While baccarat may seem like a simple game there are still some key theoretical concepts a player needs to master before playing the game. One of these theoretical concepts has to do with hand valuation in baccarat.
This is because in baccarat one bets on which hand will win of if there will be a tie. Understanding how to value and count cards in baccarat is therefore essential to the smooth running of the game.
Interestingly enough hand valuation is only really relevant when playing baccarat in a real-world casino. In online baccarat a player simply decides which hand to bet on and the computer software automatically does the rest. Having said that, a thorough understanding of the value of hands can greatly improve one’s appreciation of the game.
In baccarat, the value of hands is calculated by adding up the value of hand. This is done for both the player and the banker’s hand. When calculating the hand’s value, only the last digit is counted. In other words all tens are dropped. This means that 13 would be counted as 3 and 16 would be counted as 6 etc. This is done so as to limit the value of a hand to 9.
Another important thing players need to understand when it comes to hand valuation is that when the players hand and bankers hand are referred to these aren’t necessarily the player or the banker. These are simply the terms used to refer to the two different opposing hands in a game of baccarat.
When it comes to calculating the value of cards, it’s useful to note that the value of cards is determined by the value of the cards themselves. Unlike a game like blackjack, face cards and tens have no value. Cards from twos to nines are counted at face value – i.e. the value of the card is equivalent to the card itself. Aces have a value of one point. Because the tens digit is dropped when calculating the value of cards, hands’ values range from 0 to 9. The best a player can get is 9.
As an example, let’s say a player has a hand with an eight card and a nine card. The total value of the hand is 17. But after dropping the ten digit, the value of the hand is 7. Or let’s say a player has a hand with a king and a three card. The king has a value of 0 and the three is taken at its face value (3). This means that, in this case, the hand’s value is 3.
In baccarat, cards are dealt in such a way that the player gets the first and third card while the banker gets the second and fourth cards. Because of how hand valuation works in baccarat, it’s possible that if both hands are valued at 8 or 9 there could be a tie.
As mentioned, hand valuation is crucial to baccarat. The value of each respective hand is used to determine whether or not the player needs to draw another card. Unlike other games where a player can decide to draw more cards or not, in baccarat this happens automatically based on the value of the cards.
If the player’s hand value is between 0 and 5, then the player is automatically dealt another card. The only case in which this won’t happen is if the banker’s hand is valued at either 8 or 9. The player’s hand value is then calculated based on the player’s three cards.
It’s a little more complicated when it comes to determining whether or not the banker should draw another card. The value of the player’s hand is used to determine whether the banker draws another card. If, for example, the player has a hand value of 8 or 9 then the banker does not draw another card.
If, however, the player’s hand value is calculated as being 6 or 7 the banker can draw another card. However this is only applicable if the player’s third card has a value between 0 and 5.
In the case that the player has a hand value between 0 and 5, it can be a bit tricky to determine whether or not the banker should draw another card. In order to determine this, one needs to take into account the banker’s current hand as well as the player’s third card. Below is an explanation of how this works:
- In the case that the banker has a hand valued at anything between 0 and 2, the banker will automatically draw another card.
- If the banker’s hand is valued at 3 and the player’s third card doesn’t have a value of 8, then the banker will draw another card.
- If the banker’s hand is valued at 4 and the player’s third card has a value between 2 and 7, then the banker should draw another card.
- If the banker has a hand with a value of 5 and the player’s third card is valued at anything between 4 and 7 then the banker should draw a third card.
- If the banker has a hand valued at 6 and the player’s third card has a value between 6 and 7, then the banker should draw another card.
- If the banker has a hand valued at anything between 7 and 9, the banker won’t draw a third card.
While most real-world casinos will have a casino employee whose responsibility it is to tell players and bankers when they need to draw a third card, it’s still important for a player to have a good understanding of how hand valuation works. Since hand valuation plays such a crucial part in the game of baccarat, knowing the rules can greatly strengthen a player’s game.
It may take a bit of practice for a player to grasp baccarat hand valuation but with enough practice a player will soon master it. And it won’t take long for a player to see how understanding hand valuation improves his/her game.