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Baccarat- The Game of Choice For High Rollers and High Stakes Players.
Baccarat is a casino card game that originated in Italy and was made popular in France during the 15th Century. It remains one of the most popular casino games today, and is a favourite with high rollers and high stakes players thanks to its simplicity, speed and relatively low house edge. There are 3 main types of baccarat: Chemin de Fer, Baccarat Banque and Punto Banco (or American Baccarat). Punto banco is a game of chance, with no skill involved. In the other games, there is some strategy involved: so these are games of part skill, part chance, similar to blackjack and poker. If you are playing online, chances are that you will be playing Punto Banco. And if you were wondering which variant James Bond typically plays in Ian Fleming's novels, the that would more likely than not be Chemin de Fer.
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Baccarat is an easy game to learn and play- which is part of its appeal. There are only 3 outcomes to bet on: 'Player Wins', 'Banker Wins' or 'Tie'. 'Player' does not necessarily refer to the bettor and 'Banker' does not necessarily mean the house, but they can. They are just types of bet. When you play online baccarat, you basically watch 2 hands unfold and you bet on either one of them, or on a tie.
How to Value Hands in Baccarat
Before you play Baccarat, you'll need to know how to score your hand. In this casino game, cards 2-9 are worth their face value, 10s and J, Q, K are worth zero, and Aces are 1. You work out your score by adding up your cards and subtracting 10 if your hand is greater than 10. So a score of 3 is 3 and a score of 13 is 3. A hand with a 2 and 8 is worth 0, also called Baccarat. So baccarat is unique in that its name stems from the name of the worst hand. The top score you can land in baccarat is 9 (ie a 4 and 5, K and 9, or A and 8, etc).
- Best hand is 9 (because anything over 10 you must ignore the first digit of the score when working out what you have got)
- An 8 or 9 is a "natural".
- A score of zero is "baccarat".
- Examples: a hand with 3 and 4 has a score of 7. A jack and a six has a score of 6
Punto Banco (American Baccarat)
Punto Banco is a variant of baccarat where the Banker is always the house or casino. You may bet on the player or the banker, which just means that 2 hands are dealt- and you bet on either one of them (or on a tie). This mini version of Punto Baccarat ("Mini Baccarat") is the variant of baccarat that you are most likely to play online.
The player and banker are both dealt get 2 hidden cards (face down). The cards are then flipped over and the scores totalled and the dealer announces the scores. From here the rule book known as the 'Tableau' or table of play is used to work out if any more cards need to be dealt. The Player and Banker may draw another card or stand pat. The hand with the largest score wins.
If the Player or the Banker scores a total of 8 or 9 on the 1st 2 cards ( a 'natural'), no more cards come into play. If not, cards are drawn according to the following:
Player has 0-5: the Player draws a single card.
Player has 6 or 7, he stands.
The Banker's move will depend on the Player's hand, and what happened on the 2nd round
- Player draws no card, Banker draws on 0-5, and stands on 6-7.
- Player draws a 2 or 3, Banker on 0-4, stands on 5-7.
- Player draws a 4 or 5, Banker with 0-5, and stands with 6-7.
- Player draws 6 or 7, Banker draws with 0-6, stands with a 7.
- Player draws 8, Banker draws with 0-2, stands with 3-7.
- Player draws an ace, 9, 10, J, Q or K, Banker draws with 0-3, stands with 4-7.
You get even money or 1-1 on the player bet and the same on the Banker bet (except you normally pay a 5% commission to the house). There are some variants on this.
Tie bets (or Egalité) pay out at 8 to 1 with all bets on 'Player' or 'Banker' rolling over to the next round.
Normally 6 to 8 decks are used in bacarat.
In casinos in Macau and Las Vegas baccarat may often be played in special VIP rooms because of the amount of money changing hands. Some of the bigger players may bet hundreds of thousands of pounds on a single hand. Probably the most famous High Roller with a predilection for baccarat was the late Aussie tycoon Kerry Packer. This is because Punto Banco has one of the lowest house edges you'll find in a casino- comparable to blackjack (but in a far less complex game). The player bet has a house advantage of 98.76%, and the banker bet (with the 5% commission) has a payout of almost 99% (98.94% to be precise). The tie bet is best avoided with a payout of only 85.56% (in a 6 deck game).
Mini-baccarat is basically the same as Punto Banco, but it is played at a small table similar to a blackjack table. This is a faster game and the variant you are most likely to come across online.