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Basic Baccarat Play

Baccarat is played with 10 or more decks of cards. These decks are shuffled by the caller, cut by a player, and placed in a shoe. Cutting the deck consists of inserting a cut card, usually near the end of the combined decks. This cut card is used to indicate the last hand. The shoe is then passed to a player at the first seat; this player becomes the banker, although he may bet either hand. In Baccarat, each time the bank hand loses, the shoe moves around the table in a counterclockwise rotation. At the start of or completion of a hand the player who becomes or is the banker may elect to pass the bank, but to be able to deal, the banker must have at a minimum bet on the table in either position. In online baccarat the banking position does not move around the table. This is the only major difference between online baccarat and casino baccarat.

After all wagers are placed, the banker deals out four cards, face down, first to the caller, who slides the cards to a player (traditionally the largest bettor for that hand), and second to himself, sliding these banker’s card under a corner of the shoe. At this point the player turns over his cards and tosses them to the caller. The caller then announces the total of the player’s hand. Next, the banker uncovers their two cards, and the croupier calls out the hands value. The four suits have no meaning in Baccarat. A decision for the hand may have been reached with just these four cards. Tens and face cards count zero; all other cards count their point value. If the hand totals more than 9, the left digit is disregarded, therefore a 14 becomes a 4. This also means that unlike in blackjack, in baccarat no hand can bust. Totals of 8 or 9 are naturals, and automatic winners, although a natural 9 beats a natural 8. No additional cards are dealt if the player hand adds up to 6, 7, 8, or 9, or if the banker hand totals 7, 8, or 9. The hand that comes closest to a total of 9 wins and all bets are settled. Ties are a push and no money is exchanged. In baccarat Players are free to change their bets as they choose. This means that the next hand they can bet on either the player hand or the banker hand. Previous bets have no influence.

Rules for Player’s Hand
In Baccarat if the player has to stand on the initial two cards based on rule requirements the caller announces, “Player stands with (point total).” But if the player must draw, the croupier calls, “Card for the player.” Only after this announcement does the banker deal a card face up to the croupier, who places it next to the first two cards as he announces the new total. The decisions for the player’s hand are easy to learn. If the initial cards total 5 or less, only one card is drawn; otherwise the hand stands. When the player hand is completed, the procedure for completing the banker hand is the same; however the rules for drawing or standing are a little more complicated. Although it isn't necessary to know the drawing rules for baccarat, knowing why and when cards are drawn to your hand will make your online baccarat experience enjoyable.

Rules for Banker’s Hand
Except when the initial cards total 2 or less, which always require a draw, the decisions for the banker hand will vary depending on the player’s third card. Like with the player hand, only one card may be drawn, and it’s always taken if the banker’s hand totals:

3 and the player stands or draws 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 or 10.
4 and the player stands or draws 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7
5 and the player stands or draws 4, 5, 6, or 7
6 and the players draws 6 or 7. The banker must stand if the player stands.

You will notice that the rules can require the banker to draw even when his first two cards beat the player’s final hand, and a third card can cause the banker’s hand to lose. When both hands are concluded, the caller declares the winner, announcing the point total for each hand.

Typically in baccarat the casino will asses a commission on all winning bets on the banker. This commision is assesed in both online baccarat and casino baccarat. This means that the house advantage on either hand is about the same: 1.06 percent on the banker versus 1.23 percent on the player. The casino pays even money on all bets, which amounts to an overpayment on winning banker bets. The dealers will keep track of your commissions by placing tokens in your numbered commission box in front of them each time you bet and win on the banker’s hand. The will dealers collect the accumulated commissions while the cards are being shuffled for the next round. Before you leave the baccarat table during a shoe you must pay your commission. Always be aware of your commission, and never bet your last chip before settling up this debt to the casino.

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