How to Play Baccarat
The mini-Baccarat table is the kind of Baccarat table you’re most likely to find in the standard American casino, the game is played along similar lines as regular Baccarat except that in the mini version all the hands are dealt by the dealer and the players never touch the cards. Apart from this, the rules remain the same. You’ll find that the betting minimums will always be lower on mini-Baccarat and it’s usually pretty easy to find a table with a $5 minimum.
The game of Baccarat is easy to play, there are three simple bets you have a choice of: player, banker or tie. Once the player made their bets the game begins and two 2-card hands are dealt from a shoe that contains 8 decks of cards. One hand is dealt for the banker and another hand is dealt for the player. The values of the two cards in each hand are added together, the object of the game is to have a total as close to 9 as possible.
The name Baccarat derives from the Italian word for zero, there are many zeros in this game when all the cards are added together all of the 10’s and all of the face cards are counted as zeros, while all of the other cards from ace though 9 are counted at their face value. Therefore, a hand of Jack, 6 has a total of 6; 10,4 has a total of 4; king, 7 has a total of 7; and ace, queen which would be a great hand in blackjack, only has a total of 1.
The other thing about adding the cards together is that no total can be higher than 9. So, if a total is 10 or higher you have to subtract 10 to determine its value. For example, 8,8 totals 16 but you subtract 10 and your total is 6; 9,5 has a total of 4; 8,3 has a total of 1; and 5,5 has a total of 0.
The object of the game of Baccarat is to have a total as close to 9 as possible, so after the first two cards are dealt if either the player or banker hand has a total of 9 then that’s called a “natural” and that hand wins. If neither hand has a total of 9 then the next best possible hand is a total of 8.
It’s always the player hand that goes first. If the player hand has a total of 6 or 7, it must stand. The only other totals it can possibly have are 0, 1,2,3,4 or 5 and for all of those totals it must draw a card.
Player Hand Rules
8-9 :: STANDS (Natural)
6-7 :: STANDS
0-1-2-3-4-5 :: DRAWS
If the player hand has a total of 6 or 7 it stands and for anything else it has to draw a card. Well, that was the easy part because now it gets a little complicated.
After the player hand is finished the banker hand must take its turn and if its first 2 cards total 0, 1 or 2 it must draw a card. If its two cards total 7 it must stand and if the total is 6 it will stand, but only if the player hand did not take a card.
Bank Hand Rules
8-9 :: Stands (Natural)
0-1-2 :: Draws
6 :: Stand (If player took no card)
7 :: Stands
The only other possible totals the bank can have are 3, 4, 5 or 6 and the decision as to whether or not a 3rd card is drawn depends on the 3rd card that was drawn by the player hand.
When the banker hand has a total of 3 it must stand if the player’s 3rd card was an 8 and it must draw if the player’s 3rd card was any other card.
IF BANK HAS 3 and Player’s third card is 8 – BANK STANDS
Player’s third card is 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,10 – BANK DRAWS
When the banker hand has a total of 4 it must stand if the player’s 3rd card was a 1, 8, 9, or 10 and it must draw if the player’s 3rd card was any other card.
IF BANK HAS 4 and;
Player’s third card is 1, 8,9,10 – BANK STANDS
Player’s third card is 2, 3, and 4,5,6,7 – BANK DRAWS
When the banker hand has a total of 5 it must stand if the player’s 3rd card was a 4, 5, 6 or 7 and it must draw if the player’s 3rd card was any other card.
IF BANK HAS 5 and;
Player’s third card is 4,5,6,7 – BANK STANDS
Player’s third card is 1,2,3,8,9,10 – BANK DRAWS
When the banker hand has a total of 6 it must stand if the player’s 3rd card was a 6 or 7 and it must draw if the player’s 3rd card was any other card.
IF Bank HAS 6 and;
Player’s third card is 6 or 7 – BANK STANDS
Player’s third card is 1, 2, and 3,4,5,8,9,10 – BANK DRAWS
There you have it – those are the rules of Baccarat concerning the draw of a third card. As you saw they were a little complicated, but remember that you don’t have to memorize the rules yourself because the dealer will know them and play each hand by those rules, but you can always ask for a copy of the rules at the table to follow along.
Now let’s try some sample hands: The player hand has queen, 9 for a total of 9 and the banker hand has 4, 4 for a total of 8. Which hand wins? Both hands are naturals, but the player hand total of 9 is higher than the banker hand total of 8, so the player hand is the winner.
If the player hand has 4, 2 for a total of 6 and the banker hand has ace, jack which totals 1, what happens? The player hand must stand on its 6 and the banker hand must always draw when it has a total of 0, 1 or 2. Let’s say the bank draws a 7 and wins 7 to 6.
What happens when the player hand has king, 5 and the bank hand has 2, 4? The player hand must draw and let’s say it gets a 7 for a total of 2. The banker hand has a total of 6 and if it could stand on that total it would win because its 6 is higher than the 2 held by the player. Of course, if you were betting on banker that’s exactly what you would want to happen but, unfortunately for you, the rules require the bank hand to draw another card whenever its first two cards total 6 and the third card drawn by the player is a 7.
Instead of having a winning hand you have to hope that the card you draw isn’t a 5, which would give you a total of 1 making you a loser. You also wouldn’t want to draw a 6 because that would give you a total of 2 which would give you a tie. In this case let’s say that the bank hand goes on to draw an 8 which gives it a total of 3 and it wins 3 to 2.
If the player hand has 3, ace for a total of 4 and the banker hand has 8, 7 for a total of 5, what happens? The player hand must draw and say it gets a 9 for a total of 3. Once again, the banker hand would like to stand on its total because it would win, but the rules have to be consulted first and in this case when the banker’s first 2 cards total 5 and the player’s third card drawn is a 9 the banker hand must stand, so the banker hand wins 5 to 3.
Finally, let’s say the player hand has 4, 3 for a total of 7 and the banker hand has 6, 10 for a total of 6. The player hand must always stand on totals of 6 or 7 and the banker hand must also stand on its total of 6 because the player hand didn’t take a third card. The player hand wins this one 7 to 6.[addtoany]