The third card rule in Baccarat has several steps used to determine whether the Player or Banker hand ends the round with two or three cards. If you already know how to play baccarat at casinos, this feature can be very important for understanding some of the underlying mechanics.

To determine how many cards a hand will stand with, different rules are used for the Banker and Player side. Since the first two Player cards are the first to be revealed in any round, that’s where you start.

How Does the Third Card Work in Baccarat?

To determine how many cards a hand will stand with, different rules are used for the Banker and Player side. The rules are fairly straightforward when it comes to the Player hand. Since the first two Player cards are the first to be revealed in any round, that’s where you start. The Banker side, however, depends on several things, including all currently known cards on the table.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’ll go with a step-by-step guide for knowing when to draw the third card in Baccarat.

When Does Player Draw the Third Card?

Every baccarat game follows the same process. Two cards are dealt to Player and Banker each. The first to be revealed are the initial Player cards, and they’re the ones you look at first.

The Player third card in Baccarat is thankfully the simpler part of this process. Simply look at the total value of the two cards to determine whether you need an additional one.

  • If the Player’s initial two cards have a total of 0-5, the Player is dealt an additional one.
  • If the Player’s first two cards total 6 or 7, Player stands pat. This means that no new cards are received and the Banker initial hand is revealed next.
  • If the first two cards are showing an 8 or 9, no new cards are drawn and that side wins outright. This is also called a natural hand or natural win. If both Player and Banker end up drawing a natural win, the round is considered a tie. The only exception is that a natural of 9 beats a natural of 8.

Pretty simple, right?

Note that these are the standard rules for Punto Banco, which are the rules you’re usually using when you play Baccarat at live casinos. Almost all the variations of baccarat found at live casinos work this way. This fact also extends to more exotic variants such as Peek Baccarat. Peek Baccarat merely allows players to wager at additional stages of any given round. The rules that determine when a third card is drawn in Punto Banco still apply.

Baccarat Third Card Rule Chart

The rules we outlined above make a lot of sense if you start you get some practice in. However, all of these conditions and clauses can be a bit overwhelming if you’re still new. This is why we made this handy little chart to help you out.

The Baccarat chart for the third card rules below can be quickly and easily used for reference. We have a few notes about the chart, though.

First of all, the chart is only used if the Player side already has three cards on the table. The mechanics for getting there are quite simple, and we assume that we don’t have to remind you that an initial score of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 is needed. Once you get to that point, use the baccarat chart below to figure out what the next move is.

Why Does the Banker Bet Win more in Baccarat?

In simple terms, it’s because the Banker only draws the third card when it suits them. Consider the rules we listed above and note how Banker only draws the third card if it essentially already has an unfavorable hand compared to the Player. The third card rules in Baccarat state that Banker draws only if it’s not about to win the current hand. Remember –the relative strength of your Punto Banco hand entirely depends on what the other side currently has.

On the flip side, the Player is “forced” to draw no matter the Banker’s hand. Statistically speaking, 0 is the most likely value you’re going to see from a single card. That’s because 10s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings all count as 0, so it’s 4 times as likely to appear. In other words, you’ll probably end up right back where you started after drawing the third card in baccarat.

Even if the Player only draws the third Baccarat card with “weak” hands, the hand is more likely to be weaker after drawing than before. This is not always the case, but consider the following example. If you have a total of 5, the only cards that will actually make your hand stronger are 1, 2, 3, and 4. Everything else is either a downgrade or doesn’t do anything.

All of this sounds a lot worse than it really is, though. If we look back at the statistics, you’ll see that Player has a bigger house edge, but it’s merely 0.18%. This is only really relevant if you’re using a specific baccarat strategy.

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