There are three variants of the game of Baccarat: baccarat chemin de fer and baccarat banque, both have elements of skill involved, in that the players can make choices, whilst punto banco is purely a game of chance, with no strategizing required – instead, each player’s moves are entirely dictated by the hand they’re dealt.
Beyond these variants, Baccarat is an incredibly simple game with only three possible results: Player, Banker and Tie. Confusingly for the beginner, these terms don’t pertain to what you might expect. ‘Player’ doesn’t refer to the player, and ‘Banker’ has nothing to do with the house. They are merely the names of options on which the player can bet.
Now, before we get into the meat of the rules, let’s establish the value of the hands you might be dealt:
In Baccarat, cards 2-9 are worth face value, 10s and face cards (J, Q, K) are worth zero, and Aces are worth 1 point. The score is calculated by taking the sum of all cards and then subtracting the ‘tens’ digit. For example, a hand consisting of 3 and 3 is worth 6. A hand consisting of 8 and 9 is worth 7 (8 + 9 = 17 = 7). In other words, the first digit is dropped because the value of the hand is more than 9. Comprende? So if you had a 4 + 6 you would have zero (or Baccarat, the name of the game!).
Firstly, the players choose to bet either on the ‘Player’ or the ‘Banker’. The cards are dealt (face down), one each in turn (Player, then Banker, then Player, then Banker), until each person has a hand of two cards. The cards for each player are turned over and their value calculated (eg. 7 to the Banker, 3 to the Player). From this position the players determine whether they will draw another card or ‘stand pat’. The hand with the highest total wins.
If the Players hand and the Bankers hand have the same value, the croupier calls ‘Egalite’ – tie bets win. All tie bets are paid at 8 to 1 odds and all bets on Player or Banker remain in place for the next round. Punto banco is played at an oval table, staffed by a croupier, who manages the game play. It is important to note that the ‘Banker’ role is purely ceremonial, and the Banker may bet on the Player hand if he or she wishes.
Sounds simple enough? If not – don’t sweat it. It’s surprisingly easy once you get into it. Give it a try here at Castle Casino – register and start playing online Baccarat to discover the allure of this historical game.