From sticky-floor California card rooms to the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco, baccarat is the ultimate casino game. It has one of the lowest house edges, making it a far more lucrative option than roulette or slots. But baccarat can be confusing for new players, especially when it comes to the rules and scoring.
The object of the game is to predict whether either the Bank hand, Player hand or a tie will acquire a total closest to nine points. Two cards are dealt to each hand. If the point total is eight or nine, that hand wins and all bets are paid out. If the point total is higher than nine, that hand will have to drop the first digit (for example, 9 + 6 = 15, drop the ’1’ for true value of five). A third card may be dealt to either hand depending on the rules of each venue.
When a game is in session, baccarat etiquette dictates that players should not sit at the table while the other players are playing. However, if you do decide to join in, be sure to place your chips in the player, banker or tie betting areas of the table before the dealer starts dealing. Remember that you cannot move your chips once the game begins.
After the initial deal, a bead plate or ‘bead road’ is used to determine if a third card will be drawn. This is known as the ‘cube road’, ‘dice road’, or’marker road’ in English and has several other names in Chinese, including ‘baby pig road’ and ‘baccarat markup’. The bead road is moved to the left or right in a counter-clockwise direction if the initial result is a Banker win, ‘player win’ or ‘tie’.
A 5% commission is charged on winning bets on the Banker hand, and this is how the casino makes its money on the game. The commission is tracked by the dealer and recorded in a commission box, which the Banker must pay for every winning bet.
A baccarat strategy that uses flat betting combined with the pattern trends mentioned above is a solid way to play the game. Start with flat betting, and keep track of your results using a score board sheet. As soon as you see a zigzag or streak pattern, change your bets to reflect the trend. This strategy won’t make you rich but it will keep your bankroll alive for longer than most betting systems and is a good alternative to chasing losing streaks.