The basics and how to play baccarat
Baccarat or Punto Banco is usually played in a
separate casino area. The playing table is about the size of a
craps table with three casino dealers and up to 12 or 14
There are just two principal bets to make: banker or
player - Banco or Punto, plus the rarely
used Standoff. Some casinos let the players deal the
cards in turn and others have a casino dealer to deal the cards.
In online Baccarat the cards are dealt automatically by a
Each player, including the player dealing, may bet on either
Punto or Banco but it is customary for the dealer to bet on
Banco. Players may opt not to deal, passing the 'Shoe' to
the next player. The shoe remains with one player as long as the
Bank wins. If Punto wins, the shoe passes on to the next player.
Two hands are dealt and you bet which one will
win, or that they will tie. It is just like betting on Black or
Red at roulette, and the payoff is even money, 1:1
(except for the standoff, which pays 8-1 or 9-1). The only
difference between the Banco and Punto bet is a win on Banco
will cost you 5% commission or tax levied by the casino - the
The reason for taxing the Banco is because it has been
established that over an 8-deck cards play on average the Banco
will win three to four hands more than the Punto.
Each hand consists of a minimum of two and a maximum of three
cards. The person dealing will put two cards, face down, tucked
under the shoe, and give the player with the largest bet
on Punto the other two cards, face down.
The Punto player then looks at the cards and gives them back
to the player who is dealing. Then the player who is dealing
will turn over the cards of both hands while one of the
casino dealers will announce the results and the winner.
If either hand has a total of 8 or 9 (nine is the highest),
then it is called a 'Natural' and no more cards are dealt. If it
is not a natural, then depending on the value of each hand the
casino dealer may instruct the card dealer to deal a third card.
The decision when to deal a third card follows precise
set rules used by all casinos.
Once dealing is completed, the hand with the highest count
wins. The paying casino dealers will collect the losing bets
first and then pay the winning ones. The player who actually
deals the cards is not responsible for the payouts. He is just
like any other player, playing against the casino.
Baccarat is played from a six-deck or an
eight-deck shoe. All face cards and 10s have no value. Cards
less than 10 are counted at face value, Aces are worth 1.
Suits don't matter. Only single digit values are valid. Any
count that reaches a double digit drops the left digit. 15 is
counted as 5 and 25 is also counted as 5.
To start, the players bet either on Banco or Punto or
Standoff. The card dealer gives two cards each; first to the
player and then the banker. The object of the game is to bet on
the hand that you think will have the highest total value.
A third card may be dealt to either or both the player
(Punto) and the bank (Banco) based on the following
three-card-rules. It is not necessary to learn these rules
to play, they are compulsory decisions and therefore automatic.
Only on rare occasions a mistake is made:
- If either the player or the bank have a total of 8 or 9 on
the first two cards no further cards are drawn. The resulting
hand is called a natural and the hand is over.
- If the player's total is less than or equal to 5 the
player's hand draws a third card.
- If the player does not draw a third card, then the bank's
hand stands on 6 or more and takes a third card on a total of
5 or less. If the player does take a third card then the
Bank's third-card-rule below will determine if the bank takes
a third card.
- If the bank's total is 2 or less then bank draws a card,
regardless of what the players third card is.
- If the banks total is 3 then the bank draws a third card
unless the players third card was an 8.
- If the banks total is 4 then the bank draws a third card
unless the players third card was a 0, 1, 8, or 9.
- If the banks total is 5 then the bank draws a third card
if the players third card was 4, 5, 6, or 7.
- If the banks total is 6 then the bank draws a third card
if the players third card was a 6 or 7.
- If the banks total is 7 then the bank stands.
Banker (Banco) 1.17%
Player (Punto) 1.36%
Tie (Standoff) 14.12% at 8:1 payout