Baccarat or Punto Banco is yet another card game played in casinos. The game, which is usually played by high rollers, is now being considered by even beginners and low-stake players. Baccarat is a simple card game that has a lower house edge, which means if you can learn the rules and understand how to play the game well, you stand a better chance at winning the game.

The most popular version of Baccarat is called Punto Banco. Some famous casinos may add variations are added to make the game more challenging, especially when they play “Baccarat Banque” or “Baccarat Chemin de Fer”. Punto Banco is more a game of chance than skill as compared to the other two versions of the game. 

How to Play Baccarat

The game begins when the dealer deals two hands - one for the player and the other for the banker.Each round of the game has three possible outcomes: either the player wins, the banker wins or the round is a tie. The aim of the player is to bet on the player's hand, the banker's hand or go for a tie. The rules of the game may at first seem pretty overwhelming, especially for first timers. However, as you keep playing the game, you will find it easier and the strategies simpler to understand.

At the start of each new shoe, the dealer will pick one card that will determine how many cards should “burn” or be tossed away. This step dramatically reduces the possibility of how effective counting cards  can be in a game, and helps maintain the fairness of the game. The cut card will be placed about 16 cards from the end of the shoe, and it will signal the dealer to start using a new shoe in the next round. Once the bets are placed, the dealer places two cards face-up on the player's side and the two on the banker's side alternatively. Within the first two cards, if either the player or the banker have a point total of 8 or9,the round is over and the winners are paid.

Point system in Baccarat

For a game of Baccarat, the shoe would usually contain eight decks of playing cards.Cards with face values between 1 (ace) and 9 are used in free Baccarat. The value of face cards and 10 equals 0. The score of a hand is the right digit in the total of the card values. For instance, if the player's two cards have values 8 and 6, the total is 14 and the score of the hand is 4. If the two cards have a value of 9 and 8, then the total is 17 so the score becomes 7. The hand with a score closer to 9 is the winner.

Third card rule

The dealer gives two cards to each player and the banker once all the bets are placed, and usually the round shows one winner. The dealer will, however, need to provide a third card if either the banker or the player have a total of 8 or 9, and they both choose to stand.

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