How to play Baccarat

Up to this day, baccarat is still considered by many players from all around the world a card game conceived for the aristocracy. In its early days, baccarat went by the name Punto Banco, and before that, Semen de Fer. Starting with the 70s, the game’s popularity began registering a massive boost mostly due to the James Bond movies that had the world’s greatest spy humiliating his enemies each time he stepped foot in a Casino and conquering the Bond girls’ hearts while at it. It’s safe to say that a lot of people learned how to play baccarat following 007.

At its core, baccarat is pretty simple in terms of rules, and the baccarat odds of winning are higher than for any other table game. The current guide will teach you the basics of how to play baccarat, some of the easiest and most popular betting ways, and of course, the best baccarat winning strategy. 

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How is Baccarat Played

If you’re wondering how many decks in baccarat, the game formerly known as Semen de Fer can be played with six standard 52-card decks. What separates it from any other card game is that the bets are placed before dealing the cards. Each player gets two cards, and the dealer will hand out two more cards to the Bank. The player’s goal is to guess who will win the hand, himself, the Bank, or neither, due to a draw. 

Baccarat Cards Values

All cards involved in the game will maintain their normal numeric value, aside from 10, J, and Q. Each of these three cards is worth zero points, and unlike in other popular games, the Aces do not carry any particular value – they all represent one point. 

How to Win Baccarat

As previously mentioned, there are only three possible outcomes in the game of baccarat. It’s either the Player who will win the hand, the Bank, or the hand will end in a draw. The closest cards to 9 win the game, so each baccarat winnings strategy revolves around this. Another important thing to keep in mind while learning baccarat how to play and win is the fact that the Player does not bet against the Dealer, it’s the Bank he has to beat. So, how does this work exactly? Before the Dealer hands out the cards, you need to pick the winner of the hand, out of these three outcomes. Each outcome has different winning odds, so if you bet on the Player and win, your stake will be doubled. The Draw holds very high baccarat odds of winning, 8:1. Lastly, if you bet on the Bank to win the hand, you will get approximately 1:1, due to the Casino’s 5% commission. As for the eventuality in which you placed a bet on either the Bank or the Player and the hand ends in a draw, your stake will be refunded.

What if the Result Isn’t 9?

There are two logical possibilities in case the sum of the two cards is not 9. The value will be either higher or lower than the target of the game. If we’re talking 10 or higher, then we need to subtract 10, leaving you with the remaining value as the result. Simply put, you cut out the 1, and play the hand with the second number.

However, if the sum is lower than 9, we have three different possibilities. If either the Player or the Bank have 8 in total, no other cards will be dealt. If the Player sums up 5 or 6, he will also not be dealt another card. If the sum is less than 5, then another card will be dealt. 

If the Bank will sum up less than 9, the situation is a bit trickier. If the total value of the Bank’s cards is 6 or less, another card will be dealt almost everything, except for the following scenarios: 

  • Bank sums up 3, Player sums 8 or 9
  • Bank sums up 4, Player sums 0, 1, 8, or 9
  • Bank sums up 5, Player sums 0, 1, 2, 3, 8, or 9
  • Bank sums up 6, Player sums 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, or 9

Baccarat Winning Formula

The most popular baccarat winning strategy is that of betting on the Bank. If you consider that out of 52 cards, 20 will have 0 value, you will realize that the Bank has a slight edge. As for more simple strategies, there’s the 1-3-2-4 baccarat winning formula. Devised by Fortune Palace back in 2006, the 1-3-2-4 system represents the number of units to bet on four consecutive hands. If the first bet wins, you just have to move to the next number of units with your next one. 

What is Edge Sorting?

Unlike the previous two betting methods, Edge Sorting is by far the most advanced system of winning at cards. It does require keen attention to details, and great memory capacity, but the results can also be far more profitable. Land-based Casinos can easily spot it and ban players, while you can’t use it to play baccarat online. Why? Because this baccarat winning strategy relies on spotting minuscule patterns on the bottom of the cards and using this to your advantage. Some might find it hard to believe, but this is how pro poker player Phil Ivey walked out with $7.5 million from the Bogata Casino in 2018, only to be later actioned in court for having used this strategy to his advantage. 

Baccarat Variations

Much like with any other popular card game out there, there are several variations of baccarat. Following the trend set by blackjack and roulette, you will likely find versions called European, or American, High or Low Stakes, VIP or Classic. Here are the most popular baccarat variations of the moment: 

European Baccarat

This is the simplest baccarat variation possible that follows the basic rules without adding any additional confusing features to the game. It was first introduced in England, and it revolves around a 5% commission in case of winning bets on the Bank.

American Baccarat

This has to be the most popular variation of baccarat worldwide, as it allows a total of 15 players to participate in the game. Not only this, but the Player can replace the Dealer, and thus, gain a lead over other participants.

Chemin de Fer

Much like the name suggests, this is the oldest baccarat variation that is still being played nowadays. It’s an easy, fast, and somewhat low stake game, revolving around lower betting limits, and similar rules to American Baccarat. 

Punto Banco

This version is also quite similar to the American one, with straightforward and basic rules but with a different table layout. The game terminology also differs in Punto Banco, but it’s fairly easy to apprehend, and it shouldn’t pose any difficulties to players that are familiar with the game.

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