Baccarat is a classic casino card game with a rich history, often associated with high stakes and sophistication. It is particularly popular in Asian casinos and among high rollers. The game has simple rules and involves betting on one of two hands—the Player’s hand or the Banker’s hand—to see which will score closest to a total of 9.

How Baccarat is Played:

  1. Card Values:
    • Aces are worth 1 point.
    • 2 through 9 are worth their face value.
    • 10s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings have no point value (worth 0).
  2. Dealing the Cards:
    • Two hands are dealt by the house dealer: one for the Banker and one for the Player.
    • Each hand initially receives two cards. Depending on the total, a third card may be dealt to either or both hands based on the game’s predetermined rules.
  3. Gameplay Rules:
    • The goal is to bet on which hand will have the total closest to 9.
    • If the total exceeds 9, the score is adjusted by subtracting 10 from the total (e.g., a hand of 7 and 6 totals 13, which is adjusted to 3).
    • Players can bet on the Player hand, the Banker hand, or a Tie.
  4. Third Card Rule:
    • If either the Player or the Banker has a total of 8 or 9 on the first two cards, no more cards are drawn. This is called a “natural.”
    • If the Player’s total is 5 or less, the Player draws a third card.
    • Banker’s play depends on the Banker’s initial cards and what the Player received as a third card if one was drawn:
      • If the Player did not draw a third card, the Banker draws on a total of 0-5, and stands on 6-7.
      • If the Player drew a third card, the Banker’s decision to draw a third card is based on a combination of the Banker’s initial total and the value of the Player’s third card.
  5. Outcomes:
    • Winning bets on the Player pay even money.
    • Winning bets on the Banker also pay even money, minus a commission typically around 5%, due to the Banker’s slight advantage in the rules.
    • Winning bets on a Tie usually pay 8 to 1, sometimes 9 to 1.

Variants of Baccarat:

  • Punto Banco: The most common version of baccarat in casinos worldwide; players bet on which hand will win, with the casino banking the game.
  • Chemin de Fer: A traditional French version where one player is the Banker, and the other players are the Punters. The Banker position rotates unless the Banker wins the hand.
  • Baccarat Banque: Similar to Chemin de Fer but the Banker is chosen for the duration of the session.

Baccarat is known for its simplicity and speed. It requires no technical skill to play, as the rules dictate all actions. This game’s elegant and straightforward nature has made it a favorite among those who prefer games of chance over skill.