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Betting Rules

To avoid any confusion, the following betting rules apply to American baccarat. I have outlined the differences between this game and the other versions, namely Chemin de Fer, Baccarat en Banque and European baccarat in the baccarat variations section. There are three betting options in modern American Baccarat as played at most casino resorts:

  1. betting on the Player Hand
  2. betting on the Bank Hand
  3. betting on a Tie Hand
Baccarat Table

In the diagram above, if you were the player in position 1, then the P would represent the player hand bet, the B would be the banker's hand bet, and the samller number 1 (in yellow) would represent betting on a tie. In the middle are numbered boxes 1 through 15 (omitting the unlucky 13), which are used by the casino personnel to keep track of how much you owe the casino in commission.

Knowing the betting rules and what they entail can be of great advantage to a baccarat player. Not all the bets offer the same kind of return or even the same house edge. Usually, when it comes to gambling, the bets that look the most attractive are the ones that are the most difficult to win and also carry the highest house edge. In baccarat, depending on which bet you make, you can come out slightly on top. I have outlined the pros and cons of each bet below to help you establish your own betting startegy.

Player Hand

To bet on the Player hand means you place your gaming chips in the area in front of you marked 'player' or in the line of spots that spells out the word player (see table image above). You can bet any amount from the table minimum to the table maximum inclusive. When betting on the player hand, you're betting that the player hand at the end of the round (meaning that all drawing and dealing is done), will be greater than the dealer's. If you win the bet, you are paid even money and charged no commission.

Bank Hand

If you bet on the Bank hand, you are betting that after the dealing and drawing is done, the bank hand will be greater than the player's. If you win the bet, you are paid even money and charged the standard 5% commission fee on the amount that you won. This commission, known as "vigorish" or "vig" will not be immediately deducted from your winnings, but instead is placed in a commission box with a number that matches your spot. You can settle the commission at any time during the game making sure all of it is paid off before leaving the table.

Some casinos will offer lower commissions rates in an effort to attract more high-rollers. Commission, whether it's 5% or 2% does not make much of a difference to the average baccarat player in the short run; however, to the high-rollers it's a very relevant issue as simple mathematics will show. If you're betting hundred or even thousands of dollars on a single hand, a lower vig will be very significant when it comes to your winning expectations; however, if you're betting little amounts at a time, the small amount you could save is hardly worth the hassle. You'll also find that casinos offering a lower vig have very high minimum bet requirements, keeping it out of reach for the average player anyway.

Tie Hand

To bet on the Tie hand means you place your gaming chips in the area in front of you marked 'tie' and on the number corresponding to your seat. This bet is considered a side bet in baccarat, and although it sounds like a good bet, it's very rare. That is because the rules for drawing and standing offer many options to break up possible ties. It is also a fact that with eight decks, dealing 4 or more cards and getting even values as counted by the baccarat rules are nearly impossible. It does happen, but not very often; you're safest to bet on the player or the banker.