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Baccarat is one of the most popular table games in casinos, however, it’s rarely the beginners go-to game. While it is often described by experienced players as easy, many beginners can’t seem to wrap their minds around it. In this guide, we discuss the nitty-gritty of baccarat. From the rules, to the gameplay, and strategies, this guide will help you understand and play baccarat like a professional.

What is Baccarat?

Baccarat is a simple table game between the “player” and the “banker.” By using cards, these two hands compete for a win in each round. To win this game, the player or the banker must have a hand closer to 9 from the cards they get during the game.

Since the cards have different values, a huge chunk of the game’s outcome is dependent on the cards you get. According to the rules of the game, cards 2 to 9 have a value of 10, on the other hand, cards J, Q, and K have no value, while A has a value of 1. Please note that if the total value of the cards exceeds 9, for example, 7 + 5 = 12, only the second digit, 2 in this case, is counted.

Since there are only three possible outcomes, you can place your bet on the player’s or banker’s hand or bet on the outcome being a tie. Easy peasy!

How to Play Baccarat

Here’s a breakdown of the gameplay:

1. Predict the winner.

Since there are only three possible outcomes, you can either predict the game will end with the banker or the player having a hand close to 9, or a tie. As with other table games, you have to put your money where your mouth is, and thus place a bet on the outcome you predict.

2. Place your deals and calculate the hand value.

Once the game commences, two cards will be dealt to both the player and the banker. Sum up values of the cards to decide which hand has a total closer to 9.

3. Determine whether the player gets a third card by looking at the point totals.

If the player or banker has a natural, that is a total of 8 or 9, the winner is decided and there’s no need to draw any more cards. However, if neither of them has a natural, a third card will be drawn.

There’s however a distinction on drawing a third hand for a player or banker.

The rules of the game states that-

  • The player can draw a third card only if their initial hand value is 5 or below.
  • The player stands (doesn’t draw a third card) if their initial hand value is 6 or 7.
  • The banker always draws a third card if their initial hand value is 2 or less.
  • If the banker’s initial hand value is 3, they can draw a third card, unless the player’s third card is an 8.
  • For a banker hand value of 4, 5, or 6, a third card is drawn depending on the value of the player’s third card:
  • If the player’s third card is between 4 and 6, the banker draws a third card.
  • If the player’s third card is 7 or higher, the banker stands and will not receive a third card.

4. Determine the winner.

The hand with a total closer to 9 wins. However, if the banker and player have the same total, the round ends as a tie. Hencs, if you bet on the winning hand, you’ll be paid 1:1, and if you win your bet on a tie, you’ll be paid out at the higher odds, 8:1 or 9:1, because the occurrence of a tie is less frequent in baccarat.

Conclusion

While baccarat may seem like a complex game to first-time players, the rules of the game are quite straightforward. The beauty of the game is further enhanced by its low house edge. You start your baccarat journey with small bets and explore more options as you gain more experience. If you’re interested in playing baccarat you should take a look at our list of the best baccarat sites!

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