Baccarat is among the most popular table games in casinos across the world. More than half of the tables in Macau are even designated specifically to baccarat. The game also attracts some of the highest rollers in Las Vegas. Baccarat may look (and sound) like a confusing and intimidating game to an observer, however, it is actually extremely simple to learn.
On this page we’ll go over how to properly play the game, common table rules, payout structures and more. You can even practice playing baccarat below for free via software provided by Bovada; one of the most popular U.S. online casinos.
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Baccarat Betting Options
There are three betting options when you are playing at a baccarat table. Players may wager on either the player hand, the banker hand, or bet on a tie. One unique facet of baccarat when compared to other games is that there is no requirement for betting. This means that players can sit down at a table and watch the cards if they are not feeling lucky and place bets whenever they see fit without being bothered by a pesky pit-boss.
It is also worth noting that a tie may be wagered by itself or with a player or banker wager. This means you can often make multiple bets on the same hand making it different from some other popular table games.
Point Values at Baccarat
The point values in baccarat are determined by the cards. Twos through nines have the exact pip value, meaning they are worth the exact number printed on the card. This comes with the exception that tens and face cards are worth zero and aces have a value of one. The highest point value in baccarat is nine. If the hand total is more than nine, the first number is dropped. For example, a 17 would play as a 7. A baccarat hand will contain either two or three cards when the hand is completed.
The player and banker hand each receive two cards from an eight-deck shoe. The hand immediately ends if either the player or banker is dealt an 8 or 9 as a whole. If the banker is dealt an immediate 8 or 9, then everyone who bet on the banker wins and vice versa. This is referred to as a “natural”. If neither the player nor banker receives a natural, the player’s action is determined and his hand will be hit if the count is 5 or less. A 6 or 7 is a stand.
Similar to blackjack, certain numerical values require the banker/player to “stand.” For example, the banker stands on a 6 or 7 if the player also stands. If the player’s hand is hit, there is a set of rules in place to determine the action of the banker. This is based on the card drawn by the player hand, not the cumulative point value.
Rules for Banker After Player Hits
- – Dealer always stays on 7
- – Hit 6 only if player draws a 6 or 7
- – Only hit 5 if the player draws a 4 through 7
- – Only hit 4 if the player draws a 2 through 7
- – Never hit 3, unless the player draws an 8
- – Always hit 0, 1, or 2
Once the drawing is determined, the dealer and banker hand are compared. The hand closest to a point value of nine wins. Ties are a push. Below is the payout structure based on these results.
- – Player win: 1-1
- – Banker win: 1-1 less 5% commission
- – Ties: 8-1 or 9-1 (depending on table rules)
Commission is paid after the eight-deck shoe is spent or when a player decides to leave the table. This keeps the game from slowing down by making change after each hand. The dealer keeps track of the commission owed by seat. It may be also paid during a shoe upon request.
EZ Baccarat is a newer variation of baccarat that eliminates the 5% commission from winning banker bets. In exchange for this, the banker bet pushes if a banker three-card 7 beats the player. This version is believed to have been invented around a decade ago, and is a little different from standard baccarat.
EZ Baccarat Side Bets
Dragon 7: The Dragon 7 bet insures a banker bet on the one hand that is affected by the EZ Baccarat rule change over the traditional version of the game. It pays 40-1 on a banker three-card 7. All other banker hands lose.
Panda 8 Bets: The Panda 8 bet is only available at EZ baccarat tables. If thew player wagers on the Panda 8 bet, it will pay 25-1 only when the player makes a three-card 8.