If you want to learn how to play baccarat, don’t pay attention to James Bond. Even before he switched to Texas Hold’em, the baccarat game he was playing was old-school Chemin de Fer, a variant that remains popular in France. That game requires a certain amount of skill. The rest of the world (Ignition Casino included) plays the Punto Banco version of baccarat, and in this game, all the decisions are made for you.
Think of it like Blackjack Made Easy, except you’re trying to get nine instead of 21. In its simplest two-player form, baccarat pits the Player (punto) against the dealer, known as the Banker (banco) in this case. The object is to make the better hand, up to a maximum score of nine. Tens through Kings are worth zero points, and the other cards are face value. When you add the cards together, and get a score with two digits, discard the first digit to count your score. For example, a Nine and a Three would add up to 12, so you’d drop the “1” for a score of 2.
The game starts when you place your bet – and in baccarat, you can bet on either the Player’s or the Banker’s hand, or you can bet on a Tie occurring. Each of you receives two cards from a six-deck shoe, face up, and if either of you has a hand worth eight or nine points (known as a natural), that hand is an automatic winner, provided the other guy doesn’t have a higher natural. Then it’s on to the next hand. Easy-peasy.
That’s Not Natural
If neither hand is worth eight or nine points, then it’s time to consult the table, which shows the predetermined rules for whether or not a third card is drawn. The Player goes first. If her hand is worth between zero and five points, and the Banker’s is worth fewer than seven points, the Player gets to draw one more card.
Then it’s the Banker’s turn. If he has more than six points, he stands. If he has fewer than three points, he hits. Anything between three and six points may or may not require a third card to be drawn depending on the Player’s hand. You can consult the table at Ignition Casino for more information, and you can use the Practice Play mode to get your feet wet. Even James Bond didn’t have that in his arsenal.