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Valuing Hands in Online Casino Baccarat

By: Ryan Alders, Wednesday December 16th 2009
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In online baccarat both the Player's hand and the Banker's hand are played by the software and hence the wagerer need not know how the hands are valued and under what circumstances additional cards can be drawn. He simply decides whether to place his bet on the Player or the Banker and the software does the rest. However in land casinos while playing baccarat the wagerers have to take turns at playing the Player's hand and in some variants of baccarat they may even be required to play the Banker's hand. Hence they must be aware of the hand valuation system.

Hand values are based on card values. Cards from twos to nines are valued at their face value. Aces are valued at 1 point and tens, jacks, queens and kings are valued at 0 points. In order to get the hand value the value of all the cards are first added up. Then the tens digit is dropped. Hence all hand values range from 0 to 9. Take for example a hand consisting of an eight and a nine. Both cards have their face value and hence the total is 17. After dropping the tens digit the hand value becomes 7. In a hand consisting of a king and a three, the king has 0 points and the three has 3 points so the hand value becomes 3.

The player is first dealt two cards. The rules that determine whether or not he draws a third card are fairly simple. If the player's hand value based on the two cards is from 0 to 5 then the player has to draws a third card, except when the Banker has a hand value of 8 or 9. In other circumstances he does not draw a third card. If the player draws the third card then his hand value is calculated on the basis of all three cards. Otherwise his hand value based on the two cards dealt stands.

The Banker is also dealt two cards upfront. The rules for the Banker drawing the third card are fairly complex. Whether or not the banker draws a third card depends on the Player's hand value, the Banker's hand value and the value of the third card drawn by the Player. If the Player's hand value is either 8 or 9, then the Banker cannot draw a third card. If the Player's hand value is either 6 or 7, then the Banker draws a third card only if his existing hand value is from 0 to 5.

If the Player's hand value is from 0 to 5 then there is a complicated set of rules for the Banker to follow. These rules depend on the Banker's existing hand value and the Player's third card value. These rules are described below in a bulleted form.

  • If the Banker's hand value is 0 to 2, then the Banker always draws a third card.
  • If the Banker's hand value is 3, then the Banker draws a third card, except when the Player's third card has a value of 8.
  • If the Banker's hand value is 4, then the Banker draws a third card when the Player's third card has a value of 2 to 7.
  • If the Banker's hand value is 5, then the Banker draws a third card when the Player's third card has a value of 4 to 7.
  • If the Banker's hand value is 6, then the Banker draws a third card when the Player's third card has a value of 6 to 7.
  • If the Banker's hand value is 7 to 9, then the Banker never draws a third card.

Even in land casinos there is a "caller" who instructs for the third card to be dealt according to the above rules, but it is advisable for the player to know the rules as well.

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