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Baccarat

Poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette may be the biggest and most popular games in a casino, but what about Baccarat? Baccarat is a great card game played between a player and a banker.

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Most people know Baccarat because of its connection to James Bond. That is actually quite unfortunate as the game offers quite a different experience than blackjack for example.

Baccarat also goes by the name Punto Banco, so if you were ever confused whether the games are one and the same, we hope to have cleared things up.

What is Baccarat?

First of all, Baccarat is a game of cards. There are 3 versions of Baccarat played in casinos:

  • Baccarat chemin-de-fer
  • Baccarat Banque
  • Punto Banco

They are all the same essentially, with a few slightly different rules. Although chemin-de-fer is James Bond’s favorite, Punto Banco is the most popular baccarat version in land-based and online gambling sites around the world.

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Baccarat is played between a player and a banker where it also gets its name from (Punto=player; Banco=bank). It’s popular in Europe under the name of Punto Banco. In Macau and all around Asia, Baccarat is a big casino game. According to estimates, more than 90% of the income in Macau casinos comes from Baccarat.

The game is played on two types of tables. It can either be played at a blackjack table with one dealer. It can also be a bigger, kidney-shaped table that may include up to 3 dealers. The latter is common for big casinos in Europe where a total of 12 players can sit in comfy armchairs and deal the cards on their own.

The bigger ‘variant’ of Baccarat is also the more challenging one as there are more players involved along with several dealers. However, the version played on a smaller table has its own charm. It is perfect for those that don’t like playing in a crowd.

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What are the Rules of Baccarat?

In Baccarat, the objective of the game is to beat the dealer’s hand value. Whoever is closer to a count of 9 wins the game. When the game starts, the dealer deals two cards to himself and the player. The first one to the player (the dealer usually burns the first card, meaning its dealt face up). after that he deals to himself. Third to the player again, and the last one goes to himself again.

Unlike in blackjack where an ace can be worth 10 points, in Baccarat it is worth one point. All the other cards up to 9 retain their numeric value. Face cards are worthless in this game.

Once the cards are dealt, the player checks his hand. The objective of the goal is to get as close to 9 as possible. Since there are cards with a higher value, a player may end up with a value of two digits. In this case, he doesn’t go bust. A value of 10 is deducted from any hand with a double-digit value. That gives the player a single-digit number. For example, the cards the player holds in his hands are 9 and 8. That brings the count to 17. Ten is deducted from the total value, bringing the count to 7.

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The Bets in Baccarat

Baccarat has 3 main bets – player (Punto), banker (Banco), and Egalite (Tie). This means that the player can bet whether he wins, the dealer wins or they will tie. In this case, both should have an equal hand value (e.g. 7). Than the player wins his bet.

The rules of Baccarat state that if the player has a hand value of 0-5, a third card is drawn. If the value is 6 or 7, the player stands. If the player’s hand has a value of 8-9, which is also known as a natural, the player stands again.

When it comes to the banker’s rules, he draws a card in case of a hand value of 0-3. If the banker’s hand value is 4 and the player’s hand value is 5, the banker draws a third card. He also draws a third card if his hand is a total of five and the player has a hand valued 4-7 or if the banker’s hand value is 6 and the player’s hand is 6-7.

The banker only stands when his hand value is either 7, 8 or 9. After the cards are revealed, the banker pays out the winnings or collects the lost bets. If the hand results in a tie, neither the house or the player wins.

Online Baccarat

Like all popular casino games, Baccarat (and Punto Banco) has its own online version. If you try looking for Punto Banco in online casinos you probably won’t find it, but you can play baccarat which is more or less the same.

Of course, due to the virtual nature of online casinos, you don’t get the chance to deal the cards on your own, but everything else is basically the same. The first thing you need to do is find a respectable casino and always check the rules of the game you’re playing, as they might differ from what you know. Of course, you should check the payouts as well, although in Baccarat they shouldn’t be much different from what land-based casinos offer.

Once you’re ready to play, you’ll see that the virtual table isn’t at all different than those you’re familiar with. Some casinos also offer live Baccarat in their live casino sections, which brings the excitement of playing in a land-based casino to your PC or mobile screen – it’s something you should definitely check out.

What are the Odds at Baccarat?

A winning player in Baccarat is paid out at even money. A winning bank is paid out at 19/20. The Egalite bet pays 8/1 (don’t believe the casinos that advertise it as 9/1). The low house edge never goes under 1%. That’s why Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games. The casino has a huge advantage over the player on the Egalite bet, which has a house edge of 14%.

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