How to Play Baccarat
Baccarat and mini-baccarat are played with multiple card decks, usually six or eight. In regular baccarat, the dealer shuffles the cards and places them in the shoe, and the players take turns dealing the hands from the shoe. There are three dealers at a full table. The one in the middle is the caller, responsible for announcing the total of each hand and determining third-card draws according to the prescribed rules. The dealers on either end of the kidney-shaped table are responsible for keeping track of players' wins and losses and commissions owed on winning banker bets. In mini-baccarat, one dealer handles all these responsibilities in addition to dealing the cards.
A regular baccarat table layout has numbered slots for up to fourteen players to place bets, as well as corresponding slots to keep track of the house commission each player owes. Above the player numbers on the table layout is a row for betting on the player's hand, and above that is a row for betting on the banker's hand. Tie bets are placed in the topmost row on the layout.
Regular baccarat has seats for fourteen players, but the table layout corresponding to each player's bet is numbered 1 through 12, then 14 and 15. The number 13 is omitted to avoid superstitions of bad luck.
Mini-baccarat table layouts are even simpler, using marked circles to differentiate between player and banker bets; another series of circles or a row for tie bets is located above the player and banker circles. The mini-baccarat table also has designated areas for the player's cards and the banker's cards.
▲ A typical baccarat table layout. Note there is no “13” on the layout.
▲ A typical mini-baccarat table layout. The marked areas for player, banker, and the bets may vary in design.
Whether the dealer is a casino employee or a player, the person who deals the cards plays the role of “banker.” Two hands of two cards each are dealt, one for the “player” and one for the “banker.” Bets are made on whether the banker or the player will win the hand or whether they will tie.
Other than betting on which hand will win, the player has no choices to make in baccarat. The rules of the game require the player's hand to stand if the first two cards equal 6 or more. If the first two cards equal 0 to 5, the player's hand gets one more card.
The dealer doesn't have any choices to make, either. If the player's first two cards total 6 or higher, the banker's hand draws a third card only if its first two cards total 5 or lower. Otherwise, the banker's hand stands at two cards.
If the player's hand takes a third card, the banker's hand will always draw if its first two cards total 0, 1, or 2. If its first two cards total 7, 8, or 9, the bank hand will always stand. For banker's hands totaling 3, 4, 5, or 6, the decision about drawing a third card depends on what the player's third card is. For example, when the banker's first two cards total 3, the banker takes a card
These rules may sound complicated, but you don't have to worry about studying them in order to play. The dealer makes all decisions regarding the player's and banker's hands and even calls out the totals, so all you have to do is place your bet.