A traditional gambling game typically marked by high minimums and ambitious bets, Baccarat dates back to the fifteenth century. This casino game originated in Italy and was adopted by American casinos in the 1950s. Baccarat asks that players bet on a simple question: Which hand will win? A winning hand in Baccarat is based on whose cards will hold a value closest to the number 9. The competition is between the banker and the player.
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How to Play Baccarat
There are three possible bets in Baccarat:
1. The banker’s hand will win.
2. The player’s hand will win.
3. The banker’s hand and the player’s hand will tie.
(A tie pays out 8:1; however, the house edge in baccarat is
high and winning on a tie is rare.)
A winning hand in baccarat has a value closest to 9 without going over 9. Players familiar with blackjack will find the rhythm of baccarat familiar, except that the marker number is 9 instead of 21. The player and the banker can also choose to stand or hit depending on the value of the initial hand.
To begin, two cards are dealt to the banker and two cards are dealt to the player. Values of the cards are fairly straight-forward and are determined as follows:
Ace = 1
Number cards up to 9 are worth their displayed value (3 = 3; 4 = 4; 9 = 9, etc.)
Face cards = 0 (Jack, Queen, and King)
If an 8 or 9 are dealt in the initial hand, it is called a natural hand. A score of 9 on the first two cards dealt is a perfect hand. A natural 9 beats a natural 8. A natural hand is a win. The tricky rule of baccarat is when the sum of the cards is higher than 9. If the first two cards dealt equal more than 9 when added, the second digit of the sum is considered the value of the hand. In other words, the first digit is dropped, leaving the second digit to determine the value. For instance, if the hand contains two 8’s it is worth 6, not 16. If the cards are a 6 and a 5, the value of the hand is 1 instead of 11.
The banker and the player can stand or draw, based on the value of their hand. Hands less than 4 should hit, while hands 6-9 should stand. The hand standing closest to 9 is the winning hand.
Baccarat has been known to be an important casino game, one of the most heard of at least. Even though people in North American do not play it often, more afraid of the name and look than the game itself, it is actually quite popular in Asia and getting there in Europe too. The game is actually quite simple, just a bit intimidating when you see it at first, like any other game if you do not know the basics of it.
The goal is to make a hand that adds up to nine (9), or as close as possible to nine (9) – with two (2) or three- (3) cards. Each card is the same value of its represented number, with the exception of 10, J, Q, K, which represent a zero (0), and A, which represents a one (1).
You can then bet on the player to win, the banker to win, or for a tie (which pays out more than the other choices – 9:1 usually). Simple right?
That said and done, we can now go over some baccarat strategies – although the first point to bring up is that there are no real strategies to the game, as it is a game of chance; however, there are plays, and choices you can make, which will improve your chances of winning, or at least of losing less.
Basic Baccarat Strategy
First off, since there are no real baccarat strategies to gain the edge, we can only look at choices or moves you could make to improve your chances, such as looking out for tables with single decks. Single Deck tables/games will lower the House’s edge, and hence, improve your return rates.
Betting on the tie is actually a bad idea, as the house edge on that is 5% roughly, and the probabilities, even though it has a nice payout, are too low for you to win it – not worth it if you want to extend your game on the table, and win more than you lose.
As you know the usual saying, “the house always wins”… well, considering that, and the odds, it is then better to bet on the banker more often than the players – in the long run at least, the banker/house will win the game more, and so, it is much better to bet on him/her; nevertheless, the game is supposed to be entertaining, so consider the fun factor, follow it, and stay within your budget.
There is also the Martingale System method used frequently, which is just doubling up your bet every time you lose a hand in order to cover your loses. However, this is only wise if you have enough of a budget to keep increasing the bet amount, and if the table does not have a betting limit on it too. Still, it goes against the enjoyable experience, and turns out to sit around the idea of chasing losses (not wise if you want to have fun).
Start out with these simple steps, or baccarat strategies, and you should be in good direction to fewer losses, and hopefully, more winnings. Regardless, you should practice the game, and what better way than to play baccarat now?