How to Play Baccarat: Tips & Rules

how to play baccarat

Anyone can learn how to play Baccarat. It is a casino game with some of the best odds, perfect for new players with no need for strategies or skills. Let’s start with the Baccarat rules!

The Objective of the Game

Playing Baccarat is straightforward. It’s a guessing casino card game! You bet on the Banker’s hand or the Player’s hand to win. The objective is to predict which of the two hands will come closest to nine. The hand with the highest points wins.

Baccarat Breakdown

Before you start playing, here are all the key elements of the game:

Baccarat Table

The Baccarat Table may look complex but is far from it. Baccarat tables have 7 to 14 seats, depending on the version. There’s also a dealer’s area. Despite the number of players, only two hands are dealt: the Player’s and the Banker’s.

Baccarat table

Three Betting Areas

Each player gets a spot where they can place their bets. Players don’t receive any cards and don’t need to do anything other than decide who they wish to bet on. Three bet boxes are available above their number on the felt table top, one for Player, Banker, and Tie.

Betting areas

The Dealer

At the center of the table, you will notice the dealer. He or she is responsible for dealing cards and calculating the winnings and losses.

The dealer

The Commission Box

The dealer takes a 5% commission on winning bets on the Banker’s hand. A long rectangle with numbers tracks all commissions next to the bank in full Baccarat. Other tables have a commission circle next to each betting area. Each number represents a player, and the dealer marks it when a player owes commission until they pay and leave the table.

Commission Box

Baccarat Rules

In Baccarat, each player can bet on either the banker or the player. There’s a possibility to bet on a tie, but we’ll cover that later. Each bet has a payout of 1:1. Once all the bets are placed, the dealer draws four cards – two for both the Player and the Banker. The cards dealt are then calculated, and whichever card sum is closest to 9 (but not over it) wins.

Baccarat is often referred to as a simplified version of Blackjack. Many baccarat variants, such as Punto Banco, Chemin de fer, or mini Baccarat, mostly play the same. The main difference is whether the player and the dealer can alternate between being the banker.

So, let’s talk about the two betting options: Banker Bets and Player Bets.

Two Betting Options

Betting on the Player doesn’t mean betting on yourself. Many players can play Baccarat by betting on the same player. In other words, betting on the player means betting on a different set of cards.

Viewing the Banker and Player as colors may put things in perspective. Think Red and Blue or Black and White.

The cards are dealt to each side by the dealer, and whichever side has better cards wins. This also means that there isn’t a single Baccarat Strategy that can ensure you win each round. There are, however, betting strategies to help you manage losses and mathematically improve your chances.

Info about winning tie bets

If players bet on a tie and win, they get paid 8:1 odds. However, betting on a tie isn’t always recommended due to low probability.

An 8:1 bet may be tempting, but like those odds, the chances of that happening is low. That’s why betting on the Player or the Banker is much safer and keeps you playing longer.

Baccarat Card Values

In Baccarat, point calculation differs from most games. A special rule states that the highest score is nine. No hand value can exceed it. The cards in a Baccarat game are worth as follows:

  • Cards 2 – 9 are worth their face value
  • Aces are worth one point
  • 10s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings are worth no points

Baccarat Rules

If the banker and the player have the same total sum, it’s a tie! In that case, all the bets are returned to the players unless they wagered on a tie bet in the first place.

Adding up points

When adding up points in Baccarat, once the value reaches a double digit, the second digit becomes the hand’s actual value.

Example: 10 becomes 0, 11 becomes 1, and so on.

When the total points reach 10 or more, drop the first digit to get the hand’s score.

Example: A hand of 9 and 6 adds up to 15, which becomes a 5-point hand.

The winning bet is placed on the hand closest to 9.

4 Easy Steps to Play Baccarat

  1. Start with a game plan: Set a budget beforehand and stick to it.
  2. Place your bet: Before dealing the cards, bet on either the Banker’s hand, the Player’s hand, or a Tie.
  3. Learn how a round works: Two cards are dealt for the Banker and the Player’s hands. Understand when a third card might be drawn.
  4. Know the winning hand: After the hands are played, the one closest to 9 points wins.

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The Third Card

In some cases, neither the player nor the banker has a total sum over 5. This scenario necessitates drawing a third card for each side. The player receives the third card first.

Third Card Rules For The Player

  • When the Player’s hand totals 8 or 9 points, it’s considered a natural win. No extra cards are drawn.
  • The Player’s hand stands on point totals of 6 or 7.
  • A third card is drawn if the Player’s total is anywhere between 0 to 5 unless the Banker has 8 or 9.

After receiving it, the banker draws a third card based on a few rules of his own.

Third Card Rules For The Banker

  • If the banker sum is less or equal to 2, they draw a third card regardless of the player’s third card.
  • If the banker sum is 3, they draw another card unless the player’s third card is an 8.
  • If the banker sum is 4, they draw a third card if the player’s third card is 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7.
  • If the banker sum is 5, they draw a third card if the player’s third card is 4, 5, 6, or 7.
  • If the banker sum is 6, they draw a third card if the player’s third card is either a 6 or a 7.
  • If the banker sum is 7, they stand and may not draw a third card.

The third card

Banker Bet – you should always bet on this!

By now, you should have a good idea of how Baccarat works. You might already be considering betting on the player or the banker (the tie bet isn’t worth betting on). So, which one should you bet on? The banker, of course!

So why bet on the banker? Simple! The banker bet has slightly better odds of winning than the player bet. If you want to learn more about banker Baccarat odds, check out our latest article.

First of all, the banker draws AFTER the player. This may not matter in the long run, but it has a lower house edge. This is especially true when the third card is drawn because the banker’s hand gets the advantage because of all the additional rules.

The banker wins, under normal circumstances, about 51% of games. Because of this, a 5% commission is normally charged for each banker bet won. Without this commission, many baccarat players (who bet on the banker) would win more than the casino would like.

However, even with this 5% commission, the banker bet is a better deal with its low house edge of only 1,06% (as opposed to the Player house edge of 1,24%).

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How To Play Baccarat: The Winning Hand

Once the deck has been dealt and the hands played out, victory goes to the hand closest to a sum of 9 points. A hand never exceeds three cards! In the unique event of a tie, neither hand claims victory nor suffers defeat. The dealer neatly gathers the lost bets and generously rewards the winners.

Note, there’s a subtle 5% commission on winning bets solely on the Banker’s hand. This is the secret sauce of the casino’s profits from Baccarat. These commissions are carefully logged in the dealer’s commission box each time they’re incurred. After each successful Banker’s hand, they are collected. Like most casino games, a game of Baccarat has a way of upholding the house edge.

Where Can I Play Baccarat Online?

You can play Baccarat online in almost any online casino. If you aren’t sure where to begin, check out our list of some of the best Bitcoin online casinos with baccarat games.

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