hand is the Player hand. When the players are dealing the cards, whichever player is holding the shoe must bet on the Banker hand or pass the shoe.
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How the Game of Baccarat Is Played
High-roller games entail some traditional courtesies that are essentially meaningless in terms how the game play unfolds. The basic game works this way.
Two hands of cards are dealt on the table. They are named the Banker hand and the Player hand. You will bet on either hand.
The two hands (Player and Banker) are dealt out in turn. Face cards have no point value, number cards have point value equal to their numbers, and Aces have a point value of one. The points on the cards are totaled, wrapping if the value goes over ten (eleven becomes one, twelve becomes two, thirteen becomes three, etc.). Ten points counts as ten points (e.g., a 7 and 3 card).
The best possible point values are 8 or 9. 9 is best.
If the first two cards dealt to the Player hand equal either 8 or 9 this is called a “Natural” and the Player hand receives no more cards. If the Player points equal 0 through 5 a third card is dealt.
If the Player hand draws a Natural and the Banker hand does NOT have a Natural, the game is decided in favor of the Player hand.
Banker hands stand on 7, 8, and 9 points. The Banker hand must also draw on 0, 1, and 2 points. The Banker hand draws more cards under these rules:
If the Banker holds 3 points it draws another card if the Player’s third card is NOT an 8.
If the Banker holds 4 points it draws another card if the Player’s card is NOT 1, 8, 9, or 10.
If the Banker holds 5 points it draws another card if the Player’s third card IS a 4, 5, 6, or 7.
If the Banker holds 7 points it draws another card if the Player’s third card is a 6 or 7.
The winner is the hand with the value closest to 9.
Is There any Strategy to Playing Baccarat?
Experts say that the Banker Hand should win slightly more often than the Player hand. If you consistently bet the same amount of money every time then betting the Banker Hand would be considered conservative play, but that is no guarantee you’ll come out ahead.
The casino takes a 5 per cent commission on Banker bets that win.
Winning in baccarat means you get double your bet back (you bet $100 and are paid $100 plus you keep your bet). If there is a tie you keep your bet.
Unless someone figures out a way to count cards in baccarat, all strategies come down to managing your money. As long as you are ahead of where you began you can bet more aggressively. When your money drops below your original bankroll you should reduce how much you bet.