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How to Play Baccarat

Author: Dolly Gambler

Go to Baccarat Information

The rules of Baccarat dictate that to win you must correctly predict which hand will have the higher value. Wagers can also be placed on the “tie” position in hopes that the “dealer” and “player” hands will end up with the same value.

Baccarat rules are unusual among casino games because the player does not interact in any way with the cards. Unlike other games, like Blackjack, where the player makes decisions in each hand, the rules of Baccarat dictate that the cards are dealt using a specific pre-determined system. Thus learning how to play Baccarat is really about learning each position in the game. While some players prefer the fact that they do not have to make any decisions once they place their bet, some feel distanced from the game because they are not involved and can't understand Baccarat's appeal. Of course after playing they may change their mind.

Card Distribution
To begin the game, the player position and the dealer position each receive a single card, with the player position receiving its card first.

Each position then receives a second card. The second card determines how the game will proceed. If the player position is showing a value between 0 and 5 and the dealer position is showing a value between 0 and 7 the player receives a third card.

If the player position has a value greater than 5, the player does not receive a third card.

The banker receives a third card if it is showing a value of 0,1, or 2.

If the dealer has less than 7, but not 0, 1, or 2, whether it receives a third card or not is determined by a preset mathematical table that considers the player hand.

Card Values
Baccarat employs a counting system that is completely different than that of most other casino games. When learning how to play Baccarat, it’s best to leave your knowledge of other card games at the door.

Numeral cards 2 through 9 carry the value of the number shown on the card.
All face cards and tens count as zero, and an Ace counts as one.

There is more to calculating the value of a Baccarat hand than simply knowing the individual values of the cards. A player must calculate the value of each position by adding the independent values of the cards and then dropping the tens digit.

For example, if the player position is showing a 7 and an 8 the mathematical value would be 15. To find the value in Baccarat, however, the player drops the ten digits out of the math, so that the final sum of the player position would be 5.

Bet Types and Procedure
Aside from getting used to an unusual counting system, Baccarat players need to consider the benefits of each position before placing a bet.

Both the player and the dealer position pay out even money on each hand, which means if a player chooses the correct position, he will receive his original bet plus an equal sum. Bets on the dealer give players an average 1% increased odds on winning. Because players may bet on each position equally, most casinos charge a 5% commission winnings from the dealer position. This means that if a player wins, he receives his original bet, plus a sum equal to 95% of that bet.

Betting on the tie position is the riskiest possible bet in Baccarat. Ties occur very rarely, but when they do, the payouts can be huge. Commonly the tie position pays 9 to 1, which means that if a player wins on the tie position, he receives his original bet plus a sum equal to 9 times that bet.

Everyone benefits when the player and the dealer have an equal value, even when no player wagered on tie. In most casinos, a tie is considered a push. Because of this, all of the players who bet on the dealer or the player don’t lose their original bets. The hand is simply re-dealt without losses from anyone.

One of the reasons for Baccarat’s continued popularity is the fact that the Baccarat rules give it one of the lowest house edges of any casino game. The player position has a house edge of 1.24%, while the dealer position has an advantage of 1.06%. The tie position carries the highest house advantage, at 14% as an average. It is not unheard of for the house to sustain heavy losses from high stakes Baccarat games that fall in favor of the player.