Baccarat is a card game of chance originated in France (however, this fact is disputed by some historians.) A table with a special layout and eight 52-card decks are used in it. They are dealt from a special device called sabot. Up to fourteen players and three dealers can participate in the most widespread American version of this game (on the basis of which we will discuss the rules in this article) simultaneously.
It is a simple and fast game. Its participants just need to make a bet. They don't need to make some additional decisions until the announcement of the outcome of the round, since everything occurs automatically and strictly in accordance with the rules.
Aim of the Game
The aim of the game is to predict whether the banker or the player will win. Users should stake on the victory of one of them or a tie.
Hands and Card Values
The highest-ranking combination in baccarat is called "natural." It is made up of two cards, whose total score is a nine. The same name has a combination of the two cards, whose score is 8.
The value of cards from deuces to nines is equal to their face value. An ace is scored at 1 point. The other cards have no point value. If a player has over nine points, it is necessary to subtract ten from this number. In other words, the score will always vary from zero to nine, and it is impossible to bust.
There are three kinds of bets in baccarat that are placed on the special fields:
- On a player (punto) - it is a bet on the victory of the player. It is paid 1:1.
- On a banker (banco) - it is a bet on the victory of the player. It is paid 19:20 (in other worlds, 1:1 with a commission fee of 5%).
- Tie is a bet on the equal total scores of the player and the banker. It is paid 8:1 (or 9:1 at some casinos).
Before the beginning of each coup, the gamer should make a bet within the lower and upper table limits. After that, the banker deals two cards to the user and himself. If the player has an initial total of an 8 or 9 (natural), this score is compared to the cards of the banker, and the winner is determined. If the player has less than six points, a third card is drawn.
The banker draws a card strictly in accordance with the following rules, which are largely determined by the player's drawn card:
- If the player did not draw a third card, the banker does not draw a third card unless the banker has 6 or more points.
- If the banker total is 2 or less, the banker draws a third card.
- If the banker total is 3, the banker draws a third card unless the player received an 8.
- If the banker total is 4, the banker draws a third card if the player's third card was not a 0, 1, 8, or 9.
- If the banker total is 5, the banker draws a third card if the player received a 4, 5, 6, or 7.
- If the banker total is 6, the banked draws a third card unless the player received a 6 or 7.
- If the banker has a 7, the banker stands.
The banker's and player's hands are compared with each other. The owner of a higher score becomes a winner. If their scores are equal, a tie is announced. Then the croupier makes payouts, collects cards, and the game continues.
The rules discussed above apply to the American variation of this game. However there are several other versions of baccarat, which will be considered in detail in separate articles on the portal en.Casinoz.
All of them are united by the same aim of the game, which implies to collect nine points or a score that is close to a 9. As for the other differences in the rules, they may be related to a variety of items such as:
- number of used decks (from one to eight),
- number of participants,
- rules that regulate the way the cards are dealt,
- rules for drawing cards (the banker can draw a third card in accordance with different rules, depending on the version of the game),
- payouts (their order and size may vary, depending on the version of baccarat),
- role of the banker (the banker can be constant as if he was in casinos, or players can serve as the banker one by one),
- pot and bets (a casino selects a range of bets, which are paid by the establishment; if the gamers play directly with each other, the pot is formed with the help of their bets, and the winner collects it.)
- equipment (layouts of tables are different in various versions of baccarat).
There are also other differences. However they are not very significant, so there is no sense in discussing them.
Odds and Strategies
Baccarat, as well as any other game of chance, has its own house edge, i.e. you will win and lose, but it is impossible to earn playing over the long run. Moreover, the outcome depends entirely on the luck. Users do not have an opportunity to influence the outcome of the game, because all decisions are made automatically. The card counting strategies that are used by some players in baccarat and resemble those that are common for blackjack are completely ineffective. It has been already proven by Edward Thorp.
We can make the following conclusions, based on the mathematical calculations:
- a bet on the player is more profitable than a bet on the banker, so we recommend that you should make exactly this bet;
- a bet on the tie is extremely unprofitable, so it should be avoided even if the payout for it is calculated in the 9:1 ratio;
- the smaller is the number of decks, the more profitable is the version of baccarat (however, this index influences the outcome insignificantly.)
Therefore, if you play baccarat at casinos, you should always bet on the player. In this way you will increase your chances to win.