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Baccarat might be described as the red-headed stepchild of casino table games. Although available at most online and mobile casinos, it is nowhere near as popular as slots, Poker or Blackjack. This is hard to fathom, as the most common version of Baccarat, Punto Banco, is the simplest. It’s as easy to play as Blackjack, with a similar chance of winning through pure luck.
Luck Wins At Punto Banco
Each round of Punto Banco is called a coup and involves two hands: the banker and the player. The banker is always the house, but both the player and others at the table can bet on either hand. A winning bet on the player usually pays 1:1, while a winning banker bet pays 20:19, with 5% going to the house. You can also bet on a draw between the two hands, which pays 8:1, or 9:1 in most casinos.
Cards are valued as 1 for the Ace, face value for 2 to 9, and 10, J, Q and K counting as 0. The two cards in each hand are added, and the result is the value of the hand. If the total is 10 or more, only the unit digit on the right is used. So, a 5 and A is a hand worth 6, for an example, while a 7 and 6 totals 13, for a value of 3.
However, Punto Banco plays according to automatic rules, depending on the opening cards dealt, so the player has no input after the initial bet. Thus, this form of Baccarat is purely a matter of luck, whether you bet on the player or the bank.
Punto Banco Scoring
The hand closest to 9 wins a Baccarat coup. If either player or banker is dealt two cards totalling 8 or 9, the coup ends there: either in a win or a draw. Just like when you play online Blackjack games, this game is a card comparing one.
If neither hand is worth 8 or 9, the next play is determined by the player’s hand. On 6 or 7, the player stands. With a total between 0 and 5, the player draws another card. If the player stands, the banker’s hand is then played according to the same rules: banker stands on 6 or 7 but draws a third card if they have 0 to 5.
If the player drew a third card however, the banker’s response depends on more complex rules. With a total of 2 or less, the banker must draw a card. With a total of 3, the banker draws a card unless the player’s third card was an 8. With 4, the banker draws if the player’s third card was 2 to 7. On 5, the banker draws if the player’s third card was 4 to 7, and holding 6, the banker only draws if the player’s third card was a 6 or 7. If the banker has 7, they stand.
Some Variants Reward Skill
More complex versions of the game like Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque can be affected by the skill of players, not blind fortune. Thus, like Blackjack and Poker, Baccarat can be played for low stakes until you understand the gameplay and odds instinctively, but it also has variants that can be a reliable money maker for dedicated card players with specialised skills.