Simple Guide to Baccarat
Baccarat is a very different kind of card game to Rummy. Gin Rummy, the most popular type of Rummy, is fast-paced and exciting, played between two players in a head-to-head way. It’s based mostly on the luck of the draw, but also on the skill of how players divide up and play their hand.
Popular in the East, such as in Macau, but increasingly trendier in Vegas and at online casinos, Baccarat is a game that is based entirely on chance. The players do not have any influence over how the hand is played, other than making the bet on which hand will win. This is very refreshing and relaxing for those who are looking for a calm and relaxed card game.
We have struggled to find online sites that offer Rummy for real money. On the other hand, it’s possible to play live baccarat for real money on popular online casino sites.
If you are interested in learning more about Baccarat, this simple guide will get you started.
The Basics Of Baccarat
Baccarat is played using 8 x 52 card decks. The rules are the same both live at brick-and-mortar casinos, and the online casino sites.
Two hands are dealt out on the table, the ‘Player’ and the ‘Banker’. These are just labels. They could just as easily be ‘Red’ and ‘Black’ or ‘Hand One’ and ‘Hand Two.’
You are free to bet on whichever hand you think will win, or you can bet on a tie. There is no way to predict or influence the outcome. It is down to chance which hand will win. Therefore, you don’t really need to know much more to play the game. You simply sit down and bet on a hand to win.
Aside from betting on ‘Player’, ‘Banker’ or ‘Tie’, there will also be several side bets available when you take your seat at the baccarat table. These bonus bets or pair bets offer lower odds to the player, as we will discuss later in the article.
If you do want to gain a deeper understanding of the game, it’s time to learn a bit about hand values.
Baccarat Hand Values
The object of the game for the player is to bet on the right hand. But which hand actually wins? The hands are not scored like in Blackjack or poker, and they have their own value system.
The winning hand in baccarat is the one which scores closest to 9. Face cards are worth zero points, Aces are worth one point, and all other cards are worth their value. However, the twist is that only the final digit of the total score is used. Take these examples:
Jack + 9 = 0 + 9 = perfect score of 9
8 + 7 = 15 = final score of 5
2 + 4 + Ace = 2 + 4 + 1 = final score of 7
The croupier will first deal out two cards to each hand. If the score is 8 or 9, then this is called a ‘natural hand’, and no more cards are dealt. If the score for both hands is 7 or less, then the ‘Third Card Rule’ is consulted to see which hands will draw another card.
This is a complicated rule that is more important for the dealer to understand than the player. All the player needs to be aware of is the basic return to player (RTP) percentages for each bet.
There is no baccarat strategy as such. Players have no influence over the hand, other than the initial bets that they make. Therefore, the relevant decisions to make involve which bets to take. If you want to secure the top-end RTPs, then always make the right bets:
- RTP for the ‘Player’ bet is 98.76%
- RTP for the ‘Banker’ bet is 99.94% (this is higher because of the subtle rules on dealing)
- RTP for the ‘Tie’ bet is 86.64%
Side bets all have lower RTPs, reducing the player’s edge. For example, the ‘Banker Pair’ and ‘Player Pair’ bets have an RTP of 89.64%
Therefore, if you want to maximize returns, you should always make the ‘Banker’ bet and never take the ‘Tie’ or any side bets. These basic rules should be enough to get you started.