A Thorough Guide to Baccarat Rules

Players who want to know how to play baccarat should be sure to first have a firm grasp of the basic rules and strategies that apply to the game. The following is a baccarat rules guide that will help players boost their confidence, whether they are playing in person, online, or on a mobile device.

Basic Rules

When playing baccarat, players do not have to make multiple decisions throughout the course of the game. Rather, they only need to determine whether or not the player or the banker will win the hand or if the hand will result in a tie. Of course, this is a guess in most cases and players should understand that gameplay always progresses according to house rules. This is different than games like poker or blackjack in which the player must actively participate in making choices.

Game Objective

The player will need to decide whether the banker or the player will have a hand that totals nine or as close to nine as possible without going over. The card values will be the same universally, but the individual baccarat rules that pertain to the house (which can often be quite complex) determine whether or not any player needs to take a third card. For this reason, the player does not have to decide whether he or she wants another card. The house makes this determination.

Card Values and Scoring

In the game of baccarat, tens through Kings are valued at zero and do not add to the score of a hand. Numbered cards are valued at the numbers on their faces and Aces are always worth one point. A five is worth five points; a two is worth two. In the event that a hand is valued at more than 10 points, 10 points are subtracted from the total. As an example, if the total of a hand is 13, then the value of the hand is actually only three. This is the value that will be considered.

Gameplay Progression

The person who is acting as the banker--usually the house--deals two cards to him or herself and two cards to the player. The gambler is never considered the 'player'; this is always represented by a specific place on the table. All of the bettors are wagering on that single hand, and there may be as many as five or more bettors at any table. Each of the bettors will guess which hand will be the best baccarat hand or they can place a bet on a tie, which simply means that the bettor believes that both hands will be of equal value.

Comparing Hands

After the hands have been dealt and all of the different wagers have been placed, the two hands will be compared to determine their values. If either hand totals eight or nine off the bat, then that hand wins and all of the bettors who wagered on that hand wins. However, if neither hand totals eight or nine, then a third card may be provided according to the baccarat rules of the house. For the player, hands valued zero through five require an additional card; those valued at six or seven must stand. For the banker, the rules for the third card vary based upon the both the player's and the banker's hand value.

Things to Consider

The game of baccarat can change in an instant with the third card. Let's say that the player has a total score of five and the banker has a score of six. In this case, each hand gets a third card. If the player gets a 10 or a face card, the score won't change at all because 10 points will be subtracted. However, if the player gets a seven, then the end score will only be two after the 10 points are subtracted. The player will need to draw a four in order to get a total of nine points here.