– Max Stern explains the basics of Baccarat for the complete beginner. Baccarat is an elegant game that’s reserved for the truly discerning player.

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Beginner Baccarat: What to bet on, and why
Hello again. I’m Max Stern and in this video I’m going explain the basics of Baccarat.
Perhaps no other game so forcefully dramatizes the extreme and uncertain nature of the gambling experience than Baccarat. You see, on one hand, Baccarat offers some of the lowest house edge bets of any other game on the floor. On the other hand, it incorporates some of the highest. For the uninitiated or untrained eye, all bets in Baccarat can seem equal.
But… they’re not.
Put simply: more house advantage equals more of a threat to your bankroll. And without bankroll, you can’t play.
Here’s how Punto Banco Baccarat, which is the most popular variation of the game, works:
You need to bet on one of three hands:
• the Player, or Punto, hand, with a low house edge of 1.24%
• the Banker, or Banco, hand, with an even lower house edge at 1.06%
• the Tie bet, meaning that the Player hand and the Banker hand, are identical, with a house edge standing at a whopping 14.36%!
It’s important to realise that the player hand doesn’t in any way refer to the player who is at the table. Nor does the banker hand refer to the house. They’re just two different names for two different hands, and a gambler could bet on either one.
So what’s the difference between them?
After all the bets have been made, the dealer will give two cards to each of the hands. The winning hand is the one with the highest single numerical value and is determined by a predefined procedure about when to draw more cards and when to stand. The total numerical value of a hand will always range between zero and nine inclusive. It’s also impossible to bust on either hand.
When calculating scores of a hand in double digits, only the second digit is taken into account. So, for instance, if the first two cards were a six and nine, then the total hand would come to 15. The first digital would be ignored, and five would count as the value of the hand.
Different rules exist for each hand. Let’s look at each of them separately:
The Player hand
For the player hand, a total of between zero and five (inclusive) requires that it draws a third card.
A player hand with six or seven must stand, and a player with what is called a ‘natural’ eight or ‘natural’ nine will reveal their cards immediately.
The player hand pays even money.
The Banker hand
The rules around the banker hand are substantially more complex. In many ways, the banker hand is directly dependent upon the actions of player hand in terms of whether or not to draw a third card. The banker hand procedures will work as follows:
• If the player’s third card is a two or three, then the banker must draw with a total of between zero and four, but must stand with a total of between five and seven
• If the player’s third card is a four or five, the banker must draw if he has a total of between zero and five, but must stand with a total of between six and seven
• If the player has a third card total of between six and seven, the banker hand must draw if it has a total of between zero and six, but must stand with a total of seven
• If the player’s third card total is an eight, then the banker will only draw if he has a total of between zero and two, but must stand with a total of between three and seven.
Finally, if the player’s third card is an ace, nine, 10, or face card, the banker must draw if he has a total of between zero and three, and stand with a total of between four and seven.
Like the player hand, the banker hand will pay even money.
The Tie bet
By making a tie bet, you’re making a wager on the player hand and banker hand sharing an identical value.
If you’re lucky enough to win this type of bet, you’ll enjoy an 8 to 1 payout.
Our advice?
Stick with either the player or banker hands. Although the tie bet can seem attractive based on its payout, you’ll be battling against a very high casino advantage.
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