Baccarat is a simple game of chance which requires almost no decision making other than where to place your bet. There are only two hands dealt in the game, one for the Player (Punto) and one for the Banker (Banco). The object is to bet on the hand that you believe will score closest to nine points.
Points are counted by adding up the value of the cards, with tens and face cards counted as zero points. Aces are counted as one point, and the two through nine count as their face value. When the hand totals up to more than nine points, the first digit is dropped, with the result that all hands have a value of zero to nine.
The table for Punto Banco has seating for up to seven players, with one dealer who is in charge of the game and handling the money. In this style of Baccarat the house deals the cards, which not only speeds up the game, but makes the experience less intimadating for the novice Baccarat player.
When a new shoe is started, the Dealer shuffles six to eight standard decks of cards together and then reveals the top card. He (or she) will then "burn" (or remove) the number of cards equal to the value on the revealed card. While this process is one of the "rituals" that you will find in virtually every Baccarat game, it really only effects the starting point of the new shoe, not necessarily the outcome of the game.
After the cards are shuffled and "burned", players can then bet on either the Player hand or the Banker hand (or a tie) by placing chips in the appropriate box on the table layout opposite their seat. The round is then played out according to the rules.
Once the bets are completed, one card is dealt face down to the Player hand and then one card is dealt (also face down) to the Dealer hand. This is repeated once more, resulting in two face down cards in each hand. The Caller then places the Player hand in front of the player with the highest bet at the table. The player at the table will then turn both cards over, after which the Caller will announce the total and place the cards on the spot marked "Player Hand". The Caller then reveals the Banker hand and announces the total. The next plays are made according to the drawing rules. The Player hand is always acted on first, after which the Bankers hand is then acted on.
TRY YOUR HAND AT BACCARAT!
The value of the first two cards will determine whether or not a third card is required. No hand will ever have more than three cards, and no more than one more card will ever be drawn. If a third card is required, the Caller will announce "card for Player" or "card for Bank" to the table.
If either of the initial two-card hands has a total of eight or nine points, it is called a "natural" and the game is ended. A natural nine (called "le grande") cannot lose, and a natural eight (also known as "le petite) can only be beaten by a natural nine. If both hands are identical, the game ends in a tie. If there are no naturals, the cards are then drawn according to the drawing rules which follow.
TO DRAW OR NOT TO DRAW
The rules on drawing the third card in Baccarat can be confusing but it is not necessary for you to know them completely in order to play, or enjoy, the game. Basically, it comes down to this: The Player hand hits on a total of five or less, and the Banker hand hits or stands based on the value of the Player's third card.
The Player's two card total determines whether or not the third card is drawn using the following rules:
If player total is
0,1,2,3,4, or 5.. then the player hand will draw a card
6 or 7 follow Banker chart
8 or 9 and the banker hand will stand
After the Player's hand has been acted on, the Banker is then allowed to play. The two variables which determine if the Banker receives a third card are the total of the Banker's first two cards and the value of the card that the Player has drawn. If the Banker's two card total is 0, 1, or 2, then a third card is always drawn (unless the Player's hand is a "natural"). If the Banker's two card total is 7, 8, or 9, then a third card is never drawn. If the two card total for the Banker is 3,4,5, or 6, then the drawing of the third card is dependent upon the value of the Player's third card.
- Player draws 2 or 3: the Banker draws with a score of 0-4, and stands pat with a score of 5-7
- Player draws 4 or 5: the Banker draws with a score of 0-5, and stands pat with a score of 6-7
- Player draws 6 or 7: the Banker draws with a score of 0-6, and stands pat with a score of 7
- Player draws 8: The Banker draws with a score of 0-2, and stands pat with a score of 3-7
- If the Player draws a 9 through to an Ace the Banker draws with a score of 0-3, and stands pat with a score of 4-7
If the Player doesn't take a third card at all then the Banker must draw on a hand of zero through five or stay on a hand of six through nine. After the completion of dealing the third card, the round ends.