The basic rules of the game are easy to understand, as it is really a comparing game between a Player hand and a Banker hand. Furthermore, the rules of online baccarat are the exact same as
. The game is usually played on a large, kidney-shaped table where players have plenty of room to relax and enjoy an evening of gaming. Several decks of 52-cards are shuffled together (most often 6 or 8 decks) and placed in a plastic or wooden dealing shoe with a cut-card inserted seven-cards from the back of thelast deck. When the cut-card is encountered in play it signifies the final hand, or coup of the shoe.
The game is not actually player against banker, but simply two hands dealt out, one for the Player (Punto) spot, and one for the Banker (Banco) spot. Each gambler has the option of wagering on whichever spot they think will win. The hand closest to a point total of 9 is the winner. When both hands end with the same total, it is a tie.
There is a third option for wagering called the Tie Bet. After the drawing of cards is over, should the outcome be a tie between the Player hand and the Banker hand, the Tie Bet wins. It is usually paid-out at 8 to 1 odds, for a house edge of 14.4%.
In real money baccarat, as with most casino games, the cards have a point value of 2 through 9 and aces count as 1. However, all face-cards and tens count as zero. In addition, no hand can be over 9 points, so the ten’s digit is dropped, thus a hand consisting of 5-7 that equals 12, is played as a 2.
Dealing the Game
The croupier (dealer) will deliver one card to the Player spot and one to the Banker spot, then repeat the process. The cards are turned over (sometimes with a wooden pallet) to expose their point totals. Here’s where the game gets interesting. If the Player or Banker (or both) have a total of 8 or 9, the hand is finished and the higher point-total hand wins, or there may be a tie. If there is no 8 or 9, then the following drawing rules are used:
Player Hand Rules
A total of 8 or 9 is a natural, and as explained above the hand is over. If the Player has a total of 6 or 7, they stand and await the outcome of the Banker hand. If the Player has a total of 0 to 5, they draw a third card.
Banker Hand Rules
As with the Player, if the two-card total is 8 or 9, the hand is over. If the Banker total is 7, they stand; otherwise they will follow these rules:
- Banker total of 2 or less, draw a third card.
- Banker total of 3, draw a card unless the Player’s third card was an 8.
- Banker total of 4, draw a card if the Player’s third card was 2 through 7.
- Banker total of 5, draw a card if the Player’s third card was 4 through 7.
- Banker total of 6, draw a card if the player’s third card was a 6 or 7.
These standard rules for play are used in most casinos around the world, including those that offer baccarat online. When the Player hand wins, the payoff is even money, or 1 to 1. On winning Banker hands, the payoff is also even money, or 1 to 1, but a 5% commission is charged. The dealer will keep track of the commission and charge a total fee for all winning hands at the end of the shoe.
While the game of Baccarat as dealt in most casinos is really Punto Banco, where the house edge is 1.06% on the Banker bet (after the commission) and 1.24% on the Player bet, there are other variations of the game where the edge is harder to gauge because the banker has input on actual hand decisions.
Chemin de Fer
In the game of Chemin de Fer, one player is designated as the banker and offers the other players a chance, in order, to bet up to a total of their stated bank wager. Once the bank has been matched, the banker delivers two cards for the player and two for themselves. The player and banker look at their own individual cards, and if either hand is a natural (8 or 9), the highest hand wins or a tie is announced. If not, the player with the highest individual wager against the bank has the option to draw one additional card.
After the player’s decision is made, the banker also has the option to draw a card, and will most likely follow the Banker Hand Rules based on the player’s third card, but is not obligated to do so. If there is a tie, no money exchanges hands and the banker deals a new hand.
If the Banker hand wins, bets are brought in and the banker can announce a new bank.
If the Player hand wins, bets are brought in and the shoe and bank privileges are passed to the next player in order.
Another popular form of baccarat for real money is called “Baccarat Banque”. It is played on a larger table, with one hand for the Banker, and one Player hand for each side of the table. In addition, the croupier will usually handle shuffling the cards, but one player is allowed to bank the action (on both sides of the table) until the end of the shoe. They may retire at any time, but must state how much of the originally stated bankroll remains. At this time a new banker (chosen by table order) must stake the same amount and finish the remaining hands in the shoe.
Rules regarding the play of hands follow those of Cemin de Fer, where there are options put to the Player and Banker. Rules regarding wagering by the players are also similar, as those down the line may not have a stake in any hand if an earlier player has “gone bank” and covered any remaining portion of the banker’s stake. However, the banker (depending on individual rules) may declare that they will cover any other wagers (up to the casino/table maximum) beyond their table stake. This is only allowed to be done by established players.
The game of Baccarat, as played in casinos, takes several dealers and may offer limits of as high as $100,000 per hand. Special players are allowed to bet even more. However, to include more players and to speed up the game and reduce costs, some casinos offer mini-bac or mini and midi punto, where the game is very similar and dealt on a standard-size blackjack table. Don’t forget that if you are betting on the Banker hand, the dealer will keep track of the commission you owe until the end of the shoe. Even if you lose the chips you have on the table, at the end of your play you will have to pay the remaining commission you owe!