Group of people playing at Baccarat table
Group of people playing at Baccarat table

How to Play Baccarat: Rules, Odds, & Tips

Casino players love to play baccarat, because it is both easy to learn and a game that can be completed rather quickly. Unlike other casino games, there is no need to study up on different strategies because this game is primarily a game of chance.

Here are some basic tips on how to play and what to look for when getting started.

Baccarat Rules

Player wins hand in Baccarat
Player wins hand in Baccarat

Baccarat is simple because there are only three bets you can make. When you compare that to blackjack or roulette, both of which have numerous wager options, it is easy to see why some players prefer the simplification of baccarat.

In baccarat, you must make your bet before the cards are dealt. Your three options to bet on are the Player, the Banker or a Tie. You are betting on the result of that particular round and can adjust your bet for each round.

Cards will be dealt after all players make the bet. The dealer plays out the Player’s hand, followed by the Banker’s hand. Two cards are then dealt face up to the Player and the Banker. Both the Player and Banker receive two cards each. The aim is to get a total closest to 9, with 9 being the best score.

If the two cards add up to more than nine — for example you have an 8 and a 7 to make a 15 — then the second digit of the total counts as your score. In this case, that would be 5 points. Don’t worry, the dealer does all the work in baccarat and you can just enjoy playing.

Wagers are then paid out depending on the result of the round.

Ranks of cards

Since the object of the game is to get as close to 9without going over, it is important to understand the value of each card.

Cards 2-9 are face value, meaning 9 is worth nine points

10, Jack, Queen and King each have a value of “0” in this game

Ace has value of 1

For example, a combination of an 8 and Queen would mean your total is worth eight. An Ace and 6 would be worth seven.

Types of Bets

Baccarat is a game of chance, so players must place bets before cards are dealt. You have three options to choose from when placing a bet on a given round.

  • Banker’s hand — Winning bets pay 1:1 but are subject to a 5% commission, or vigorish. As an example, a $105 wager will pay $100. You will often see this on the game layout marked as .95:1

  • Player’s hand — A winning bet on this hand pays out even money, with no commission. So, a $20 bet would net you $20 in winnings.

  • Tie — Betting on a Tie between the Player and Banker would net a payout of 8-1. A $20 bet would net you $160 in winnings. There are also 9:1 and 7:1 game options.

Natural Win vs. Dealing With a Third Card

Once the bets are placed, a total of four cards are dealt on the table. The first card slides into the Player’s box, while the second card is put in the Banker’s box. This is repeated so that each box has two cards.

Natural Win

If the point total is 8 or 9 for either the Player or the Banker when the cards are dealt, this is called a natural win and the game is over. Placed bets are paid out depending on the result of that particular round.

When is a Third Card Drawn?

If neither hand totals 8 or 9, the dealer may draw an additional card on one or more hands, depending on its total. The rules for when a third card is drawn are very clear, and not left to the decision of the player unlike with blackjack.

Third Card Rules For The Player

The Player only draws a third card when the total is between 0 and 5, unless the Banker has 8 or 9 for a natural win.

Third Card Rules For The Banker

If the Player does not need to draw the third card, the Banker stays on the total of 6 or 7 and draws a card on a total of 0-5. If a player draws a third card, below are the rules for The Banker:

If the Player draws a 9, 10, face-card, or Ace as a third card — Banker draws on a 0-3 score and stays on a 4-7 score

If the Player draws an 8 as a third card — Banker draws on a 0-2 score and stays on a 3-7 score

If the Player draws a 6 or 7 as a third card — Banker draws on a 0-6 score and stays on a total of 7

If the Player draws a 4 or 5 as a third card — Banker draws on a 0-5 score and stays on a total of 6 or 7

If the Player draws a 2 or 3 as a third card — Banker draws on a 0-4 score and stays on a total of 5, 6, or 7.

The dealer keeps track of all this for you, so just sit back and relax!

Odds

Counting chips at Baccarat table
Counting chips at Baccarat table

The Banker has the edge when playing this game. The difference between baccarat and most other casino games, however, is that you can choose to bet with the house.

Here are the house edges for all three bets:

  • The Banker: 1.06%

  • The Player: 1.36%

  • Tie: 14.4%

Odds for the Player's hand to win a game in baccarat are 44.62%, while the Player’s hand loses an expected 45.85% of the time. The chance for a hand to end in a tie is 9.53%.

Conclusion

Now that you understand the basics of baccarat, it is time to test your knowledge at the tables.

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