Baccarat is a card game that is dealt from a shoe that holds 6 or 8 decks of cards. Two hands are dealt by the house dealer, the “banker” hand and the “player” hand. Before the hands are dealt, bets may be placed on the banker hand, on the player hand, or on a tie. Winning bets on banker or player are paid 1:1, but a commission of 5% is charged on bank bets. Tie bets are paid 8:1. If there is a tie, bets on the banker or player are returned. Once a bet has been placed, there are no opportunities for further decisions — both the banker hand and the player hand are dealt according to fixed rules, resulting in final hands of either two or three cards for each.
The value of a hand is determined by adding the values of its individual cards. Tens and face cards are counted as zero, while all other cards are counted by the number of “pips” on the card face. Only the last digit of the total is used, so all baccarat hands have values in the range 0 to 9 inclusive. The hand with the higher value wins; if the hands have the same value, the result is a tie.
A game is started by dealing two cards for the player hand and two cards for the bank hand. An initial hand with a value of 8 or 9 is called a “natural.” If either hand is a natural, its holder must expose it and the game ends. Otherwise play continues, first with the player hand and then with the banker hand, according to the following rules.
Rules for the player hand: If the player’s first two cards total 6 or more, then the player must stand without drawing a card. If the player’s first two cards total 5 or less, the player must draw one additional card.