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The players have no discretion as to whether or not a card will be drawn to either hand. This is spelled out by the rules of the game. Sometimes a hand must stand pat; other times is a must receive an additional card. In no case is more than one card ever drawn to single hand. The rules that govern when a card is to be drawn to either the player hand or the bank hand are uniform from casino to casino and are printed on cards available to the player at the table. On these cards the rules are given in the form of the following chart:

Player Rules

HAVING 1-2-3-4-5-10 DRAWS A CARD 6-7 STANDS 8-9 NATURAL. Bank cannot draw.

Bank Rules

HAVING DRAWS WHEN GIVING DOES NOT DRAW WHEN GIVING 3 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-9-10 8 4 2-3-4-5-6-7 1-8-9-10 5 4-5-6-7 1-2-3-8-9-10 6 6-7 1-2-3-4-5-8-9-10 7 STANDS 8-9 NATURAL. Player cannot draw.

This chart requires a little explaining. The first thing to note is that a hand consisting f a total of 8 or 9 on its initial two cards is termed a natural. When either the player hand or the bank hand receives a natural, neither hand may draw a card; the natural wins automatically. If both hands have naturals, the higher natural wins; a 9 beats an 8. If both hands have totals of 8 or totals of 9, the hand is a tie. Assuming neither hand consists of a natural, the first determination to be made is whether the player hand draws a card. The drawing rules for the player hand are simple. Any total other than 6,7,8, or 9 draws a car. If the player hand does not draw, the bank hand is governed by the same rules as the player hand. No card will be drawn. This last point is not stated in the table of rules but is universally followed

If the player hand does draw a card, the rules governing whether a card will be drawn to the bank hand become a little more complex, because the decision rests both on what total the bank hand has and on what card the player hand has drawn. These rules are listed in the chart above under "Bank Rules." A couple of examples should clarify how to read the chart. If the bank hand has a total of 3 and the player hand has drawn any card except an 8, the bank hand must draw a card. By contrast, if the bank hand totals 6, it will draw only if card drawn by the player hand was a 6 or a 7. If the card to player hand was any other value, the bank hand must stand. Another point that is not mentioned in the printed rules is that the bank hand always draws when holding a total of 0, 1, or 2, unless the player hand has a natural. Incidentally, we have already seen the in baccarat 0 and 10 are synonymous. That is why on some rule cards you will see references to the value 10, while on others the same section will refer to 0. The decision whether or not to draw a card to the bank hand depends entirely on the value of the card drawn to the player hand, not on the value of the player hand itself. This can create some unusual and, for bank-hand bettors, agonizing situations. It will sometimes happen that, after the player hand has drawn a card, the bank hand will already have a better total than the player hand, yet it will still have to draw a card according to the rules of the game. In drawing a card, the bank hand may end up with a poorer total and lose to the a face-up game finds himself in when he turns up a 16 and must draw a card even if this 16 is good enough to beat every player's hand. He realizes that in drawing a card he may bust and lose to hands that he already had beaten, but he has no choice

The reason for this paradoxical situation in baccarat is historical. In the original French version of the game, the player handling the player hand did not have to show his original two cards until the end of the hand. While these two cards remained hidden, the draw card was dealt face up. In deciding whether to draw a card, the banker had to make his decision based purely on the value of the player's visible draw cad and on speculations as to what the players' two face-down cards might consist. Of. What developed was an optimal strategy based on the valued of the banker's hand and the player's draw card. This is similar to basic strategy at blackjack in which the player makes hand and the dealer's up-card. The bank-hand drawing rules followed the player's hand is no longer hidden, the same rules are enforced. Just as a blackjack player might sometimes want to vary from basic baccarat player handling the bank hand might want to vary from his drawing rules because he can see the entire player's hand. Nevertheless, he must in effect, pretend that his opponent's first two cards are hidden. There is no need to memorize the rules governing drawing card whether to deal an additional card to either hand. In fact, most baccarat players don't have the rules completely memorized and just do what the caller tells them to. However, I think you will find it enhances your enjoyment of the game if you do learn them so you can follow along more easily. If you review them from time to time before playing, you will find that the will soon be committed to memory.

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