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Rules for Baccarat

Baccarat is one of the easiest table games 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.

The basic rules of Baccarat

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 essential, 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 drop. 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 instinctively, unless both hands have equal value "naturals", in which case it’s a tie. If neither hand has a normal 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 recognized 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. Regardless of the different variation 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 synchronized by the following 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.
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