Baccarat has an amazing allure for gamblers, especially those from the Pacific Rim. Punto Banco, a fancier game, is very similar, and a new game, 3 Card Baccarat, takes the best of both games and creates a new game that’s quick and easy to learn and play. In addition to being player friendly, it also holds a small house edge.
In the gaming capital of Macau, the game has a growing popularity, especially with players unlikely to play at the high limits many baccarat tables demand. Online casinos are now spreading 3 Card Baccarat too, and players have found the game to be quite appealing.
Rules for 3-Card Baccarat
The game of 3 Card Baccarat is fairly new, and still evolving, so different variations of the game are found. At each, the game is dealt from a standard 52-card deck. The suits have no bearing on the outcome of any hand. Like regular baccarat, face cards and 10’s count as 0, Aces are 1, and all cards 2 through 9 are their pip value (a 7 equals 7 points, etc.).
At the casinos of Macau, the dealer shuffles the deck, waits for players to make their bets, and deals three cards for the player hand, and three cards for the dealer hand. Bettors can wager on the dealer hand or the player hand winning. The highest hand has three face cards, and the high hand wins. A tie is a push and no chips are exchanged. Winning wagers pay a 5% commission. Pretty simple. However, bettors may also wager on individual dealer totals.
Dealer Total Wagers
3 Card Baccarat also offers a bet on any total for the dealer’s three cards, which is placed in individual boxes. The probability of each number, from 1 to 9, runs close to 10% and each number pays 8 to 1 when it wins. Wagering on 0 points for the dealer’s total also pays 8 to 1 when it wins and has a much smaller house edge of just 2.91 %.
A tie bet is also available, but the house edge of over 20% makes it a poor wager.
Online 3-Card Baccarat
3 Card Baccarat is not available at the majority of Asian online casinos. It is normally offered as a live dealer game, as well as in standard Flash format.
To make the game of 3 Card Baccarat more exciting and more player-friendly, several websites offer the game with slightly modified rules. While the game is played the same, the payoffs are adjusted. When totaling a 2-digit hand value, the first digit is dropped, so a hand of 8-7-6 is not 21, as in blackjack. In 3 Card Baccarat this hand is 1.
After the player makes their wager, the dealer shows three cards, face-up for the player and for the dealer spots. The best hand is three face cards. If both hands are the face cards it is a tie. If there is no hand with three face cards, then the point totals are compared and the highest total wins. If the hands have the same total, then the hand with the most face cards wins (a hand of Jack-Queen-8, beats a hand of Jack -9-9, although they both total 8). If two hands have the same total and the same number of face cards it is again a tie.
In 3 Card Baccarat if the player hand is higher, they are paid even money minus a 3% commission. For instance, a $5 bet wins $4.85 and any ties are a push with no money exchanged. A tie wager that pays only 16 to 1 in Macau, typically pays 25 to 1 online, a much friendlier wager.
The bettor can also wager on the dealer’s hand total (from 0 to 9 points), as in live casinos, and again the payoff is 8 to 1. In addition, bettors can also wager on Three Faces, and when the dealer is dealt three face cards the wager pays 96 to 1.
To further entice players, some online sites offer No House Edge 3 Card Baccarat. In this rule variation the website casino does not charge the 3% commission, but still has an edge on other wagers – and may demand that at least one other wager be made each betting round.