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Rules and Strategies for Casino Baccarat

The game of Baccarat has been romaticised by the Casinos as a high roller game played behind felt ropes and closely monitered by well dressed men and women and attended by security guards. For all the glamour and mystique it is still a rather simple game.
Baccara is particularly popular in European Casinos, probably because the perception that it is a high roller game, make no mistake the stakes can be very high. The word baccarat comes from the Italian baccara, which means zero. Walking by a baccarat table gives one the impression of elegance and a lot of money, mere mortals watch from a distance as the dealers and shills ply their trade.

Perhaps the hardest thing about Baccarat is knowing how to pronounce the word. It’s "bah-caw-rah", not "back-a-rat". Baccarat is one of the easiest table game to play. It’s the most uncomplicated game there is. All you need to decide is whether to bet on "bank", "player" or "tie". (Betting "tie" is not recommended, the house edge is too high). Except for the tie bet, Baccarat has a very low house edge – 1.36 % if you bet on Player and 1.17% for bets on Banker.

While the rules may seem a bit confusing, keep in mind that there really is no need to know them precisely. It’s pretty much a game of chance, all you really have to do is decide which hand you think will win, and bet accordingly. However, knowing the basic rules will certainly help you follow what is going on, making the game a lot more enjoyable.

Two hands are dealt, one for the "player" and one for the "banker". You can bet on one or the other. If the hand you bet on wins, you receive a 1 to 1 (even money) payoff. You can also bet that the hands will tie, but as mentioned above, it is not recommended. You receive an 8 to1 payoff, but ties occur less than once out of every ten hands, making the tie bet a poor choice.

At the start, each hand receives two cards. When necessary, additional cards are drawn according to the rules. The hand closest to 9 wins.

Tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings count 0.
The Ace counts 1
cards 2 through 9 are at face value.

The hand that comes closest to a count of 9 wins. Hands don’t bust like in Blackjack, because the first digit of a two-digit number is always dropped. For example, if 5 and 7 are drawn for a total of 12, the count is 2. When there is a tie, nobody loses.

If the first two cards total 8 or 9, the hand is called a "natural" and it wins automatically, unless both hands have equal value "naturals", in which case it’s a tie. If neither hand has a natural additional cards are drawn to determine a winner.

Banker and player bets pay even money when you win. However, winning banker bets are subject to a 5% house commission. Even after paying a 5% commission on winning banker bets, betting on "banker" is still a slightly (0.19% to be exact) better proposition than betting on "player". Banker hands win more often.

All bets are made before the cards are dealt. In live games every player at the table gets a chance to deal the cards, but you don’t have to deal, just pass the shoe to the next player.

The 1 – 3 – 2 – 6 Betting System for Baccarat

In the long-run, the odds favor the casino and no betting system can change that fact. But that is not to say that this systems can’t work beautifully in the short term.

What makes the 1 – 3 – 2 – 6 system attractive is that you risk only two betting units for a chance to win ten units. You can make a nice profit with a minimal investment.

The first bet is one unit, if you win, add another unit, making the second bet a total of three units. If you win the second bet, there are 6 units on the table. Remove four units, making your third bet two units. If it wins add two more units, making it a total of six units for your fourth bet. If the fourth bet wins you’ll collect a total of 12 units, of which ten units are profit!

If you lose the first bet, the loss is one unit. Assuming you win the first, but lose the second bet, your net loss is two units. If you win the second, but lose the third bet, you have a profit of two units. If you win the first three bets but lose the fourth bet, you'll break even.

If you lose the second bet five out of six times and win four consecutive bets once, you’ll be right back to even. You can also use this system for even-money betting at any other casino game.