Introduction To Baccarat

In Baccarat games a designated Player and a designated Banker play out the hands according to set rules. The bettors wager on one of these two. If they guess right then they are paid out. Baccarat has evolved differently in different countries. In France the variant is known as Chemin de Fer. In this variant the bettors take turns to be the bank and accept bets from others. In England the variant that is common is Baccarat Banque. In North America Punto Banco is the variant. It is the simplest form of Baccarat and online Baccarat is modeled on this game.

How To Play Baccarat

The first step in baccarat is learning the card values. Cards from ace to nine have their face values and ten and the picture cards have a value of zero. The next step is learning how to value hands. The hand values are obtained by adding the card values and then dropping the tens digit from the total. Hence the lowest hand value is 0 and the highest hand value is 9. A hand value of zero is known as baccarat. The game is played between the designated Player and Banker positions. The one whose hand is closer to a value of 9 wins. The bettors wager on either the Player position or the Banker position and receive payouts if they guess right.

In Punto Banco after the bets are placed two cards each are dealt to the Player and the Banker positions. If the value of the Player’s hand is six or more then no more cards are dealt to the Player. If the value of the Player’s hand is five or less then a third card is dealt to the Player. The rules that determine if an additional card be dealt to the Banker are quite complex. In land casinos the Baccarat dealer knows the rules and acts accordingly. In online Baccarat the rules are programmed into the software.

Whoever of the designated Player or Banker has the higher hand value wins. Bettors who wagered in favor of the Player position are paid even money when the Player wins. In the case of the Banker position the payout is also 1 to 1, but a 5% commission is taken by the casino. If the hand values are the same then the hand results in a tie and bets push. In Punto Banco there is a Tie bet that pays out 8 to 1.

Baccarat Strategy

Strategy in any casino game is linked to the decisions that have to be made. The major decision in Punto Banco Baccarat involves the choice of the bet. The Tie bet offers the largest payout of 8 to 1 and hence may appear attractive. But it should be avoided because it has a house edge of over 14%. A commission is charged on the Banker payout making it effectively 0.95 to 1. Yet it has a marginally lower house edge than the even money payout Player bet and is the preferred option. The house edge on the Banker bet is 1.06%, whereas the house edge on the Player bet is 1.24%.

Most Punto Banco Baccarat games are played with eight decks. However there are casinos, particularly online casinos, which play the game with fewer decks. The house edge for the Banker bet decreases with a decrease in the number of decks. On the other hand the house edge for the Player bet and Tie bet increase with a decrease in the number of decks. Bettors wagering on the Banker should select games with the lowest number of decks. If there are bettors who want to wager on the Tie or Player bets, they should select games with the highest number of decks.