Understand how baccarat works

This guide on how to play baccarat details the basic rules of the game, the betting guidelines, and a recommended betting strategy. The objective is to get a card total as close to nine as possible, with ten and face cards bearing zero value, and only the last digit of the sum being considered. In the initial deal, each player and the banker receives two cards. When any initial hand totals eight or nine, it is called a natural and automatically wins, unless both hands are naturals. If the total is anything other than a natural, then a card may be drawn following established guidelines, with the player always going first.

When a player's hand totals zero to five inclusive, a card must be drawn. With six or seven, he stands. An eight or nine is a natural, and the banker cannot draw.

The action for the banker is slightly more complex as it takes into account both his hand value and the player's drawn card. When his hand is a zero to two inclusive, he draws. With a seven, the banker always stands. These two scenarios are followed regardless of the player's drawn card. With a natural eight or nine, the player cannot draw. With a hand value of three, the banker draws unless the player drew an eight. With four, the banker draws when the player drew any card from two to seven. With a five, he draws only when the player received a four to seven card. With a six, he draws when a player received a six or seven.

With the basic rules on how to play baccarat established, we now look at betting guidelines and strategy. Betting is as simple as choosing who you think will win: the player, the dealer, or a tie. The first two bets pay even money while the third pays eight to one. Despite the higher odds though, this bet is normally not recommended as the house advantage is over 14%, compared to the first two with only slightly higher than 1%. With winning banker bets, the house keeps 5% as commission.

The house has an advantage in the long run but following a 1-3-2-6 wager strategy can earn you profits in the short term. The numbers refer to the bets you make in the sequential order they are made. So for the first game, a one unit wager is made, then three for the second game, back to two for the third, and six on the last. If you follow this, the most that you'll lose is two units while getting a chance of winning as much as ten.

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