Baccarat is a game that is easy to play, despite its complicated rules. It may seem intimidating to players who have never given it a try, at least when reading about it, but it couldn't be easier to get through since the dealer literally deals with all of the complicated aspects of the game on the player's behalf!
Punto banco Baccarat is the most common version played in North American Casinos. In this game players can choose to bet on who will win the hand based on whether they think it will be their own hand, or that of the dealer. In this game, it's okay for players to bet against themselves; winning is based simply on whether a bet was placed on the player with the winning hand!
As mentioned above, Baccarat is a simple game from the player's perspective, but it does have some complicated rules of gameplay that will be run by the dealer at the table. In order to have the better hand, players must have a 2 or 3 card hand that is closer to 9; however, no one at the table has to actually have a hand of 9 in order to win, it's just about being the closest one to the winning number! To players to understand who has a winning hand, it's important to know how the cards are valued. Ace to 9 cards are all totaled at face value, but the 10 card and the rest of the face card are worth nothing. Since the objective in this game is to have a hand totaling closer to 9, cards that have totals that are higher are added by dropping the first digit in the double digit total. For example, a hand of 7 and 7 adds up to 14, but it would be valued at 4 since the first digit is dropped. A Baccarat is named after the worst hand possible in the game; one totaling zero, as when 6 and 4 cards are drawn. This is another complicated aspect of the game, but don't worry; if you have a reputable dealer, you won't need to keep your eye on how your hand is valued; you'll know you won when the chips end up in your pile (that is, if you betted on your own hand!)
The basic rules of Baccarat are outlined below, but if you trust your dealer and don't want to get confused about how the dealing of cards progresses, here's a summary: no matter what you will have 2 cards in your hand and the dealer will decide if you get a third one based on the value of the cards in your hand.
Here are the steps players following when playing a hand of Baccarat against a dealer:
1. The dealer and the player each draw 2 cards
2. Cards drawn determine whether both the dealer and the player are able to receive additional cards or if they stand
- If either the dealer or the player draw a hand totaling 8 or 9, both players must stand, and since they are not allowed to draw additional cards, the hands winner is declared
- If the player's total is 6 or 7, the player must stand. In this instance, if the player stands the dealer must hit on a hand that is 5 or less
3. Third cards are dealt to both the player and the dealer based on the following criteria:
- If the player's total is 5 or less, the automatically hit; the dealer will provide them with a third card. The number of the card that the player drew depends on whether or not the dealer will also receive a third hand
- If the banker's first 2 cards in the hand total 0,1, or 2 then a third card is automatically dealt regardless of the player's hand
- If the banker's hand is 3, they draw a third card if the player's hand is 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7, or 9 (but not 8)
- If the banker's hand is 4, they draw a third card if the player's hand is 2,3,4,5,6,7
- If the banker's hand is 5, they draw a third card if the player's hand is 4,5,6,7
- If the banker's hand is 6, they draw a third card if the player's hand is 6 or 7
- If the banker's hand is 7, they must stand regardless of what the player's hand is
4. Once the final card is dealt, the player (dealer or player) with the closest hand to 9 is declared the winner and hands are raked accordingly
Baccarat may sound like a complicated game, but with a proficient dealer, all the player needs to worry about is who they're going to bet on and the rest of gameplay should progress automatically!
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