The object of the game is to place a winning bet on which hand, either the dealer hand, or the player hand, will achieve the total that is closest to 9. It is also possible to bet that the hands will tie, or be of the same value.
Baccarat’s Three Bets
Bets that are placed when playing baccarat can be only one of three possible options. Players can bet that either the banker hand, often referred to as Banco, or the player hand, often referred to as Punto, will win the hand. The third possible betting option is that both hands will achieve the same number of points, also referred to as a Standoff.
Card and Hand Values in Baccarat
All picture cards and the ten have a baccarat value of zero. The Ace has a value of one. All the cards from numbers two through to number nine are counted at their face value. The suits of the cards are unimportant in baccarat, and therefore do not affect the game at all.
In baccarat, it is impossible to get a hand value that is higher than 9. This is because, as seen above, picture cards and the ten are equal to zero, and also because when the value of a hand adds up to more than 9, the tens digit is dropped, and the player is left with the last number of the hand. For example, should a baccarat hand reach be made up of a 9 + 8, with a total value of 17, the 1 is dropped, and the hand is left with a value of 7.
Basic Baccarat Game Play
There are three versions of baccarat, one is banque, another is chemin de fer, and the third is punto banco. In the first two, banque and chemin de fer, certain decisions are left up to the players, allowing for some skill. Punto banco, also known as North American baccarat, has very specific set rules governing play. In punto banco, the cards drawn for the banker’s hand are decided according to what cards have been drawn for the player hand. The rules below, while similar in all forms of baccarat, are more specifically for the punto banco version.
The game of baccarat is governed by set rules about when cards may be drawn. Some of these rules are different for the banker hand and for the player hand, as will be explained below.
The game is usually played with between 6 and 8 decks of cards. The cards are dealt from a shoe. There are two hands dealt, one for the banker hand, and one for the player hand. The initial deal is two cards per hand. First the player is dealt two cards, and then the banker is dealt two cards. A third card may be dealt to either hand, depending on which cards are being held.
When the initial hand of two cards is dealt, either to the player or to the banker, with a total value of either 8 or 9, the hand is considered to be a “natural,” and no more cards will be dealt to either of these hands. The hand that is dealt with a value of 9, the best possible hand in the game, is often referred to as “le grande,” and a hand that has been dealt a value of 8 is called “petite.”
When Can the Banker Hand Draw a Third Card?
When a banker hand has a total value of 2 or less, a third card will be dealt. When the banker hand has a value of 3, a third card is dealt, unless the player hand drew an 8 for the third card. When the banker has a total hand value of 4, another card is drawn, unless the player hand’s third card was a 9, an 8, a 1 or a 0. When the banker has a 5 point hand, a third card will only be dealt if the player’s third card was one of the following: 4, 5, 6, or 7. When the banker has a 6-point hand, a third card will only be dealt if the player’s third card was either a 6 or a 7. If the banker hand was dealt with a total of 7 points, the bank must stand, and may not draw any more cards.
When Can the Player Hand Draw a Third Card?
The player draws another card when a hand total of 5 or less has been dealt. If the player does not take a third card, the banker has to stand when they have 6 or more points. When a third card is drawn by the player hand, the third card rules that are listed above will apply to the banker hand.