Baccarat is a card game associated with high-rollers, but today you can find plenty of affordable baccarat tables as well – especially in online casinos.
At the start of a round of baccarat, players can elect to bet on either of two hands – Punto or Banco – or bet on them ending up with equal value (egalité). Both hands consists of cards that will be placed face-up on the table by the dealer. No player, nor the dealer, is allowed to make any decisions regarding when to stop and when to take another card for any of the hands. (This makes Baccarat very different from games such as Blackjack.)
Baccarat is played with one deck, six decks or eight decks.
The type of deck used is the standard 52 card (French) deck. No jokers or other wild cards are utilized.
How much is the hand worth?
The point system
To calculate the point value of a hand in baccarat, we must first learn the point system.
The cards from Ace and up to and including Nine are worth their numerical value. (Ace = 1 point, Deuce = 2 points, and so on.) Ten, Jack, Queen, and King are each worth zero points.
The colors and suits are of no consequence in baccarat.
The value of a hand
You start by adding together the point value of the cards in the hand. If the resulting sum exceeds 9 points, only the rightmost digit is the value of the hand.
A hand consisting of Queen + Four is worth 0 points + 4 points = 4 points.
A hand consisting of Eight + Four is worth 8 points + 4 points = 12 points = 2 points.
Which hand is best?
The best hand in baccarat is one worth 9 points. The second best hand is the one worth 8 points, the third-best hand is the one worth 7 points, and so on.
The dealing of cards
The dealer always start by giving the Punto hand and the Banco hand two-face up cards each. In some cases, this is enough to end the game. In other situations, one or both hands will be given a third card.
The rules below are utilized by many (but not all) casinos:
- Punto always gets a third card if the two-card hand is worth 0-5 points.
- Banco always gets a third card if the two-card hand is worth 0-3 points.
- If Banco’s two-card hand is worth 4 points, Banco gets a third card only if Punto’s hand is worth 2-7 points.
- If Banco’s two-card hand is worth 5 points, Banco gets a third card only if Punto’s hand is worth 4-7 points.
- If Banco’s two-card hand is worth 6 points, Banco gets a third card only if Punto’s THREE-CARD hand is worth 6 or 7 points.
In most casinos, the following paytable is valid:
- If Punto wins, players who wagered on Punto gets paid 1:1. If you bet €2,000 you are paid €2,000 and have €4,000 in front of you.
- If Banco wins, players who wagered on Banco gets paid 19:20. If you bet €2,000 you are paid €1,900 and have €3,900 in front of you.
- If there is a tie between Punto and Banco, players who wagered on Egalité are paid 8:1. If you bet €2,000 you are paid €16,000 and have €18,000 in front of you.