The object is to assemble a hand of two or three cards with a points value as close to nine as possible. The perfect hand is one that totals nine in the first two cards. Eight is the second-best hand and, along with the nine, it constitutes the two “natural” hands. The only hand that will beat a natural eight is a natural nine. If any player hand or the Bank has a natural eight or nine, the others may not draw a third card. In a tie, bets are called off.
Aces count as one, picture cards as 10 and the others their face value. If your hand total is in double figures, then the first figure is ignored. So a hand totalling 18 would count as eight.
The player with the most money is usually is declared the banker – this is the casino in Baccarat Banque and rotates in Chemin de Fer. The banker deals three hands of two cards each, face down. These hands are for two players, one to the right and one the left of the banker, plus his own hand. Other players at the table may bet on either hand (cheval) or both to beat the banker’s hand. If a player declares “banco”, it means they are betting the total value of the bank’s funds and all other bets are withdrawn. Casinoer has a great guide on baccarat.
If either player has a count less than eight or nine, he may stand (saying “non”) or get one more card face up (saying “carte”). The player must stand on six or seven and must draw on four or less. Casinos usually take their percentage of the bank and bets as their fee for the game.
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