The ancient game of baccarat is also known under the name Punto Banco. Baccarat is considered to be one of the most legendary gambling games in the world. Almost everyone has for sure heard of the game, although weirdly enough not many people do know the rules of this game. The big name recognition of baccarat has not so much to do with the game itself but more with the fact that the game is one of the most historic gambling games in the world.
Already in the 15th century baccarat was mentioned in ancient documents coming from Italy. The game however only made its huge surge in popularity after it became a favourite with the French and baccarat debuted in casinos such as the one in Monte Carlo. Even though the game was revamped a number of times throughout the centuries and the current game does not have many similarities with the old rules and gameplay of Medieval Italy, baccarat is still seen as the oldest casino game.
The rules of baccarat
The rules of baccarat might seem difficult at first, but after you have played it a few times it does not seem that bad at all. Goal of the game is that the two or three cards which you have are as close as possible to the number 9, or at least closer to that number than the cards of the house. The point system of baccarat is quite straightforward: all face cards (jack, queen, king) are worth 10 points, and of course the 10 is also worth the same amount of points. The ace is only worth 1 single point, while all other cards from 2 to 9 have their own value as listed on the card (for example, the 5 is worth 5 points). Compared to blackjack where you can go bust if you go over the 21 points threshold, this is not the case at all with baccarat.
The game starts with the gambler placing his or her bet. Next up, the dealer gives every player sitting on the table two cards. All players who are participating have to beat the house – which in this game is called the ‘banker’ and who also gets two cards. Unlike blackjack, your total score is not the combined score of all points of your two cards. Your score is the right number of a decimal. Let’s explain it with an example. You are being dealt a 9 and 5 by the dealer. Together this makes 14, but your score at that moment is a 4 – the right number of the decimal. When you get a king and a 9 you have 19 points combined, making your score a 9 – the ultimate score in the game!
Reaching the best possible score
You have to try to get the best possible score before the banker gets it. When the banker has a score of 9 or 8 after two cards dealt, the game is being stopped. The dealer turns over the cards of the banker and shows the score to the table, after which the scores are being compared who is closest to 9. If your score is the same as the banker, you draw. If you score less you lose of course and if you have a better score you win.
If the banker has not yet a score of 8 or 9 then the cards remain closed and the player can chose whether he wants another card or not. If you as a player has a score of 8 or 9, you will immediately beat the house and there is no need to ask for another card. But when you do not have this score yet, it is up to you whether or not you want an extra third card. It is widely accepted that if your points are between 0 and 4, you have to ask for another card. If you have 6 or 7 most gamblers say it is better not to ask for another card. Whatever you do when your score is a 5 is completely up to you as the opinions on this differ wildly!
End of the game
The banker will never get a third card. After the players have decided if they want to hold or they want their third card, all cards are being opened on the table and scores are compared. As we wrote earlier, you win if your score is closer to the 9 than the score of the banker. With an equal score it is a draw.