How to Play Baccarat

by James Smith |
Date of Publishing: 02/11/2021

In this guide on how to play baccarat, we will explain the rules, bets, and how to play the game in simple, easy-to-follow steps. We will also cover the history of the classic casino game and provide a few tips along the way.

The History of Baccarat

The name baccarat is French and is thought to originate from an old card game that is thought to have been invented in Italy around the 1400s. Coming from the Italian word ‘zero’ is related to the fact that the tens and face cards have a value of zero.

Throughout its history baccarat has been considered a game of chance where player involvement begins and ends with his wager – there are no other strategic choices made throughout the game – in fact, players only touch the cards (in land-based games) if they have the highest wager on the player’s side.

How to Play Baccarat In Simple Terms

No matter what financial variations are attached to the game, the rule and the associated game-play remain the same. In the online casino game version of the game, players are usually offered the choice of playing the game’s standard version or the ‘live dealer’* version.

*The live dealer version of the game takes place in real-time and are hosted by a real live human dealer streamed from a land-based venue

An intriguing game long associated with a classic Bond movie setting, baccarat may seem intimidating. Still, it is quite a simple game to play, although this does not detract at all from the excitement you will enjoy whilst placing your wagers.

With a relatively low, player-friendly house edge, the rules are pretty straightforward, which we are going to discover below.

Possible Outcomes

The game of baccarat has three possible outcomes. The player can win, the banker can win or the hand ends up as a ‘tie’. In the game of baccarat, the banker does not refer to the house and those that are participating in the game have the option to bet on either the player or the banker’s hand.

Rules of Baccarat

First things first, and that is that all the betting on any one particular hand must be completed before the hand begins. Once all bets have been placed, the game starts with two cards being dealt, each of the two hands: the Player hand and a Bank hand.

The whole objective of the game is to try to decide which of those hands will end up with a total that is closest to nine. When you bet on a game of baccarat, you must decide whether to go with the Player hand, the Bank hand or whether the game is going to end up in a tie (as we mentioned above in ‘possible outcomes’)

All the tens and the ‘face cards’ have a value of zero, and an ace has the value of one – all other cards score at their own face value.

What Happens if a Score is Higher Than Nine?

If a hand does score higher than nine, then it is adjusted by subtracting ten from the original total (leave six from the total of sixteen, or two from the total of the two cards being twelve)

Some house rules can vary, and one of those rules is whether the bank or the player hands are entitled to draw a third card – If this is allowed, there will always be a maximum of three cards allowed for any hand.

If you manage to bet on a winning player hand correctly, you will ear a 1 to 1 payout – accurately forecasting a winning bank hand will also earn you a 1 to 1 payout but under baccarat rules you must also pay a 5% commission (which has the effect of reducing the payout odds on this hand from 19 to 20)

A winning bet tie bet earns you a payout of 8 to 1

Playing a Game of Baccarat

  • We know that you can bet on either two hands, one being the Banker’s hand and the other being the Player’s hand. As a player you must bet on either hand and all bets have to be placed before any cards are dealt.
  • Two cards are then dealt to both the Banker and the Player. The cards are dealt from the ‘shoe’ and one card is placed face up into the Player’s box on the table. The next card, which is the first of the Banker’s hand, is placed similarly into the Banker’s box on the table. The house then deals another Player card, and after that, the second Bankers card is dealt. So this makes two cads total for both the Player and the Banker
  • Remember, tens and face cards are worth zero points, the ace is worth one point and all other cards are counted at their face value. For example, if you had a nine and a six totaling fifteen, you would call five as your total – the winning hand is the closest to nine.
  • A natural win is one where the first two cards dealt total either eight or nine (for either the Player or the Banker) When this happens the game is over and the bets which have already been placed are cashed out.
  • In the event of a tie neither hand is a winner or loser and in some cases a commission is paid out of winnings when betting on the Banker’s hand.

A Few Handy Tips

  • Mini baccarat games are perfect for beginners as they have lower table limits and a smaller number of players, making the game less intimidating.
  • As a rule of thumb, try to play games with less than eight decks of card and remember never to wager all of your bankroll on a single bet
  • Usually, bets on the banker have the best chances of producing a win
  • The least chance of a win is produced by betting on a tie – the odds against one of the players winning are far better.’
  • While placing your bets, remember to start with small amounts, and even though you might believe otherwise, counting cards whilst playing baccarat does not work.
  • A natural eight hand can only be beaten by a natural nine hand, and you have to draw your cards if your total comes out lower than six or seven.
  • Online casinos offer some great bonuses and promotional offers, which do increase your bankroll, so remember to check them out before opting in.

About the Author

Author: James Smith.

James Smith has been writing about casino games and strategies for over a decade. He is an expert in the industry and loves to help people get started with online gambling. In his free time, James enjoys reading books by other successful authors, cycling around town, or playing poker.