RULES FOR PLAYER’S HAND
If the baccarat rules require the player to stand on his initial two cards, the caller announces, “Player stands with [point total].” But if the player must draw, the croupier calls,
“Card for the player.” Only then does the banker deal a card faceup to the croupier, who places it next to the first two cards as he announces the new total. The decisions for the player hand are easy to learn. If the initial cards total 5 or less, draw one and only one card; otherwise stand. When the player hand is completed, the procedure for completing the banker hand is the same, but the baccarat rules for drawing or standing are a little more complicated.
RULES FOR BANKER’S HAND
Except for initial cards totaling 2 or less, which always require a draw, the decisions for the banker hand vary depending on the player’s third card. Again, only one card may be drawn, and it’s always taken if the banker’s hand totals:
• 3 and the player stands or draws 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, or 10.
• 4 and the player stands or draws 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7.
• 5 and the player stands or draws 4, 5, 6, or 7.
• 6 and the player draws 6 or 7. The dealer must stand if the player stands.
Notice that the baccarat rules can require the banker to draw even when his first two cards beat the player’s final hand, and a third card can cause the banker’s hand to lose. When both hands are concluded, the caller declares the winner, announcing the point total for each. Because the inherent odds of the game favor the banker over the player, the casinos assess a 5% commission on all winning bets on the banker so that the house advantage on either hand is about the same, 1.06% on the banker vs. 1.23% on the player. The casino pays even money on all bets, which amounts to an overpayment on winning banker bets, but you don’t have to worry about keeping track of the commissions on these bets; the dealers do this for you with tokens that are placed in your numbered commission box in front of them, each time you bet and win on the banker’s hand. The accumulated commissions are collected by the dealers while the cards are being shuffled for the next round, and they must be paid before you leave the table if you quit during a shoe. Always be aware of your commission indebtedness, and never bet your last chips before settling up.
Casino Advantage at Baccarat