Baccarat Game Rules

Baccarat rules are a bit tricky to understand at first, even though the actual playing of the game is fairly simple if you don't know them. While this game is similar to blackjack in some regards, it's drastically different than others, and there's a big misconception that it's a lot more like blackjack than it really is. It really comes down to something more like a coin flip that's based on how cards are dealt for two different hands and how those hands interact. We're going to work through all of the Baccarat game rules here for you so that you understand the basis of the strategies that will maximize your chances of winning.

The Deck and the Cards in Baccarat rules

It starts with the fact that you'll normally see six or eight decks used at a Baccarat table. Aces are always worth one, and the cards two through nine are all worth their face value. Tens, jacks, queens and kings can be considered to be worth zero or ten, and it doesn't matter which because neither affects the outcome of the hand. In fact, you can outright ignore these cards and assume they have a value of zero.

Hand totals in this game are based on the "ones" digit of the sum of the cards in the hand. For example, if a hand is dealt 87, then that would normally be 8+7 which is 15. However, we only look at the "ones" digit because of the way Baccarat rules work, so this would actually have a score of five. The winning hand is the one that has the highest score. For example, in a Baccarat game rules, if you have 87 up against 26, the 87 is worth five and the 26 is worth eight, so the 26 would win. This is anti-intuitive, and it's why you have to pay particularly close attention to the Baccarat game rules so that you don't accidentally think you have won when you have really lost.

The Way Hands Are Dealt

At the beginning of a hand in baccarat, people in the game all play their bets on the player, banker, tie or pair bets. Once the bets are mad, the dealer gives two cards to the player hand and two cards to the banker hand. If either of the hands has a score of eight or nine, then play stops immediately and a winner (or tie) is determined. If no eight or nine is scored, then we move on to deciding if the player hand hits.

If the player hand has a total of five or less, then the player hits, and this involves getting exactly one extra card added to the hand. Note that neither hand can be hit more than once in this game. If the player hand stands, then the banker hits based on the same criterion of having a score of five or less. However, if the player does hit, then the banker hitting is determined by a very complex set of baccarat rules that is based around the value of the player's third card.

For example, if the player's third card has a value of zero, one or nine, then the banker hits with a score of three or lower and stands with a score of four or higher. The banker only hits on scores of five and up when the player has a two or three, and it's six and up if the player has a third card of  four or five. Finally, the banker only stands on a seven if the player's third card is a six or seven.