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Baccarat, commonly known as ?Punto Banco?, is probably the easiest game to play at any casino. The simple facts are there are only three different types of bets. One can either bet on the Player (?Punto?), the Banker (?Banco?), or bet the Player and Banker will tie. The objective of the game is to receive the hand closest to, or totaling, 9. Wagers made on the Player pay 1 to 1. However, bets made on the Banker pay 1 to 1 minus a 5% commission or tax in order to remedy a slightly lower house advantage.

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Once the cards are shuffled, one card is dealt to the Player, then to the Banker, from the ?shoe?. ?Shoe? is the term used to describe the card bank from which all cards are dealt, and it is usually made up of either 6 or 8 decks of 52 playing cards. Then, a second card is dealt to the Player and Banker before the cards are then turned face up and the totals are computed. All cards are counted at face value except for tens and face cards (Jacks, Queens, and Kings) which are all valued at zero. Aces have a value of 1. For example, a hand containing a 7 and a Queen would be valued at 7 and a hand containing a 7 and a 2 would be valued at 9. If any hand exceeds a total of 10, then 10 is deducted from that total. For instance, a hand containing an 8 and a 7 would calculate to a total of 15 but would only be valued at 5 (15 ? 10 = 5).

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Once the cards are dealt and the value of each hand is computed, the game continues according to the following set of rules:

  • If either the Player or the Banker has an 8 or 9, which is commonly known as a ?natural?, it?s an automatic win. If both hands have naturals, the higher natural wins. If the naturals are of equal value, it?s a tie.

  • If a Player has a hand totaling 0-5, he or she must draw another card; if the player?s hand totals 6-7, he or she must stand.

  • If a Player stands, the Banker must follow the same rules as the Player, meaning the Banker must draw on totals of 0-5, and stand on totals of 6-7. If a Player draws a third card, the Banker is required to either draw or stand according to the value of the third card dealt to the Player.

  • If a Player does not have a ?natural?, but stands on 6 or 7, the Banker must draw a third card if it has a hand totaling from 0 through 5 or stand on a hand totaling 6 through 9. The Banker must draw a third card when holding a hand totaling from 0 through 2, unless the Player has an 8 or 9.

  • If the Banker has a two-card total of 3, it must draw a third card unless the Player drew an 8 as a third card. In such a case, the Bank must stand.

  • If the Banker has a two-card total of 4, it must draw a third card if the Player draws a 2 through 7 as a third card. If not, the Banker stands.

  • If the Banker has a two-card total of 5, it must draw a third card if the Player draws a 4 through 7 as a third card. If not, the Banker stands.

  • If the Banker has a two-card total of 6, it must draw a third card if the Player draws a 6 or 7 as a third card. If not, the Banker stands.

  • The Banker must stand on hands totaling 7, 8, or 9.

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