Let´s sit at the green table and play Punto Banco baccarat.
Source: screenshot of baccarat from www.online-casino.com
In the case of Punto Banco we can further distinguish two types - one with a large table and one with a smaller table. The large table format may have up to 14 players at any one time; the cards are shuffled by the dealer and handed out by individual players, taking turns clockwise. However, in almost all online versions of the game, you will be playing at a small table, where all aspects of the game like shuffling and dealing the cards, will be handled by the casino itself. Your only task is to place your bets.
First of all, it is necessary to explain the value of the cards. An ace is worth one point. Cards 2-9 are worth their face value. The Tens, Jacks (J), Queens (Q) and Kings (K) have the value of zero. In all cases, the colour of the card is of no importance.
The game is played either with six or eight decks of cards mixed together, of course, without any jokers. The odds of winning are very similar in both cases, with only a small difference measured in a thousandths of one percent. Therefore the further analysis here will deal solely with the eight decks version that predominates in online casinos.
The game itself is initiated by placing bets. You can bet on either the banker – Banco, on the player - Punto or on a tie - Tie. You place a bet before your first card has been turned face up. The result of the game thus depends purely on chance, so Baccarat is very similar to throwing a dice or spinning the ball in roulette.
After all bets have been placed, two cards are dealt to both the player and the banker. The winner is the one who has a score of 8 or 9. This state is called "natural" while having a score of 9 is more than 8, and a tie is possible as well. If the player or the banker holds cards with a total that exceeds nine, then the last digit of this total is taken into account. Thus for example, 8 + 2 = 10, the resulting value is 0, or for example 5 + 7 = 12, leaving 2 as the value of this hand.
In case neither the Player nor the Banker are dealt a "natural hand", with a total of 8 or 9 for the first two cards, a third card can be dealt under strict conditions. These rules are the only complicated part of the game. There is no great need to learn these conditions as they are automatically implemented by the casino, but it is still good to have some understanding of them:
- If the player has an initial total of 6 or 7, he stands. The banker then draws a third card, but only if he has an initial total of 0-5
- If the player has an initial total of 0-5, he draws a third card
If the player draws a third card, the banker will also draw a third card. This depends on the value of the player's third card and the initial total for the banker:
- if the banker's total is 0,1 or 2, then the banker always draws a card
- if the banker's total is 3, then the banker draws a third card, unless the player's third card was an 8
- if the banker's total is 4, then the banker draws a third card, unless the player's third card was 0, 1, 8, 9
- if the banker's total is 5, then the banker draws a third card, if the player's third card was 4, 5, 6, or 7
- if the banker's total is 6, then the banker draws a third card, if the player's third card was a 6 or 7
- if the banker's total is 7, then the banker stands and doesn’t draw a third card.
When the player and the banker have both been dealt their cards, as set out by the rules mentioned above, the outcome of the game is announced. The hand with the highest value is the winning one, and if the hands are of equal value, there is a tie.
So to recap, we know the point value of each card, the number of cards drawn and the criteria used to judge who has won. However, we still have not yet answered two key questions: What is the likelihood of winning? What is the amount won?