Baccarat Basics

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One of the more interesting games in any casino is Baccarat. Often considered the game of “whales” – the biggest player in a casino – it is very popular with big players.

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On the surface, it seems confusing, but baccarat is an easy game to learn. The basic rules are simple; suits mean nothing in this game (like blackjack). Card values are based solely on the numbers.

Aces are worth one point, cards 2-9 are worth face value, and 10s and paint (or face cards – K, Q, J) are worth 0 points. The combined value of the cards without going above 10 is the player’s score. The best possible score is 9; the lowest is 10, which is actually zero. If a player’s hand value goes over 10, the actual score is the combination minus 10. For example, if a player has 8 and 7, the hand value is 5 (15 minus 10). A Queen and a 4 would equal 4, since the value of the queen is zero.

In baccarat, you are not playing the house or the dealer; you are playing against the other cards. Each player gets to hold the Bank as long as it wins, but there is no real advantage to holding the bank. There is also a player and a tie.

There are no player decisions in terms of the cards; baccarat has strict rules for when you can take additional cards. Winning or losing depends on the betting options. The ideal result is a “natural,” which is a natural 8 or 9 on the initial deal, when each player gets two cards.

In a real casino, a baccarat table is large and rectangular – roughly the size of a craps table.

Conceptually, baccarat is similar to blackjack. The house edge on the game is smaller than most casino games, giving the player more of a fair chance.

This helped make baccarat a game for the richest and most elite of the casino for a long time. Casinos eventually began to reach out to the average player with mini-baccarat, and the game has been popular with a wide variety of players ever since.

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