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Rules and Strategies for Baccarat

Perhaps the hardest thing about Baccarat is knowing how to pronounce the word. It’s "bah-caw-rah", not "back-a-rat". Baccarat is one of the easiest table game to play. It’s the most uncomplicated game there is. All you need to decide is whether to bet on "bank", "player" or "tie". (Betting "tie" is not recommended, the house edge is too high). Except for the tie bet, Baccarat has a very low house edge – 1.36 % if you bet on Player and 1.17% for bets on Banker.

While the rules may seem a bit confusing, keep in mind that there really is no need to know them precisely. It’s pretty much a game of chance, all you really have to do is decide which hand you think will win, and bet accordingly. However, knowing the basic rules will certainly help you follow what is going on, making the game a lot more enjoyable.

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. When necessary, additional cards are drawn according to the rules. The hand closest to 9 wins. 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.

If the first two cards total 8 or 9, the hand is called a "natural" and it wins automatically, unless both hands have equal value "naturals", in which case it’s a tie. If neither hand has a natural additional cards are drawn to determine a winner. 

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.

A natural of 8 points is called le petit, a total of nine, le grande.  On all other totals, 0 through 7, the drawing of an additional card depends strictly on established rules of play. There is never more than one card drawn to a hand in any case.

The player need not be familiar with the rules for drawing on the third card for the caller will direct the action and request that a third card be drawn if the rules require it. Just follow the caller's instructions - as easy as that!

The Player's hand will be acted upon first, and then the Banker's. Despite the different variations of baccarat, the third card rules for draw are consistent for games around the world.

The two card total of the Player's hand determines whether a third card should be drawn and is regulated by the following rules:

Player Rules

Two Card Total      Player's Action

    0-5                       Draw a card
    6 or 7                   Stand
    8 or 9                   Natural.   Banker cannot draw.

After the Player's hand has been acted upon, it is the Banker's turn.  Whether the Banker position receives a card depends upon two variables.  In some cases, it depends upon his two card total, and other times, it depends upon the card that the Player position has drawn.

If the Banker hand is 0, 1 or 2, a card is drawn, while with hands of 7, 8 and 9, no cards are drawn.  The other Banker totals of 3, 4, 5 and 6 are drawn upon depending upon what card the Player position has drawn.

Rules for drawing or standing can be broken up as follows.

Situation 1: Either the Player or the Banker has a natural 8 or 9.  It is an automatic win for the hand with the natural.  If both hands have naturals, the higher natural wins.  A natural 9 beats a natural 8.  If the naturals are equal, the hand is a tie.

Situation 2:  If the Player has a 0-5, Player must draw another card; if a 6-7, the Player must stand.

Situation 3: If Player stands, then Banker hand follows the same rules as the Player - it must draw on totals of 0-5, and stand on 6-7.

Situation 4: If Player draws, Banker must draw or stand according to the value of the third card dealt as shown below in the Banker Rules chart.  Note that the Banker always draws on totals of 0-2, unless of course, the Player has a natural.

Banker Rules

Banker        Bank Draws                     Bank Does Not Draw
Total           When Giving                     When Giving
                    Player This Card             Player This Card

0-2                       0-9                                          
  3                         0-7,9                                      8
  4                         2-7                                     0-1,8-9
  5                         4,5-7                                  0-3,8-9
  6                         6-7                                     0-5,8-9
  7                Banker Always Stands
8-9             A Natural - Player Can't Draw

Good thing, it's only for the dealer to remember those rules and not for the player.  For system developers, it's a challenge to come up with some kind of a card counting method, and I haven't seen a successful one.  With the above rules, that are much more complex than in Blackjack, it makes it very complicated to build such a method.  Flat Bet Mini Play deals with the resulting outcome and takes advantage of unavoidable streaks, chops and other patterns that are formed.

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 you don’t have to deal, 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.

Indeed Baccarat is one of the better casino games to play online offering a low house edge of 1%. casinoreef an online casino portal offers a number of recommended casinos to play baccarat, all of which offer the main version known as punto banco, as well as other versions such as chemin de fer.

Ready to play? Click here to choose an online casino.

The 1 – 3 – 2 – 6 Betting System for Baccarat

In the long-run, the odds favor the casino and no betting system can change that fact. But that is not to say that this systems can’t work beautifully in the short term.

What makes the 1 – 3 – 2 – 6 system attractive is that you risk only two betting units for a chance to win ten units. You can make a nice profit with a minimal investment.

The first bet is one unit, if you win, add another unit, making the second bet a total of three units. If you win the second bet, there are 6 units on the table. Remove four units, making your third bet two units. If it wins add two more units, making it a total of six units for your fourth bet. If the fourth bet wins you’ll collect a total of 12 units, of which ten units are profit!

If you lose the first bet, the loss is one unit. Assuming you win the first, but lose the second bet, your net loss is two units. If you win the second, but lose the third bet, you have a profit of two units. If you win the first three bets but lose the fourth bet, you'll break even.

If you lose the second bet five out of six times and win four consecutive bets once, you’ll be right back to even. You can also use this system for even-money betting at any other casino game.

Good Luck!

Interested in a more serious system, try Izak's Progressive Baccarat.

Want to try this system now? Play at  The Sands of the Caribbean

Click here to get your answers on some burning questions on Online Baccarat.

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