How to Play Baccarat
Like roulette, Baccarat is one of the oldest table games played at casinos around the world. The 3-betting options and short rounds of play make this game popular among players everywhere. However, for a novice, the rules of Baccarat may seem complicated or exotic.
If you want to play Baccarat, our guide can help you understand the gameplay. Through this guide, you get to know the baccarat rules, card values, and some basic strategies and tips to play Baccarat online.
Brief History of Baccarat
Baccarat is a French game, taken from the Italian word baccarat, which means ‘Zero.’ The word zero also refers to face cards’ point value (kings, queens, and jacks). The game was first introduced in France by Italians way back in the late 1400s. Quickly, it became a favourite game of King Charles VIII. Later in the late fifties, US casinos came out with its version of Chemin de fer.
Difference between Chemin de fer and Baccarat
Baccarat is the direct ancestor of Chemin de fer, and both have quite similar gameplay. However, in modern casinos, there has been one significant difference in both their gameplays.
While in Baccarat, you bet against the house; in Chemin de fer, all players get to bet amongst themselves and not against the house. So, whoever becomes the ‘Banker‘ in chemin de fer, the casino house, takes a commission from them in each round.
Getting to Know the Game
Most online and live casinos in the UK, Canada, Macau, Australia, and America offer Baccarat, called punto banco. Unlike chemin de fer and Baccarat Banque, in baccarat or punto banco, no one forces you to keep tabs on who the Banker is, and you do not have to fight for the role.
In every round, the house remains the Banker, and you can put your wager
- Either on the Banker
- Or on a player
- Or a tie
The game is of pure chance, and once you have placed your bets, you have no further decisions to make. The online Baccarat offers some of the lowest house edge percentages.
On a standard 8-deck baccarat game, the house edge percentages –
- Banker’s Hand – 1.06%
- Player’s Hand – 1.24%
- Betting on aTie – It has the highest house edge percentage – 14.36%
Note: Unlike tie or player bets, if you place banker bets, you will have to pay a 5% commission on it.
In Baccarat, you have mainly two actions to do – ‘Draw or Stand.’ If you choose ‘Draw’ – it means you want an additional card dealt, and it brings your total hand size up to three cards.
The goal is to make up a hand with a card value of 9 or as close to it. So, the rules dictate when a participant can draw or stand. The rules for the Banker and players are separate.
Player’s Hand Rules
The Player’s Hand and action determine how the game moves forward. The Banker follows the Player’s action.
- If you get an initial total of 5 or less, you can draw a third card.
- If you get a total of 6 or 7, then you must stand.
Banker’s Hand Rules
As the Banker always follows the Player’s action, if a player stands (has two cards), the Banker follows it and does not take a third card.
- If the Banker’s hand value falls between 0 to 5 – they ‘Draw.’
- If the Banker’s hand value falls between 6 or 7 – they ‘Stand.’
The Third Card Rule
Things get complicated when players draw a third card. The dealer does all actions, and you don’t need to worry about it. But it’s best to know what to expect.
So here are the rules the Banker follows, if you draw a third card
- The Banker draws a card every time if its hand value is 2 or less.
- If the Banker’s hand value is 3, it draws unless the Player’s third card was an 8
- If the Banker’s hand value is 4, it draws if the Player’s third card was a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
- If the Banker’s hand value is 5, it draws if the Player’s third card was 4, 5, 6 or 7
- If the Banker’s hand value is 6, it draws if the Player’s third card was a 6 or a 7
- If the Banker’s hand value is 7, it stands every time.
Baccarat Betting Rules
There are three options of betting in Baccarat, excluding any side bets and pair bets. You decide by placing the bets on the one you think will win the round.
If you believe you will win, you put the chips marked in the area called ‘Players.’ If your hand-value is closer to 9, you win and receive a 1:1 payout. The house edge on a Player bet is 1.24% whether you play with 6 or 8 decks, and it’s 1.29% if you play with a single deck.
If you think the Banker will win, you put the chips in the spot marked as ‘Banker.’ It is the most popular bet in Baccarat. The house edge is as low as 1.06% in a 6 or 8 deck game and 1.01% in a single deck game. As the banker bet has a payout of 19:20, the house charges a 5% commission.
Note: You must place all wagers before any of the shuffled cards get drawn.
The Tie Bet
It’s a betting option wherein you bet on a tie or an ‘equal result.’ You believe both the Banker and the Player will end the round with the same total points. It is one of the most tempting betting options in Baccarat, with a payout at 8 to 1 odds for a win.
However, it has the highest house edge in Baccarat.
- A 6-deck game – 14.44%
- An 8-deck game – 14.36%
- Single deck game – 15.75%
Quick TIP: Stick to either of the betting positions (Player or Banker). Even though they have lesser odds of winning, they have considerably lower house edge percentages.
Side Bet Rules
There are various possible side bets in Baccarat. It all depends on the casino site and the game developers which they offer. Some of the examples are
- Dragon Bonus
It’s a bet based on the size of the disparity between the winning and losing hand-value. It means if you bet on a win disparity of 6, the winning and losing hands must be at least 6 points apart.
It’s a set of four side bets. In this, the final hand-value of either of the two hands in play decides the game – even or odd.
- Big and Small
It’s a bet on the total number of cards in play. If 4-cards are on the table at the end of the game – a small bet win. If 5 or 6 cards are on the table at the end – a big bet win.
Pair Bet Rules
If you are making a pair bet, you can either choose ‘Player’s Hand’ or ‘Banker’s Hand’ and bet on forming a matching pair. It does not specify the card value. So you can make any pairs – two 10s, two 5s, two Aces, or any other card value; the only rule is – it is dealt with in pairs. In an 8-deck game, the house edge is 10.36%, and in a 6-deck game, the house edge is 11.25%.
Note: Suits do not matter in the game of Baccarat.
Baccarat Card Values
The point system in Baccarat helps in determining the winner quickly in a game round. Based on card value, the points get assigned in the game.
- The card value of all ‘10s‘ and face cards (Kings, Queens, and Jacks) – ZERO
- The card value of all Ace cards – ONE
- The card value of all Numbered cards – Is at their Face Value, i.e., 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9
- It is called a Natural Hand when your total hand value with two cards is 8 or 9. When it comes either in the ‘Player’s Hand’ or ‘Banker’s Hand,’ the game ends immediately, with no additional card drawing option.
- If your two-card total exceeds TEN, then the ten-digit is disregarded. (i.e., You have one card as ‘10′ and another card as ‘5‘. As per baccarat rules, the card value of ’10s‘ become ‘ZERO‘; making your hand value stand at FIVE)
Baccarat Gameplay Basics
The baccarat table has specifically marked and numbered player positions on it. In front of each player spot, a banker position is there, and depending upon your choice of bet (Player Vs. Banker), you can place your chips.
If you want to bet for the ‘TIE,’ you can see the payout mentioned on the table – ‘TIE 8 TO 1′ or ‘TIE 9 TO 1’. You can place your chips between the banker position and player position for a tie bet.
In a casino baccarat game, there are three dealers –
- Two dealers responsible for collecting losing bets and paying out winners
- One dealer stands and deals the cards to players. He is known as the ‘Call Man,’ and he also announces the winner.
Note: In most online or live dealer online baccarat games, it has only one dealer, and it performs all three functions.
The baccarat payout in both the Banker and the player betting position stands at – 1 to 1. But, in the case of a ‘Tie Bet,’ it depends on the ‘Tie’ wager payout terms and conditions of a casino.
So it can be either 8 to 1 or even 9 to 1, as mentioned on the baccarat table you are playing.
- The 8 to 1 payout applies to the bet on a ‘Tie ‘without a commission fee. In it, the bets are returned.
- When a bet on ‘Banker’s Hand’ wins – you get an even cash payout on the initial bet minus a 5% commission.
- When a bet on ‘Player’s Hand’ wins – you get an even cash payout on the initial bet but with no commission to the house.
Real Money Online Baccarat
Online Baccarat has the reputation of being an elite game with no complexity. Traditionally, it was offered as a high rollers’ game with more than £100 per spin. But, many variations of the game available online give you also a chance to play-for-free.
Types of Online Baccarat Games
Online baccarat games are mobile-friendly, and the majority of these games come from renowned gaming software providers. Some of the most popular types of online baccarat games include
- Baccarat Banque
It’s played with three decks of cards and ten players. In it, players can bet on two hands, and they can use strategy to beat the Banker.
- Punto Banco
It’s the American version of the baccarat game. In it, you use between 6 and 8 decks to play the game, with a maximum of twelve players at a time.
- Chemin de Fer
It’s a French variant of the game played with 6-decks. In this version, players compete against each other instead of playing against a dealer. You can play it with a minimum of eight and a maximum of twelve players.
- EZ Baccarat
It’s the most popular baccarat variant that follows the same rules. The only difference is the Banker’s bet rule where
- All wins pay even money
- If a banker wins on 7 with a third card total, then the banker bet will get pushed
- Mini Baccarat
This variant follows the rules of the American Baccarat. It has a reasonable table limit for players, and you can enjoy the game even if you have an average bankroll size.
- Live Casino Baccarat
It follows the same rules of the baccarat game played with 6 or 8 decks of cards against a live dealer online. The main difference with the game is the speed of the game and the squeezing of cards.
Real Money Online Baccarat vs. Free Baccarat Online
Some of the best casino sites nowadays have free online Baccarat. They offer you a chance to test your skills in the game. However, many play Baccarat online for the thrill of winning real money. Playing Baccarat online (free or with cash) gives you the chance to enjoy the gameplay in the comfort of your home.
Moreover, online baccarat games ensure the safety of your personal information and bank details. All top online baccarat websites use security procedures like SSL encryption and get audited regularly.
So, here are some of the benefits of both of them to make your choice.
Real Money Online Baccarat Games
- You get options to pick a game with high and low stakes both.
- You get a chance to win real cash.
- You get a sign-up bonus, other rewards, or bonuses in it.
Note: Remember to get the bonus amount, you have to play through several casino games for a specific number of rounds. It can cost you money.
Free Online Baccarat Games
- Free baccarat games give you a chance to understand the betting system and third-card rules without risking your money.
- You can have fun and sharpen your skills for the game without the pressure to enrol on any loyalty program.
- It gives you a chance to enjoy using the same software with others playing baccarat games for real money.
- Unlike real money baccarat, you can play free Baccarat for several hours and build your bankroll using game credits.
Note: Read at least one or two reviews of a casino to know the experiences of other players playing regarding getting the winnings or customer support before you switch to play with real money.
Are online baccarat games legal?
Yes, online Baccarat is a legal casino game permitted to play in most countries, including Canada, the UK, and the US.
Moreover, compared to live Baccarat, online Baccarat is safer to play on reputed licensed casino sites. The game uses the random number generator (RNG) to determine the result, and agencies like eCogra, TST, and the UK Gambling Commission test its return to player (RTP) rate periodically.
When you are playing with actual money, you need some winning strategy. But unfortunately, it leaves little scope for a skilful player to lower the house edge in Baccarat. However, you can use some tactics to conserve your money.
The most effective approach to this game is to focus on betting on a banker. The Banker winning odds are favourable in a standard 8-deck game – house edge stands at 1.06%.
Payouts on an online or live baccarat game
- Banker Bet: 19 to 20
- Player Bet: Even money
- Tie Bet: 8 to 1
- Player Pair and Banker Pair: 10 to 1
It’s a game of chance. Therefore, you must research carefully before trying any betting system. There is no such thing as shuffle tracking and card counting in Baccarat. It all depends on your luck, whether you lose or win.
So, use the baccarat tips to ensure you don’t lose your hard-earned money blindly.
Tips for Managing Your Bankroll
Learning to manage your bankroll ensures you don’t turn into a problem gambler from a casual gambler. It helps you enjoy gambling games safely.
- Set a budget and place your bets in-line with it. If you have a £500 budget, betting £500 on a single hand means no more games for the night, mate!
- If you are a novice and trying real money baccarat games, limit your wagers to 2.5-5% of your bankroll on a given-hand.
- Start with small bets and observe the game. Then gradually grow into placing the odd side bets.
Note: Remember, it’s a game of chances, so avoid chasing losses with more money and play recklessly.
Tips to Enhance Your Chances of Winning at Online Baccarat
There is no such thing as a winning strategy in Baccarat, but you can follow these tips to enhance your winning chances.
- Study the rules of the game thoroughly.
- Start with free mode before diving into real money play.
- Avoid hitting the table as a high roller.
- Check the game-odds, and always go with the Banker’s bet as it has a higher payout than the Player’s bet.
- Know your limits and quit playing if you are getting emotional and angrier with losses.
- Avoid Tie bet; it has the highest house edges.
- Always remember to pick your bonuses as it can make significant differences when you are playing baccarat games online for money.
Baccarat is a simple and easy-to-play, fun game, but it does not guarantee you a win. Take advantage of the online casino promotional offers and bonuses to boost your bankroll. Always go with the licensed and regulated casino sites and use the tips to play the game with fun.
You may also like: How To Play Roulette