Baccarat, a French card game, involves a banker, or dealer, and two players, or “punters.” It resembles the card game blackjack, in which players bet against the house according to the totaled amount of the cards they hold. Working with eight-deck “shoes,” the banker deals to each player at the baccarat table (maximum of fifteen) an equal number of cards.
A gambler’s goal in baccarat is to receive from the dealer a hand that equals nine or a number as close to nine as possible. In order to win the jackpot, a player must also beat the dealer’s hand.
Face cards and tens count as zero, while all other card counts correlate with their numbers. For example, a hand with a four and five is equal to nine. A card count of nine, or a “natural,” is analogous to a twenty-one in blackjack. If the card count is greater than nine, scoring deducts ten from the total. For example, if a player holds an eight and a nine, for a card count of seventeen, scoring deducts ten deducted from the seventeen, leaving the player with a seven.
Players who possess hands totaling five or less must hit. Anything over that and the player “stands.” The dealer (banker) thus hits on five or less, with the goal of beating the player.
Chemin de Fer
Chemin-de-fer, a variation of baccarat, has gained popularity in France. With this version, the house risks nothing. Instead, up to ten players bet against each other.
Canada, Australia, Sweden and North America enjoy American baccarat, also known as punto banco, in which the dealer works exclusively with an eight-deck shoe.
Possibly the most popular of all other baccarat games, mini-baccarat does not use the number thirteen during game play. People who harbor a fear of the number thirteen usually prefer this game. In mini-baccarat, tables of fewer players play against odds that are the same as regular baccarat. Occasionally using a six-deck shoe, mini baccarat is the most common type of baccarat in online casinos.
Baccarat en Banque
The least frequently used form of the game, Baccarat en Banque, uses three decks of cards per shoe instead of eight.
To win at baccarat, you must successfully predict which hand, yours or the dealer’s, is closest to the “natural,” or point count of nine. If you think the point counts are equal, you can bet the tie as well. A tie receives the highest payout of all bets.