Baccarat is one of the oldest and most popular card games offered in casinos. There are three forms of this game called Punto banco, Baccarat banque and Baccarat chemin de fer. The most popular one is Punto Banco also referred to as North American Baccarat. This form of Baccarat is also the only one that involves no strategy or skill and is strictly considered a game of chance. Learning to play Punto Banco Baccarat is simple as the player only has to perform one of these actions before the hand is dealt – place a bet on player’s (Punto) hand, dealer’s (Banco) hand or bet on a possible tie.
Getting ready to play and understanding the hand values
Baccarat is played with four, six or eight decks without Jokers all shuffled together into one. It can be played by as many as 12 or 14 players, but even playing alone against a dealer is possible. Deuces through Nines are worth their face value, Aces are worth 1 point and Tens, Jacks, Queens & Kings are worth 0 points. In a game of Baccarat, each player and dealer is dealt a hand consisting of two cards. The score of a hand is the sum of these cards, but only the rightmost digit is used, therefore, any sum that is a double digit number drops the left digit.
The highest and best possible hand of Baccarat is 9 – referred to as Natural – and the lowest is 0, and this hand is called Baccarat. If neither player or a banker has a hand value of 8 or 9, the third card drawing rules are applied to determine if a player and, later, banker should receive a third card. A new player doesn’t need to know the complex rules of a third card drawing because all this is done by the dealer.
Some examples of the hands
– A hand consisting of 7 and 8 equals to 15, but by dropping the left digit the real value of this hand is 5.
– A hand consisting of 3 and 5 is 8 and is a single digit, thus its real value is 8.
– A hand consisting of a Kind and 7 has a real value of 7.
– A three-card hand of 5, 6 and 9 is 20, but according to the rightmost digit rule the real value of this hand is 0, or Baccarat.
Betting and payoffs
Baccarat is so easy and relaxing to play because the only action player has to take is bet on Punto hand, Banco hand or a tie before the initial two cards are dealt face up. The payoffs for Punto and Banco hands are 1-to-1 while betting on a tie will yield you 9-to-1 or 8-to-1 profit on your bet.