The Game of Baccarat
There are tons of casino games out there, and players can choose anything from slots to table games, dice games, and card games. Poker, blackjack, and baccarat are among the most popular games available, and they all come with their own set of rules for players or potential players to learn, practise, and master.
Baccarat, while perhaps not as well-known as poker and blackjack, is still tremendously popular in the casino world, and there are different versions of the game that may be played. These are Punto Banco, the American version of baccarat, as well as Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque. The latter two are the more historic versions of the game and allow for greater player decision-making, but it is Punto Banco, the American version, that is the most popular game of baccarat in casinos today.
How To Play Baccarat
As mentioned, baccarat is a card game, and it is one where players hold a hand of either two or three cards. All of the versions of baccarat are quite similar, but it is in the dealing of the third card that one finds the difference between the popular Punto Banco and the more historic Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque.
The objective of the game is to end up with hand value that equals or comes closest to nine. General cards are taken at their face value, while royals are valued at zero, and the aces are valued at eleven. To get to the final hand value, all the values of the cards in hand are added, and then the tens figure is deleted, that is, only the rightmost number will count. While this might be a little complicated for beginner players, the dealer or online software will always do the calculations and present the final hand value, so players can concentrate purely on the game.
If a player has a hand value of eight or nine, while only holding two cards, this is a win. If the value is zero, that player will lose. Baccarat may literally be translated as ‘zero’, and this, of course, is what one will try to avoid. If the player has a hand value that lies between zero and eight, a third card may or may not be drawn, depending on the type of baccarat being played.
That Elusive Third Card
As mentioned, the addition of the third card is dependent on what type of baccarat is being played. In Punto Banco this is pre-determined according to a set of rules, while in Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque the decision is ultimately up to the player. This is why these historic versions of the game are seen as more skill-based than Punto Banco, as they allow for greater player decision-making, which will affect the outcome of the game.
In Punto Banco, as said, the drawing of the third card is pre-set according to the game’s rules. If the player holds a hand value of between zero and five, then a third card has to be drawn to continue playing and try and come closest to the value of nine. If the player holds a hand value of six or seven, then no third card will be drawn and only those two cards will count towards the final hand value. As before, if the player has a hand value of eight or nine, this is a win, and if the hand value is zero, this is a loss. In better terms, this is baccarat.