Baccarat For Fun

If ever there was a game that conjures up visions of rich players in rich evening attire gambling for rich bets it is baccarat. There are three common variants of the game but Punto Banco is the most popular variation found in North American casinos. A regular baccarat table is about the size of a craps table, is staffed by three casino dealers and can host about a dozen players.

Play revolves around to hands dealt for the ‘Banker’ and the ‘Player’. These names are titles for the dealt hands only and there is no real banker or specific player. Players place their bets on which hand they think will win. Hand scores are calculated by taking the face value for all cards worth less than ten, one for an ace and zero for tens and face cards. The value of hand is the total of the cards value but if it comes to more than ten you drop the first digit. For example, 8-ace-jack is worth 8 plus 1 plus zero = 9. But 9-5-5 is also worth 9 (9+5+5 = 19, drop the first digit = 9). The card suit makes no difference to value of the cards.

Players take it in turn to act as ‘dealer’ although this only involves turning over the cards. A player usually continues to act as dealer as long as the ‘banker’ keeps winning. The dealer starts by dealing two cards face down for the ‘banker’ and another two cards for the ‘player’. Depending on the totals the casino dealers may instruct the ‘dealer’ to deal another card. With all cards dealt winning wagers are paid out or losses collected.

A third card may be dealt to either the ‘player’ or the ‘banker’ depending on the following rules.

If either the Player or the Banker has 8 or 9 no further cards are drawn. If the Player has a total of 0-5, the Player hits a single card but stands on 6-7.If the Player did not hit, the Banker hits if he has 0-5, and stands on 6-7.If the Player drew a 2 or 3, the Banker hits if he has 0-4, and stands on 5-7.If the Player drew a 4 or 5, the Banker hits if he has 0-5, and stands on 6-7.If the Player drew a 6 or 7, the Banker hits if he has 0-6, and stands on 7.If the Player drew an 8, the Banker hits if he has 0-2, and stands on 3-7.If the Player drew an ace, 9, 10, or face-card, the Banker hits if he has 0-3, and stands on 4-7.

Essentially a game of chance, what it lacks in skill it makes up for in the size of the bets involved. In many casinos the minimum bet can start at $25 and dedicated players often wager hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a single game that gives baccarat its exotic atmosphere.

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