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Baccarat Rules

24 September 2020

I’ve sometime referred to baccarat among the best “no-brainer” bets in casinos. You can get a low 1.06 percent house edge when you bet on the banker hand or 1.24 percent when you bet on player, and you don’t need to know any strategy.

Two cards are dealt to the banker hand and two cards to the player hand, and all players may bet on either. Whether either hand gets a third card is up to a set of rules posted at the table. You have no options or decisions to make in playing out the hand.

Usually, I leave the game description at that. But toward the end of August, I received an email from a reader who wanted more information.

“Would you please explain the rules for hitting or standing in baccarat?” reader Ruth wrote. “I know I don’t get to choose and the dealer is just going to do what the chart says, but I’d like an idea before I go to the table.”

Here’s how it works:

Whether each hand gets a third card depends on their values. They are played out according to these rules:

  • If either hand totals 8 or 9, that is called a “natural.” Naturals stop play and both hands must stand on two cards.

  • If there is no natural, the player hand gets one more card if the first two total 5 or less, but stands on 6 or 7.

  • If the player hand stands on 6 or 7, then banker draws a third card with 5 or less, but stands on 6 or 7.

  • If the player hand draws a third card, then banker always draws with a total of 0, 1 or 2; draws with a total of 3 if player’s third card is anything but 8; draws to 4 if the player’s third card is 2 through 7; draws to 5 if player’s third card is 4 through 7; draws to 6 if player’s third card is 6 or 7; and always stands on 7.

There are no optional plays. The dealer may not vary from that strategy.


SAMPLE HANDS

Let’s try a few hands to see how this works.

  • Player is dealt 10-7, Banker is dealt 4-4: The player total is 7, with the 10 counted as 0/ The banker total is 8. That 8 total is a natural, and that stops the hand with no draws. Banker wins 8-7.

  • Player is dealt Jack-Ace, Banker is dealt 5-2. Player total is 1, with the Jack counted as 0 and the Ace as 1. The dealer total is 7. By rule, player gets a third card and banker stands on 7. Imagine the player’s third card is a 10. That adds zero to the total, so banker wins 7-1. If player’s third card had been 7 or 8, player would have won with 8 or 9, and if it had been 6, the hand would have been a tie. All other player draws would have resulted in a banker win.

  • Player is dealt 9-2, Banker is dealt 6-6. Banker leads the hand 2-1. The totals are 11 and 12, but the 10s column is disregarded in baccarat, so the 11 total is a hand of 1 and the 12 total is a hand of 2. Since player total is less than 5, a third card is dealt to player. And since banker total is 2 or less, banker gets a third card, too. Imagine the player’s third card is 3 and the banker’s is a Jack. Then player wins 4-2.


Look for John Grochowski on Facebook (http://tinyurl.com/7lzdt44) and Twitter (@GrochowskiJ).
Recent Articles
Best of John Grochowski
John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

The Craps Answer Book

> More Books By John Grochowski

John Grochowski
John Grochowski is the best-selling author of The Craps Answer Book, The Slot Machine Answer Book and The Video Poker Answer Book. His weekly column is syndicated to newspapers and Web sites, and he contributes to many of the major magazines and newspapers in the gaming field, including Midwest Gaming and Travel, Slot Manager, Casino Journal, Strictly Slots and Casino Player.

Listen to John Grochowski's "Casino Answer Man" tips Tuesday through Friday at 5:18 p.m. on WLS-AM (890) in Chicago. Look for John Grochowski on Facebook and Twitter @GrochowskiJ.

John Grochowski Websites:

www.casinoanswerman.com

Books by John Grochowski:

Winning Tips for Casino Games

> More Books By John Grochowski