Baccarat is a casino card game that is often played for huge sums of money, often upwards of $100,000 per hand! It was first introduced into France from Italy between 1483-1498 and now is played the throughout the world.
There are three official forms of Baccarat, Baccarat Chemin de fer, Baccarat Banque and Punto Banco. The first two have some element of skill attached to them due to the player being able to make various choices but Punto Banc, a game where the cards dictate the player’s actions, is far more popular, especially in the USA, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Finland and Macau.
Betting on the game is simple with the player having three options, “Player,” “Banker,” or “Tie.” The terms player and banker are actually irrelevant in Punto Banco, they are simply options and do not reflect who is the player or the banker in actual terms.
Punto Banco Baccarat is also easy to play, quite similar in structure to Blackjack. Each of the cards from 2-9 are worth their face value in points, Tens, Jacks, Queen and Kings are all worth zero points whilst Aces are given a value of one. Once the initial deal is complete the points are added up, the ten value removed and depending on the total of the cards the player or banker either draws another card or the best are paid out.
For example, if a two and a three are dealt the total points awarded are five, but if a six and seven are dealt this equals thirteen but the ten has to be removed so this particular hand is worth just three. Likewise, a four and a six would actually be worth zero points. A hand earning zero points is actually called a Baccarat.
The player or banker wins immediately if they are dealt a total of eight or nine points, this is called a natural and no more cards are dealt and a new round begins. If the player has between zero and five points they have to draw another card, or if they have six or seven they stand pat. The banker’s rules are more complex and are based on if the player has drawn a card, what that card was and what the banker’s total points tally is.
Payouts are generally 1:1 on player bets and 95% if you bet on the banker, with a Tie usually being around 8:1. Some casinos offer 1:1 payouts on banker bets but in this instance the player would automatically lose if the dealer has six points, regardless of the player’s total.
Only Blackjack beats Baccarat in terms of having a low advantage to the house. Betting on the player option gives the house an advantage of just 1.24%, whilst betting on the banker is a 1.06% house advantage. Gamblers generally stay clear of betting there will be a tie simply because it stacks the odds in the favour of the house to the tune of 14.44% if using six decks of cards.