# Baccarat

Baccarat is a casino game that has one of the lowest advantages over the player if the player focuses on two of the three bets available. The game allows you to bet on which of two hands – assigned to Player or Banker – will win, or whether they will in fact be drawn. Whilst the bet on the draw is to be avoided because it gives the house an edge of at least 14%, the bets on the Player or Banker give the house an edge of just 1.24% and 1.06% respectively.

You choose to bet on Player, Banker or the Draw and put up your stake. Two cards are then dealt to the Player and two to the Banker. The hand with the closest value to 9 is deemed the winner, with card values being assigned as follows:

- Aces are given a value of 1
- Picture cards are given a value of 10
- Other cards retain their face value

When the game of baccarat starts, two cards are dealt to both the Player and the Banker. Hands that total more than 9 and recalculated by ignoring the first digit. For example, if the Player is deal a 7 and an 8, the hand will total 5 (7 + 8 = 15 with first digit ignored). Once the first two cards have been dealt and hand totals calculated, play proceeds as follows:

- If the Player’s hand or the Banker’s hand total is 8 or 9 then both hands stand. The hand with the total nearest to 9 wins the game.

- If the Player and the Banker both have the same hand total then the game is a draw.

- If the Player has 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 then the Player is dealt a third card.

- If the Player has 6 or 7 then the Player must stand on that total.

Attention is now turned to the Banker, who may receive a third card or stand, according to the following rules:

**If the Player had to stand on a two-card total, then:**

- If the Banker has 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 then the Banker is dealt a third card.
- If the Banker has 6 or 7 then the Banker must stand on that total.

**If the Player received a third card which was a 2 or a 3, then:**

- If the Banker has 0, 1, 2, 3 or 4 then the Banker is dealt a third card.
- If the Banker has 5, 6 or 7 then the Banker must stand on that total.

**If the Player received a third card which was a 4 or a 5, then:**

- If the Banker has 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 then the Banker is dealt a third card.
- If the Banker has 6 or 7 then the Banker must stand on that total.

**If the Player received a third card which was a 6 or a 7, then:**

- If the Banker has 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 then the Banker is dealt a third card.
- If the Banker has 7 then the Banker must stand on that total.

**If the Player received a third card which was an 8, then:**

- If the Banker has 0, 1 or 2 the Banker is dealt a third card.
- If the Banker has 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 then the Banker must stand on that total.

**If the Player received any other third card then:**

- If the Banker has 0, 1, 2 or 3 then the Banker is dealt a third card.
- If the Banker has 4, 5, 6 or 7 then the Banker must stand on that total.

This list of rules is lengthy, but that’s only because we have just covered every possible eventuality. The principles of baccarat are actually very simple, and if you play for half an hour or so then you should be able to get a handle on the game without a problem.

**Beating Baccarat**

The best way of winning at baccarat is to focus on the Player and Banker bets whilst avoiding the Draw bet (with its huge 14% house edge) like the plague. Some players favour the Banker bet over the Player bet because it has a lower house edge (1.06% to 1.24%) and if you want to play by the numbers then this would seem to be a good idea despite the Banker bet attracting a small commission.

Adopting the same kind of strategy that you might use on even money shot in other casino games (for betting on red or black in roulette or pass and don’t pass in craps, for example) is worth considering. For example, you bet on the Banker and use a staking progression of 1, 2, 3, 6, stopping after a winner or after four consecutive losing hands. This would cost you a total of 12 points if you have four losing bets in a row, but would give you an overall profit of 1 point if either of the first two hands wins and give you a break even situation if the third or fourth hands wins.

An equally sensible approach to the game is to stick with level stakes and to stop betting as soon as you make five points profit or suffer a five point loss.