The object of baccarat is to hold a hand with a point value closest to 9. Aces count as one; 2 through 9 as their face value; tens and face cards count as zero. If the value of the hand is ten points or more, subtract ten, and the remainder is the baccarat point value of the hand. For example: 7+4=14, subtract 10 for a point value of 4 for that hand. The game pits two hands against each other; the ‘player’ and the ‘banker’. Don’t be fooled; betting on the ‘player’ doesn’t mean you actually are the player. The ‘player’ is just the opposing hand to the ‘banker’.

You place your wager on the banker’s hand and/or on the player’s hand and/or on a tie. The player and the banker are then each dealt a two-card hand. Then, depending on those two cards, the player and/or banker may draw a third card. If either the player and/or the banker has a total of 8 or 9, they both stand and the game is over. If not, the rules on what hands get an additional card are already pre-determined, so all you have to do is sit back and watch (or pray, depending on how big your bet is).

The ‘player’s’ hand is the first to act. Here are the rules for the ‘player’.

* If dealt a hand with a point value of 6 or higher, the player stands (for instance a deuce and a four, or a three and a six, a queen and a seven, etc)

* If dealt a hand with a point value of 5 or lower the player takes one additional card.

The rules for the banker are a little more complicated. If you never really commit them to memory don’t worry- 90% of your fellow baccarat player’s are in the same boat. Here are the rules for the ‘banker’.

* If the player stands, the banker hits on a total of five or less.

* If the banker has a total of eight or nine he stands no matter what.

The player closest to 9 at the end, wins.
If you bet on the player and the player wins, you are paid 2 to 1 winnings on your bet.
If you bet on the banker and the banker wins, you are paid 2 to 1 minus 5% bank commission.
If both the player’s hand and the banker’s hand have equal totals, the game result is a ‘tie’. If you have placed a bet on the ‘tie’ field, your payoff is 9 to 1.

By J Finney
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