Baccarat (also known as Punto Banco) is a card game played from a six- or eight-deck shoe usually separately from other casino games. It is played on a special table by not more than 14 players at the same time and is managed by three casino dealers.
All face cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) and the Tens have no value, an Ace is worth 1, the rest of the cards are worth their face value. The hand value can be a single-digit number only, so if the sum of the cards in a hand is a double-digit number, the left digit falls out. For instance, if the hand is made up of a Nine and a Two, its value is 1 (the total value of the cards in the hand is 11, so the left digit is dropped).
The two major bets in Baccarat are Banco (banker) and Punto (player). There is also a third bet called Standoff. The goal is to bet on the hand that will have the highest value, in some casinos it is also possible to bet on the tie (the Standoff bet).
The cards are dealt either by a dealer or the players act as dealers in turn. If a player deals the cards, he is still allowed to bet, usually on Banco. A player continues to deal the cards as long as the banker’s hand wins, he passes otherwise the dealer’s role to the next player, who may either accept it or pass.
The payoff for both Banco and Punto bets is 1 to 1, the Standoff pays off 8 or 9 to 1 depending on the casino. The only difference between the Banco and Punto bets is that the Banco bet pays a 5% commission to the casino.
If either hand has a total value of 8 or 9 (9 is the highest possible hand value), it is called a “natural” and no more cards are dealt. If there is not a natural, the casino dealer advises the card dealer on the dealing of a third card. If this will happen or not depends on the value of each of the two hands and follows strict rules:
Player’s third-card rule:
- If the player’s total is less than or equal to 5, the player always receives a third card. If the player’s total is 6 or more, the player stands.
- If the player does not receive a third card, the banker’s hand stands at a total of 6 or more, but receives a third card at a total of 5 or less.
If the player receives a third card, then the banker’s third-card rule determines if the bank will receive a third card:
- If the banker’s total is 0, 1, or 2, the banker always receives a third card.
- If the banker’s total is 3, the banker receives a third card unless the player’s third card was an Eight.
- If the banker’s total is 4, the banker receives a third card unless the player’s third card was a face card, a One, an Eight, or a Nine.
- If the banker’s total is 5, the banker receives a third card if the player’s third card was a Four, a Five, a Six, or a Seven.
- If the banker’s total is 6, the banker receives a third card if the player’s third card was a Six or a Seven.
- If the banker’s total is 7 or more, the banker stands.