Baccarat is an exciting card game that was a featured plot device in the James Bond novel Casino Royale by Ian Flemming.
It originated in Italy during the middle ages and derives its name from the Italian word for “zero”, because the face cards and Tens – which normally are high value cards in most games – are counted as zero in Baccarat. At some point it migrated to France where it was embraced by the aristocracy. Today, Baccarat is a favorite game of high rollers and famous gamers around the world.
The object is to bet on which of two hands (the “Player” or the “Banker“) will have a score closest to 9. You can bet on either hand – or you can bet on a tie.
Dealing and Scoring
Baccarat is played with eight decks of cards, shuffled and placed in a “shoe”. Each hand will receive at least two cards, but no more than three. The first and third cards dealt from the shoe constitute the Player’s hand and the second and forth cards constitute the Banker’s hand. If required, a third card is dealt to either hand according to specific rules outlined in the charts below.
All cards are dealt face up.
Card values are:
- Face cards and tens count as 0;
- Aces count as 1,
- All other cards count as face value.
The score of each Hand is the last digit of the sum of the card values in the hand. Thus, a hand with an 8 and a 9 would have a score of 7 (since 8 + 9 = 17). This is why Tens and Face cards count as zero – only the last digit counts, so a 10 has a value of zero. The scores will always range from 0 to 9 and, unlike Blackjack, it is impossible to bust.
Examples of point scoring:
- Example 1: 9 + 0 = 9, the score of this hand is 9.
- Example 2: 4 + 0 + 9 = 13, the score of the hand is 3.
Since the object of each hand is to get as close to 9 as possible, getting a score of 8 or 9 with the first two cards is a good thing. This is called a “natural”, and if EITHER hand scores a natural, BOTH hands must stand. Naturally (pardon the pun), the only score that will beat a natural 8 is a natural 9.
Two cards are dealt face up to both the Player and the Banker.
If one hand has a natural, that hand wins. If both hands have a natural, the higher natural wins. If both hands have the same natural, it’s a tie.
If neither the Player nor the Banker has a natural, then play goes to the Player.
The Player’s hand stands on a score of 6 or 7. If the score is less than 6, the Player draws one card and receives a new score based on the value of all three cards.