What is Baccarat and How Do I Play?

Baccarat used to be only associated with the rich and the powerful in society, but today many people from around the world enjoy playing it. Why not, it is one of the few casino games that is full of both intrigue and suspense. It can be played with live dealers online and is largely recognized as a game of chance, not skill.

Where it All Began

Baccarat originated from either what is Italy and/or France now around the Middle Ages. The word baccarat is derived from the Italian word, meaning zero. It was originally played with tarot cards. The popularity of the game spreads from Europe to other parts of the world. Like many other gambling games of those days, it was opposed by religious groups but that did not stop its steady progress to other countries and continents, and eventually to US online casinos too.


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Today, it is one of the most respected and among the most popular games played in various casinos in the world. Different variations of the game are available depending on the part of the world you are playing it, but they are all basically the same. It became vastly more popular in the USA with James Bond showing his love of the game in the movie Casino Royal.

baccarat-bets-300x234How to Play and Some Strategies

Baccarat has three outcomes, the player could win, the banker could win, or there could be a tie. You can bet with the banker or with the player. You can also bet on the banco or the punto, as well as the standoff, which is very rarely used. Some casinos allow the players deal those cards turn in turn while some may allow the casino dealer to deal those cards to the players. However, if you are playing an online baccarat casino game, a virtual dealer automatically deals those cards for you.

The players could bet on banco or punto. The dealer always has to bet on banco. Players may choose not to deal, preferring to pass the shoe to the next player. The shoe will remain with a player in so far the bank continues to win. The shoe will, however pass to another player whenever the punto wins. Out of the two hands, you will bet which of the hands will win or will tie.

The game is played on eight-deck or six-deck shoe. They are all face cards, 10s do not have any value. Any card less than 10 is considered at its face value. The aces are valued is one while suits do not matter. In the game, only a single digit values is considered valid. A count that has a double digit must drop its left digit. For instance, double digits like 25 and 15 are considered as 5 each because they will drop their left values.

To start the game, a player must bet on either punto or on banco. Such player can also bet on the standoff. The dealer issues two cards starting from the player to the banker. The object of the baccarat game is to place a bet on any of the hands, which you think, would get the highest value. The third card could be dealt with any of the players based on the three card rules. The third card rule is compulsory and takes an automatic effect.

Basic Rules

The player’s third card rules assume that:

  • When any of the players have 8 or 9 on their two cards no new cards are drawn. In such situation the resulting hand is referred to as natural
  • When a player’s card is equal to or less than 5 then the players hand has to draw a third card
  • When a player does not draw the third card, and at the same time the bank’s total is 6 and above, and picks the third card which is 5 or less. If the player takes the third card, the bank’s third card rule will decide whether the bank should take the third card.

Here is the bank’s third card rule:

  • When the bank has 2 and less, the bank draws the card irrespective of the total of the third card of the player
  • When the total of bank is 3, the bank must draw the third card; this could only be prevented when the player’s third card value is 8
  • When the total of the bank is 4 in value, bank has to draw the third card, this can however be prevented when the player’s third card is 0, 1, 8 and 9
  • When the total of bank’s card is 5, the bank has to draw the third card, and that is when the player’s third card is 4, 5, 6, and 7
  • When the total of bank’s is 6, the bank also draws the third card when the player’s third card is either 6 or 7
  • When the total of banks is 7 in value, the bank stands.

More Helpful Tips

Before you bet, it is advisable to monitor the previous hands, bet when the odds diminish for either the banker or the player to win. Secondly, it is advisable not to bet against the winning streak. Instead ride the lucky momentum!

Thirdly, count the card values each time, don’t be lazy, and adjust the bet whenever you think there is a low card or when you think that face cards will be used next hand. Baccarat has great odds. Anytime there is a full shoe card deal, the chances of both the player and the banker to win is 50/50.


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