Baccarat: Rules and Strategies

The card game baccarat is played with two or more players, one of which is the banker. The game boils down to comparing cards, and the higher number wins the game. There are three variations of the game- North American baccarat, chemmy, and baccarat banque. Each of these has their own rule set, but individual casinos may have their own variations on each of these. It is important for players to make note of any rule changes and consider how they will affect the game.

How It Is Played

No matter which version of baccarat you are playing, many of the basic mechanics are the same. The cards are always dealt face down on a pallet. Only two cards are dealt at once.

The cards values and the way points are determined is quite different from any other card game. The base numbers all have their original values of 1-9, but the face cards (kings, queens and jacks) have a value of zero. Aces have a value of one. The maximum point value of any two card hand is 9, since the rightmost digit in a hand’s total value is the one that counts. That means that if the hand is 8 and 9, totalling 17, the point value would be 7.

The outcome for a hand can either go in favour of the player, the banker or in a tie.

Different Rule Sets

As mentioned above, there are three different variations on baccarat.

North American Baccarat- This game is typically just called baccarat or tableau and is the most commonly played form of the game. It comes in two different variations. The player’s rule version requires that if a player draws cards totalling a value of 0-5, then a third card is dealt. If the cards total 6-9, then a third card is drawn.

The banker’s rule version is a bit more complex. The casinos will usually list the rules so that anyone can refer to them at a glance.

If that banker draws a hand with a value of 2 or less, then the banker will draw another card. The player’s hand does factor into this rule.

For a banker’s hand of 3 points, the banker will draw take out a third card. The only exception is if the player drew an 8.

When the banker draws a hand with a total of 4, then the bank draws another card, but only if the player drew a third card with a value of 2-7.

For a banker’s hand of 5, the bank will draw another card, but only if the player drew a third card with a value of 4-7.

For a banker’s hand of 6, the bank will draw another card, but only if the third card the player drew was either a 6 or a 7.

When the banker draws a 7, then no additional cards will be drawn by the banker.

Chemmy- In the chemmy version of baccarat, the banker changes from person to person. The banker will deal out two cards to himself and two cards that are shared between all the other players. If either of the hands contains an 8 or 9, then that is announced right away and the hands are compared.

If the hands contain anything else, then the player has a chance to ask for a third card to be dealt. If he chooses the third card, then that card is dealt facing up. Once that decision has been made, then the banker can decide if he wants to accept a third card as well. Once both have made their decision, the cards are compared.

The banker changes as the banker loses or gives up his place.

Baccarat Banque- In this simplified version of the game, the banker does not change as often. The only time the banker will change is if he loses. Often, that is when the game ends, but in some rule sets for the game, the banker will then change to whoever can match the amount of money the banker put up.

Cards are dealt one at a time to two or more people. Each player is dealt two cards in total before the game begins. Then the same rules from chemmy apply as to when or if a third card can be dealt.

Strategy

As you can see, baccarat is mostly a game of chance. There is some minor strategy involved in certain versions of the game, particularly where players are allowed to choose whether they draw a third card or not.

There is also some strategy involved in choosing to be the banker or not. The banker is often given a slight advantage, so if the money can be put up (in baccarat banque) or a player simply becomes the banker, it can work out in their favour.

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