Baccarat is drastically different from all other casino card games when it comes to rules. While the aim of 'regular' casino card games usually is to obtain the highest value hand (Poker) or a specific value hand (Blackjack) which then will win the game; Baccarat excludes interaction between the player and the cards. Rather than focus on his own hand only, the player must guess which hand - the player's or the dealer's - will have the higher value.
Betting on Baccarat is simple as there are only three outcomes to the game: a win for the player, a win for the dealer, or a tie. Before any of the cards are dealt the player places his stake; betting on himself, on the dealer or on a tie. The pay-outs for wins by the player and the dealer are at even odds, meaning a winning bet on either of these options doubles your stake. Ties on the other hand, as they are very rare, pay out at odds of 9-1, meaning your stake will be multiplied by nine if you successfully bet on a tie.
Once the player has placed a stake on player, banker or tie; the cards are dealt in a particular pattern. Both the player and the dealer receive two cards, dealt alternately and always to the player first. If the player's hand is showing a total value of 5 or lower (card values in Baccarat are explained below) and the dealer's hand is showing a value of 7 or lower, the player receives a third card. If the dealer's hand is showing a value of 2 or lower, the dealer will receive a third card. The player to predict correctly which party's hand shows the higher value wins the game. If both hands show the same value the game is declared a tie, meaning the player betting on a tie wins. However, if a tie occurs without a player having a bet on this outcome, the game is declared void, the stakes are returned and the dealing begins again - meaning no one looses if no one wins.
The card values in Baccarat value greatly from ways other games determine the value of a hand:
- Numeral cards from 2 to 9 carry the value of the number shown on the card
- All face cards (Jack, Queen, King) and 10s count as zero
- Aces count as 1
Calculating the value of your Baccarat hand can be a little tricky at first, before you get used to the system:
9 is the highest value hand possible in a game of Baccarat. This means that when determining the value of a hand you must first add up the total value and then drop the tens digit. For example: the player has received a 6 and a 5 which add up to a value of 11; however, the ten must be subtracted, leaving the value of the hand as 1 and so on.
There are currently three versions of Baccarat being played at online and land-based casinos: Punto Banco (or American Baccarat), Chemin De Fer and Baccarat Banque. All three versions adhere to the same ground rules, with slight individual variations. Check out our guides to the different versions of Baccarat and find your favourite.