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Of all the casino table games in the world, none is more desirable than baccarat. There is something inexplicably appealing about the game of baccarat; a mystique of sorts that attracts high rollers like bees to honey.


Table of Contents

•    The Significance of Baccarat at Las Vegas Casinos
•    What are the Rules of Baccarat?
•    You can never go bust in Baccarat
•    Baccarat rules for professional players
•    How is baccarat played at the casinos? 
•    What do the experts think of baccarat games?
•    Do high roller baccarat players get any benefits?
•    What casino promotions are available for baccarat players?

The Significance of Baccarat at Las Vegas Casinos


No other casino game in the world is quite as profitable as baccarat. The creme de la creme of high-stakes players routinely throw down big dollar on baccarat, helping to drive up casino profits and plenty of big wins for players too.

The mystique of baccarat is its calling card. Those well-heeled players who enjoy baccarat swear by it. It is the quintessential game of socialites, nobility, and the aristocracy of the world. This much-loved casino card game is played with gusto, in elite circles. Its growing popularity among casual players is equally enthralling, with many low-stakes, mid-stakes, and high-stakes baccarat games now readily available to players across the board, including online casinos in the US.

Baccarat players routinely attest to the real deal appeal of the game. Other players have no bearing on whether you win or lose, since you're not competing against one another. Believe it or not, it's a common practice for high roller players to throw down bets of $100,000, $200,000, or $300,000 per hand on baccarat. Games are over in the blink of an eye, but the money markers just keep on coming. For example, in a rather lackluster year in 2019, this card game was responsible for casino take of $1.05 billion at Las Vegas casinos.

What makes baccarat such an impactful game at casinos is that the average bet per player is so high that this game can single-handedly turn a casino's fortunes around. Statistics reflect that while baccarat is only played at approximately 11% of the tables in Las Vegas, it contributes 47% of all table game revenues. Compare that to blackjack which is played at 1350 tables, and contributes 25% of all table game revenue across the Las Vegas Strip. Is it only professionals who can play baccarat? Or, can anyone understand the rules of baccarat?

As you’re about to find out anyone can learn to play online baccarat and win? You’re moments away from learning how to play baccarat. Let’s get started! 

What are the Rules of Baccarat?

Baccarat rules are fairly straightforward. For starters, players are not dealt any cards. In fact, players don't even need to touch any cards. This immersive game is filled with intriguing plays, and references to the jet set elite, from Silicon Valley California to Goa, Hong Kong, Singapore, and mainland China. Baccarat rules are incredibly simple. It's the accoutrements, associations, and aura of baccarat that makes it so devastatingly appealing.

You don't have to be James Bond 007 to enjoy a game of baccarat online. First off, there are only three possible outcomes in a game of baccarat. A Banker Win. A Player Win. A Tie. More importantly, players are not required to do anything other than place a bet. The dealer controls all of the action at the baccarat table. Players don't need to touch the cards at all. It’s best to start with free casino games online, before depositing and betting high stakes wagers. 

Baccarat rules are fairly straightforward, as indicated below:

•    Play begins with the placement of a bet.  This bet must be placed on the Banker side or the Player side. The game differs markedly from blackjack where players are required to have a hands-on approach to the betting action. Baccarat rules dictate that players simply place a bet and wait for the dealer to do the rest.

•    The objective of baccarat is to formulate a hand total as close to 9 as possible. The ideal hand values are 8 and 9 - often referred to as naturals. As a player, your job is to simply pick the hand that you believe will win. Cards in baccarat assume their nominal value, with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 worth precisely their face value amount. Aces are worth 1.  Cards such as 10, Jack, Queen, and King typically have a 10-value, but in baccarat they are worth zero. Of course, it's quite possible to simply subtract the tens digit from a baccarat hand if you count the 10-value cards as 10.

•    The value of cards is best illustrated with the following 3 examples:

Player hand: 8 of clubs + King of hearts = Value of 8
Banker hand: 9 of spades + 5 diamonds = Value of 4
Result: Player hand wins. 

Player hand: 4 of clubs + 9 hearts = Value of 3
Banker hand: King of spades + 6 of diamonds = Value of 6
Result: Banker hand wins. 

Player hand: 2 of spades + 5 of clubs = Value of 7
Banker hand: 5 of hearts + 2 of clubs = Value of 7
Result: Tie.

•    The Player’s Rule and the Banker’s Rule are the most important rules to remember in baccarat. 

With the Player’s Rule, any initial card total between 0 and 5 will result in an additional card being dealt if the player has been dealt 6 or 7, the player will stand.

The Banker’s Rule states that if the player sticks with 2 cards only, the banker will only consider their own hand and act accordingly. The banker will draw a third card with a hand total value between 0 and 5, and the banker will stand with hand totals of 6 or 7.

•    If you form a winning hand in baccarat, you effectively double your money. Recall that baccarat rules for casino players determine winners based on which hand total is closest to 9. In the event of a Tie, players who selected the Tie bet option would win. Player hands pay even money, which means if you bet $500, you will win $500.

•    The Banker hand pays out 95% and the casino takes 5% commission known as the vigorish in baccarat. 

•    In the unlikely event that a tie results, the Tie bet pays 8:1. Therefore, if you placed $500 on a Tie result, you would generate 8 x $500 = $4000.

You Can Never Go Bust in Baccarat

What’s the difference between baccarat and blackjack, you may be wondering at this juncture? There is one rule in baccarat that has blackjack players plenty excited: You can never go bust in baccarat. Why? Because any time your hand value – the Banker hand or the Player hand – exceeds 9, the tens digit is simply removed. So, let's consider the following hand values: 

•    Banker hand: 4 + 9 = 13 = 3
•    Player hand: 5 + 7 = 12 = 2
•    Banker hand: 6 + 6 = 12 = 2
•    Player hand: 9 + 7 = 16 = 6

In all the above cases, the ‘1’ representing the tens digit is simply dropped, or removed. That's because you cannot form a hand value greater than 9 in baccarat, irrespective of how many cards are dealt.  For blackjack players, this would be a blessing, but it's an entirely different casino card game.

From another perspective, there is no need for number-crunching strategies in baccarat. In blackjack, players are required to assess the probabilities of low-value cards and high-value cards. When the stats add up, then blackjack players up the stakes in anticipation of real money winnings. 

Baccarat Rules for the Professional Players

•    The Player always stays on hand values of 6, 7, 8, and 9.
•    When the Player stands, the Banker draws on hand values of 0 – 5. 

As an example, the Player hand is: 4 clubs + 4 hearts = 8. The Banker hand is initially Ace of hearts + 3 of clubs = 4. In this case, the Banker hand is required to draw another card. If the Banker draws a 7 of spades, the hand total is then 4 + 7 = 11. That’s the equivalent of 1 in baccarat. In this case, the player hand wins. 

How is Baccarat Played at the Casinos?

At casinos across Las Vegas, the baccarat dealer begins by dealing cards face up for the Banker and the Player. 2 cards are dealt face up for the Banker and 2 cards are dealt face up for the Player. If either the Player hand or the Banker hand has a hand total of 8 or 9, then both Player and Banker will stand. 

If the Player has a hand total of up to 5, then the Player will draw another card. Alternatively, the Player will simply stand on that total. If the Player chooses to stand, the Banker will hit on a hand total of 5 or less.

What do the Experts Think about Baccarat Games?

Opinions are varied when it comes to baccarat. A noted casino aficionado and author of multiple books on gambling, David Sklansksy has been quoted as saying, ‘It is a silly little game… It amazes me how much action this game gets. There are a number of other games that offer players much better odds for their money than baccarat.’

Of course, Sklansky is an expert poker player with an equally adept grasp of blackjack. His perspective is rooted in the numbers, where strategic players have an ability to whittle down the house edge with intelligent game play. Since baccarat is effectively a game of chance, he eschews it. However, there can be no mistaking the magnetic appeal of the game. Experts attest to the allure of the game, despite Sklanksy’s misgivings.

Other notable authorities in the gambling arena, such as Vernon the author of ‘Baccarat Made Simple’ admits to finding baccarat to be a beatable game. Of all the games he played in Las Vegas, none was quite as generous in terms of paybacks as baccarat. And of all the purported experts in baccarat, none are quite as experienced as the baccarat dealers. These professionals deal thousands and thousands of hands every week, and they've seen it all.

Las Vegas baccarat dealers routinely attest to the unusual antics and rigmaroles that players go through while placing bets on baccarat. Since the stakes are often extremely high, dealers have to be cautious in their interactions with players. An unhappy baccarat player can certainly be bad for business, and that means pit bosses are more likely to take the player’s side over the dealer.

 Do High Roller Baccarat Players Get Any Benefits?

Provided they follow the baccarat rules, high rollers routinely get treated with kid gloves at the casino. Comps, luxury suites, travel plans, spas, increased bets, lower fees and commissions, cashback, rebates, and the like are common practice at land-based casinos in Atlantic City, New Jersey and Las Vegas, Nevada. Many of the high rollers playing baccarat are Asian players. They routinely fly in for business trips, and enjoy high-stakes baccarat games at exclusive, roped-off areas of the casino. 

With a really low house age of just 1%, baccarat is inherently attractive to players across the board. Unlike other casino games which take some time to play out, baccarat is played fast and furious, allowing many more hands to be played per hour than games of poker, craps, or roulette. Indeed, high-stakes players can earn millions of dollars after a few baccarat shoes have been played. A baccarat tip that often gets bandied about by professional players – Play free casino games before you saddle up and play for real is certainly apropos with this high stakes casino game. 

What Casino Promotions Are Available for Baccarat Players?

Land-based casinos routinely roll out the red carpet for their baccarat whales. These players are often the difference between a profitable casino and an unprofitable casino. As veritable VIPs, there are always plenty of exciting casino promotions available to baccarat players. These include all the perks mentioned above, including luxury suites, private dealers, closed-off games, increased betting stakes, cashback, lavish trappings and the like. Now that you understand the rules of baccarat, let’s check out the final casino game tip of the day! 

Hot baccarat tip: At online casinos in the US, there are plenty of player-friendly promotional offers up for grabs too. These are designed as enticements to get players to register and play casino games online. It's not only online baccarat that benefits from casino promotions; slots, blackjack, video poker, roulette, poker, scratch games, and other instant win attractions are readily available too.
 
 

About the Author
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With digital marketing strategies in his blood, Louis Wheeler has traveled around the world, exploring gambling cultures and gaining experience in casino games from 2003. If you are in a casino anywhere around the planet, you may find him right next to you, playing blackjack, roulette or texas hold'em.