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Baccarat Rules

Baccarat is one of the posh casino games in the sense that it usually attracts well-dressed and well bankrolled players who are keen on enjoying one of the oldest and best regarded casino games, which also happens to offer one of the smallest house edges.

Operating a baccarat table is indeed a serious effort and investment on the part of the casino. The table takes up a lot of space (about as much as a craps table) and it has three dealers working at it. 12 to 14 players can play at a table, which isn't a whole lot, considering the casino personnel needed to keep things running smoothly.

The rules of Baccarat contain an elaborate ritual in regards to dealing. Of course, players don't really have to be aware of what goes into the deal, but if they intend to understand everything that goes on at the table, they may as well. Usually, eight decks of cards are used. The cards represent points-values as follows: aces are worth one point, tens and face cards like jacks, queens and kings are worth zero points. All the other cards retain their nominal value.

Whenever the dealer breaks open a new shoe for the game, he turns a card face up. The value of this card will tell him exactly how many cards he needs to burn from the shoe. In this instance, the value of face cards will be 10 instead of zero.

The card that the dealer cut is then placed exactly 16 cards from the bottom of the shoe. When the cut card surfaces again, the dealer proceeds with the hand that is currently under way and then plays another hand after which he breaks open a new shoe.

If the very first card in the hand is the cut card, the dealer proceeds to take that hand to completion, after which he starts a new shoe.

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Playing the game

Actual baccarat play is basically about betting on the player, the banker or on the tie.

These bets carry different house edges. The player bet is by far the most advantageous for the players. It only carries a house edge of about 1.06%. The dealer bet comes in slightly higher at 1.24%. Betting on the tie doesn't really make any kind of sense strategy-wise, because it comes with the house edge of 14.36%.

After all the players make their bets, the dealer hands everyone two cards. The values of the hands are then determined. If the player happens to hit a five and a six, the value of his hand will be 11, of which only the right digit is counted therefore the baccarat value of his hand will be exactly 1.

Hand values have to be situated in the 0 to 9 range and players cannot bust out in baccarat. A third card may also be dealt to the players or the banker depending on a set of rules which may vary from one casino to another.

At the end of it all, the hand values are compared and the one of the bigger value wins. Winning bets placed on the player pay even money. Bets on the banker pay even money as well minus a 5% commission. Winning bets on the tie pay 8 to 1.

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Last Updated 27 December 2016
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