Baccarat has historically been a high-roller game for gaming whales. Although slight variations have been changed the game, the rules have remained fairly consistent since its conception. This raises the question: is Baccarat such a difficult game that the average player cannot participate in its excitement?
The short answer to that question is no, the rules of the game are not difficult. However, there are a few peculiarities that make it an interesting game. There are only two hands dealt each round despite the number of individuals playing. One hand is the banker hand and the other is the player hand. Those at the table may bet on either hand. The player holding the shoe must either bet on the banker hand or pass.
The game begins with the bettor holding the shoe sliding one card onto the table which is passed facedown to the dealer who then passes it to the customer with the largest bet. The next card, which is the first banker card, is placed next to the shoe. The bettor proceeds to deal another player and banker card. The dealer requests the player hand and the customer with the largest bet looks at the cards before passing them to the dealer.
The two player cards are turned face up and the dealer announces the point total for the hand. The dealer requests the banker hand at which point the shoe holder looks at the cards and passes them to the dealer. If the player or banker total requires a draw, the deal will say, “Card for the player/banker” who will turn it face up.
The object of the game is to bet on the two card hand that totals closest to nine. Cards ten to king do not hold any value and all other cards are worth their value; ace is worth one point. If the total is greater than ten, the second card is the value. The point total will establish whether a hand receives a third card.
Automatic winners occur when the banker totals a nine or eight. Players stay on totals of six or seven and zero through five warrants an additional card. The banker stays on seven, eight, and nine and draws on zero, one and two. The banker hits on three (unless the player’s third card is an eight), four (unless the player’s third card is a one, eight, nine or ten), hits on five (unless the player’s third card is a four, five, six or seven) and hits on six.
In addition to the regular betting, bettors can place a wager that the two hands will have an equal number of points at the end of the game. This pays off at 8-to-1 odds but carries a 9.5 percent house edge. Baccarat is a fairly simple game of addition that anyone can play. Just make sure to have a big bankroll!