When we think of any card game, we generally think of either a game of strategy (such as poker or blackjack) or player courage and skill (as indeed poker is).
This is not the case with Baccarat. Although it is played with cards, it is more like a simple game of pure chance and luck.
However, this does not make it any less entertaining or exciting.
The essence of Baccarat is to guess which will be the winner of two hands. It is that simple.
There is also a third option that is to bet on a tie between these two hands. This is the most risky one, but then again, it also has the highest payout.
Baccarat tables have a section for a “Player”, another one for “the Banker”, and on for a “Tie”.
The dealer gives out two cards for each of these two hands, which are marked in the table. Unlike Blackjack, “Player” and “Banker” aren’t rivals in the game.
Those names suggest that the aim of Baccarat is to beat the house, but this is not really the case.
The dealer simply hands out the cards and he is not your opponent in this game, in the same way as the dealer who spins the ball in the roulette isn’t your rival either.
Rather, he’s more like a director who handles the game and pays the players who win in each round. You should think of Baccarat as something similar to the roulette, where you must guess a number or a color.
The winning hand is the one which sums up 9 points or gets as close as possible to that number.
If, for example, “the Player” has 7 points and “the Banker” only 5, you win if you have previously placed your wager in “Player” box. Otherwise, you lose.
The same applies in the other way, when the “Banker” is the winner and the one you had bet on.
Card values are as follow: numbers sum up their numeric value from 2 up to 9, while Aces are worth one point.
Cards numbered 10 and higher have no value at all (they sum zero).
When the sum of all the cards in a hand turns out to be a two digit number, like 16 for example, 10 is always subtracted, so that in the end the total points of that hand is 6.
When in the first two cards a value of 8 or 9 points is obtained, that hand is called a “natural”, no more cards are dealt and the hand ends.
You win if you placed your wager in the box which got a natural.
Some effort is required to learn the complete set of rules which allow the dealer to continue drawing cards or to stand, but you don´t need to know them all to begin playing Baccarat.
The croupier knows them clearly and it is he who will carry on or not.
As a Baccarat player, you are only responsible of making the choice of which hand is going to be the winning hand –or if there will be a tie between them-, and place your bet in the box of your choice (banker, player, or tie).
And of course you will also have to choose how much money you want to gamble.