In baccarat the hand is played between a dummy banker and dummy player and the bettors wager on who will win.
If the player wins then those bettors who have wagered on the player win an amount equal to their stake. If the banker wins then those bettors who have wagered on the banker win an amount equal to their stake. In the event of a tie between the player and banker the bettors take back their stakes.
Each card has a value in baccarat. The cards from twos to nines have their face values. Tens and the face cards have a value of 0 and aces have a value of 1.
The hand value is obtained by adding the card values and dropping the tens digit (ex. 14 becomes 4). The highest hand value is 9, and it is called “natural”.
Description of a typical baccarat game
The player to the croupier’s right first acts as the dealer cum banker.
The banker first places his stake on the table. If any bettor wants to alone match the banker’s stake he calls “Banco” and then other bettors do not place bets. If no player calls “Banco”, then each bettor places his own stake.
If the bettors’ stakes is less than the banker’s stake then any bettor can make up the difference. If the bettors’ stakes exceeds the banker’s stake then the banker can make up the difference or refuse the extra bet amount.
The bettor with the highest stake acts as player. The banker deals one card to the player and one to himself and then another card to the player and another one to himself. All cards are dealt face down. The player and banker see their cards. If any one of them has a hand value of nine or eight he calls out that value.
At that point the cards are turned face up and the one with the higher hand value wins. If neither player calls, the dealer offers a third card to the player.
The player has to accept this card if his hand value is 0 to 4. The player has to decline this card if his hand value is 6 to 9. If his hand value is 5 then he has a choice whether to accept or refuse.
The third card is dealt face up. The banker then decides whether to take a third card or not. His decision is not constrained by any rules. After the banker makes his move the hands are compared and the one with the higher hand value is declared the winner. The croupier then makes the payouts.
If the banker has won then he continues to be dealer. If the player has won the bank passes to the player on the immediate right.
Baccarat is usually played with six or eight decks. The croupier gives more cards to the banker-cum-dealer as and when required. If there are less than seven cards in the banker’s hand after he finishes dealing the hand is cancelled and the cards are discarded.