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The Game of Baccarat

How You Play

When you play baccarat, you have either a 6-deck or 8-deck shoe. There is no value assigned to 10's and face cards, anything less than ten is worth its face value, and aces are 1. With this game, the suit of your cards has no relevance, and you drop the "1" out of any two-digit number in order to stay at one digit. That means that 25 and 35 are both "5."

Before any cards get drawn, the player bets on whether the banker (Banco) or the player (Punto) will win, or if it will be a tie (Standoff). Only then does the dealer give two cards to the player, then two to the banker. The winner is the one with the highest total card value.

Dealing a third card to either player (Punto) or banker (Banco) follows baccarat's three-card rules which determines how to play baccarat. There are only a few that need to be remembered because you could potentially make a mistake.

Third-Card Rules for the Player

  • Getting a total card value of either 8 or 9 is referred to as a natural. Whether banker or player gets the natural, the hand is finished.
  • Totals equal to or less than 5 permit the drawing of a third card.
  • When the player chooses not to draw him/herself a third card, the banker can't either if s/he has a total value of 6 or more. For a total equal to or less than 5, s/he may draw a third card.

Follow the banker's third-card rules in the case where the player chooses to draw out a third card.

Third-Card Rules for the Banker

  • A total equal to or less than 2 lets the banker draw a third card no matter what the player drew.
  • Totals of 3 mean the banker can draw only if the player's third card wasn't an 8.
  • Unless the player draws a 9, 8, 1, or 0 for his/her third card, the banker can draw a third card with a total of 4.
  • In contrast, when a player draws 7, 6, 5, or 4 for his/her third card, the banker may draw a third on a total of 5.
  • Only when the player's third card is a 6 or 7 may the banker draw a third on a total of 6.
  • Totals of 7 require that the bank stand.

The house advantage for the bank is 1.17%, 1.36% is the house advantage for the player, and tying has a house advantage of an 8:1 payout.

Baccarat is a great way to go for those who want to try a new game, and the rules are pretty simple to remember.

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