Baccarat is a relatively simple card game in which players place a bet and watch the action unfold. Unlike Blackjack, players are not required to make decisions during the game—only before the hand is dealt. Players can bet on the side of the house, the player, or for a tie. The object of the game is to bet for the side whose cards have a point total closest to 9. Point totals are calculated in the following way: aces count as 1, cards 2 through 9 count at face value, and 10 as well as all face cards count as 0. But it’s important to note that if you’re dealt a 9 and a 7, for example, the total is not 16, but 6. If you’re dealt a 3 and an 8, the total is not 11, but 1. In other words, it’s impossible to have a combination of cards that totals more than 9.
In Baccarat, the dealer deals four cards, two each for the house and player. If the point total of either or both sides is 8 or 9, it’s called “a natural” and no more cards are dealt. If the point total of both sides is the same, of course, it’s a tie. The only complication in Baccarat is when the house or the player’s points, after the initial two cards, don’t add up to a natural, or when there is no tie. In this case, one additional card will be dealt according to specific rules as described below.
If the player’s initial hand adds up to 6 or more, he must stand and will not be dealt additional cards. For 5 or less, the player will be dealt an additional card. If the house hand, meanwhile, adds up to 7 or more, the house must stand. If the house total adds up to 0, 1 or 2, the house must take an additional card.
If the house hand totals 3, and the player’s third card is anything other than 8 (in Baccarat, the player receives his cards before the house), the house will hit. If the house hand totals 4, and the player’s third card is anything other than 1, 8, 9, or 0, the house will hit. If the house hand totals 5, and the player is dealt a 4, 5, 6, or 7, the house will hit. And if the house hand totals 6, and the player’s third card is 6 or 7, the house will hit.
Payoffs in Baccarat are straightforward. If you bet on a winning player’s hand, you’ll be paid at 1 to 1. If you bet on a winning house hand, you’ll also be paid at 1 to 1. If you bet on a tie, the payoff is 8 to 1. Online Baccarat tables usually have a minimum bet of $1 and a maximum bet of $250. Check with your online casino.