All you need to decide is whether to bet on "bank", "player" or "tie". ("Tie" is not recommended because the house edge is too high). Except for the tie bet, Baccarat has a very low house edge – 1.24 % if you bet on Player and 1.06% for bets on Banker.
There really is no need to know how to play baccarat precisely. It’s pretty much a game of chance, all you really have to do is decide whether you think player or banker will win, and bet accordingly. Beyond that, knowing the basic baccarat rules will certainly help you follow what is going on, making the game a lot more enjoyable.
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Two hands are dealt, one for the "player" and one for the "banker". You can bet on one or the other. If the hand you bet on wins, you receive a 1 to 1 (even money) payoff. You can also bet that the hands will tie, but as mentioned above, it is not recommended. You receive an 8 to1 payoff, but ties occur less than once out of every ten hands, making the tie bet a poor choice.
At the start, each hand receives two cards. The aim is to draw a count of 9 or close to it. When necessary, additional cards are drawn according to the baccarat rules. Tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings count 0. The Ace counts 1 and cards 2 through 9 are at face value. The hand that comes closest to a count of 9 wins. Hands don’t bust like in Blackjack, because the first digit of a two-digit number is always dropped. For example, if 5 and 7 are drawn for a total of 12, the count is 2. When there is a tie, nobody loses.
A dealt total of 8 or 9 points is called a natural, and no additional cards will be drawn. It is an automatic win unless the opposing hand has a higher natural (a 9 vs. an 8), or the hand is a tie.
On all other totals, 0 through 7, the drawing of an additional card depends strictly on established baccarat rules of play. There is never more than one card drawn to a hand in any case.
Baccarat calls for just a few decisions: How much to bet and whether to bet on the bank, on the player or on a tie. Seasoned players avoid betting on ties, and for good reason. The casino will pay nine for one odds (which is really eight to one) if you bet that a hand will tie and it does. The casino advantage on this bet is over 14%.
The casino has a 1.06% edge on the banker's hand, and a 1.24% edge on the player's hand. This percentage might lead you to assume that you're better off betting with the banker. But keep in mind that the casino charges a commission of 5% on your winnings when betting with the banker.
Even after paying a 5% commission on winning banker bets, betting on "banker" is still a slightly (0.19% to be exact) better proposition than betting on "player". Banker hands win more often.
All bets are made before the cards are dealt. In live games every player at the table gets a chance to deal the cards, but baccarat rules say you don’t have to deal if you don’t want to, just pass the shoe to the next player. If you have the bankroll (often $25 or more minimum bet), don’t let the tuxedoed dealers and fancy surroundings scare you away.
Play Baccarat at on online casino and you won’t need to feel intimidated stepping into a fancy, roped-off baccarat pit. And, on the computer, you’ll be able to play at considerably lower limits (and in your pajamas if you like).