A casino card game for 12 to 14 players, Baccarat invites players to gamble on the outcome of a card game between two ultimately imaginary competitors, the "player" and the "banker." Each is dealt two cards by a dealer, who may be a casino employee or a player. The dealer then adds up both sets of cards and deals a third additional card based on each hand's total. The ultimate winner is the competitor whose hand totals closest to nine. These basic rules suggest that baccarat is a simple game of luck, but a network of complex strategy systems suggest that pro players consider more than just what is on the table.
To play baccarat like the game's experts, one must first understand the rules of drawing a third card. The simplest rule regards a "natural" hand, or one that totals eight or nine with only two cards. Either player, banker or player, draws no additional card and takes the hand as a win. The player also stands at two cards when his two-card hand adds up to six or seven and draws at a score of one through five.
By contrast, the banker stands automatically with a score of seven and draws with a lower score based on the player's hand. If the banker's score is six or below, a draw or no-draw is dependent on the player's third card. For example, the banker draws on a score of zero to four if the player draws a two or a three, but draws on a zero to five if the player draws a four or five. The banker draws on a zero to two if the player draws an eight, but draws on a zero to three if the player draws a nine, 10, ace, or face card. These rules govern when a pro baccarat player bets in favor of one party or the other.
Because the banker draws on a six or lower while the player must receive a five or lower to draw a third card, the banker typically ends up with more cards over the course of a game. For this reason, the banker is statistically likely to win more games. The advantage is slight, as the banker tends to win only 50.68 percent of all hands, but it is enough for most houses to collect a 5 percent commission on banker bets. This commission accounts for the lowest house edge in the game, which is why many pro players bet on the banker if seeking the best chance of a win.
While the odds of a banker win are high, the odds of a tie are extremely low. As a result, this bet results in an 8:1 or 9:1 payout and a house edge of between 14.44 percent and 15.75 percent. Odds for both ties and wins vary based on the number of decks in play, and the pro player knows how this affects the game. Ties become more rare with fewer decks in the shoe, for example, while player wins become more likely in single-deck games. Pro players also tend to track which cards are played and bet based on whether more high or low cards remain in the deck. Pros also take streaks into account and place bets in keeping with a winning streak. Most experts consider it unwise to bet against a winning streak, unless odds suggest that the balance is likely to shift.
Many experts note that no matter what strategies a bettor employs, a winning record depends more on wise management of available funds. Many experienced players play up until they reach a pre-set minimum final total. Some adjust the minimum total if they begin to accrue winnings, while others play only with winning amounts over the amount that they bring to the table. Either way, this budget-focused technique can help a player view the game with the business sense of a professional.
While a wealth of information on baccarat is available via the Internet, expertly developed books and guides provide more detailed tips. Players of all levels can find a variety of such books on eBay. By simply visiting any page on the site and entering " baccarat" into the search field, a player or aspiring player can find appropriate resources.
Players can specify their search goals by using search terms such as "winning baccarat," and may also search for home game sets to practice with friends and family. All buyers should take care to review the item's product description and shipping details before making a final purchase. Savvy buyers also examine the seller's eBay feedback ratings, as a responsive and well-reviewed seller tends to provide a better shopping experience.