Baccarat is one of the top card games played in a casino. It’s a comparing card game typically played between two hands; the player and the banker.
Though its rules are relatively straightforward, baccarat happens to be one of the most nerve-wracking table games due to its high-limit exclusivity. This means it won’t be found on the casino floor like staple games such as roulette or blackjack.
Whether you’re playing in a land-based or online casino, you must understand and know the difference between the player and banker bets before you make a wager.
Here’s a quick guide to both of these bets.
What Is Baccarat?
Baccarat is simply a game of chance with little to no strategy involved. This means players have few decisions to make, and that baccarat cannot be played badly.
Traditionally, baccarat is a high-roller game, yet many recent interactions of the game tend to cater more to gamblers that play for lower stakes.
The easiest way to define the game of baccarat is that it’s a card game where you have either 2 or 3 cards. The player with the winning hand will be the one that has the higher overall score.
How Baccarat Works
All betting on a hand must be finished before the hand starts. The game begins once two cards have been dealt to each of the two hands, known as Player and Bank hands respectively.
The goal of the game is to have the hand you’re betting on, whether that’s the banker or the player, be the best hand dealt. The winning baccarat hand will have a score where its final digit when the pip value (the dots on playing cards that represent a suit) are added together equal a nine – or the closest value to it.
Here, aces count as one, and face cards have a worth of zero. If particular hands score higher than a 9, the score is adjusted by subtracting 10 from the total. For example, if you’re dealt a 9 and a 7 you have 16, but your score is a 6.
And that’s the whole premise of the game!
Complications occur when each side takes a third card. However, this will not happen if either the Banker or the Player is an 8 or 9 after the initial two cards, also known as a “natural.” If that doesn’t happen, sometimes either party will need to take a card.
The Player Bet
The player bet is one of three possible outcomes for a game of baccarat. The player and banker bets are pretty similar except for the fact that the player bet involves making a bet on the opposite hand.
Although it’s known as the player’s hand, it’s not necessarily the hand that the player has to wager on.
Though it still has fairly good odds of winning, with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it house edge of 1.24%, the player bet has slightly poorer odds in comparison to the odds of the banker’s hand. This is mainly because the third card rule for the player’s hand is less favorable than that of the banker’s hand.
That doesn’t detract from the attractiveness of the player bet.
The player’s hand also draws the third card before the banker’s hand, meaning the banker’s hand is still pretty unknown at this stage.
Notably, the player bet pays out odds of 1:1. There’s also no house commission when a bet is made on the player’s hand, unlike the banker bet.
The Banker Bet
Now we move on to the rarer banker bet. It isn’t very profitable but it does offer a lower house edge of 1.06% which is why it is so popular.
The rules about drawing the third card help to make this bet even greater. The odds of the banker hand point to the fact that it is the most likely hand to achieve a value of nine and eventually win the round of baccarat.
Because this baccarat bet has a high chance of winning, all casinos will take a 5% commission from the winning bets that are placed on this hand. This bet also pays 1:1 minus the commission.
It’s important that players ensure they have the funds to cover house commission, or that they put it aside after each win, as it must be paid either when the player leaves the table or at the end of each shoe.
Keep in mind that it is pretty problematic for players to bet and then lose the commission that is owed to the house. Be cautious with your actions.
Which Bet Is Better?
The player and banker bets are relatively similar in terms of the overall chances of a player winning. However, the banker’s hand is slightly better regarding the house advantage and the commission. Plus, its drawing rules are better and more aggressive.
Now you know more about how baccarat is played and how the player and banker bets work, we hope you’re ready to jump into the action! Try online baccarat first as it offers much more bankroll-friendly playing options.