Baccarat is a casino game with relatively intricate rules, but with no peculiar skills required on the part of the player. On one hand, this constitutes an advantage, because it means that anyone can play baccarat, without getting stuck on the wrong end of the odds.
On the other hand, it also means there’s not much one can do to better his/her own odds. Baccarat is a classic casino game. In a live casino setting, a craps-table size area is usually reserved for baccarat, where 3 casino dealers and up to 14 players can engage in the game.
The options available to players are few: they can bet on either the player (punto) or the banker (banco). The players themselves will deal in some of the casinos. When the players act as dealers, the shoe stays with the player every time the banker wins.
As soon as the player wins, the shoe moves on to the next player. Players have the option to pass the shoe on without becoming dealers. Two hands are dealt, one for the banker and one for the player. What people are essentially betting on is which of these two hands will end up winning.
It is customary for the house to bet on banker. Players can also bet on whether or not the two hands will tie. The payout on normal Punto or Banco bets is 1:1.
The standoff (which is essentially a tie) carries 8:1 or 9:1 payouts. In most casinos in order to keep the house edge going, a 5% tax will be levied on banker bets. The reason for this extra commission is that it has been proven in the case of an eight-deck baccarat game that the banker will win about 4 to 5 hands more than the player.
The aim of the tax is to allow the House to retain its edge in the game. Hand values in Baccarat are rather peculiar. The 10 and the face cards have no value.
All the other cards are counted at face value. If a player’s total exceeds 10, going into double digits, then the first digit of his total will be simply dropped. Therefore 14 will be counted as four and 25 will be counted as five. The hand with the higher value wins.
Both the player and the dealer get two card hands. A third card may be dealt as well if called for by the rules. Players do not have to learn these rules by heart because they're all automatic decisions. Just about the only winning baccarat strategy is to avoid betting on the standoff.
The various house edge percentages on the different bets tell the story entirely. By betting on the banker, players will go up against a house edge of 1.17%. By betting on the player, this house edge will be 1.36%. By far the biggest house edge is on the standoff bets.
The massive 14.12% should be enough to deter you from placing such a bet. In conclusion, banker bets are the best choices for players even with the 5% tax factored in. In online baccarat games, the dealing is done automatically by the software.
The house edge percentages should be the same online as well. If you intend to become a knowledgeable baccarat player, you can learn the third card rules for the banker and the player, but mind you: such knowledge will only be academic in nature and it will not help you better your odds in any way.
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