How to Play Baccarat: Introduction
We'll start this guide on how to play Baccarat by telling you that this is a card game in which a Player and a Banker aim to get a total as close to 9 as possible. Picture cards and 10s have no value, Aces count as 1, and all other cards have their face value. When you begin, two cards will be dealt to each of the Player and the Banker. A third card may then be dealt to one or both of those hands, depending on their initial totals.
Whether or not the Player or Banker receives a third card is determined strictly by the Baccarat rules of the specific game. It is not something for the Player or Banker to decide of their own accord. Because of this, neither the Player nor the Banker can influence the outcome of the game. They can simply play things out according to the rules.
This being the case, it is also important to note that you aren't personally trying to beat the Banker. Instead, you simply bet on whether the Player or the Banker hand will win, or whether it will result in a Tie.
Now that you know the basics of the Baccarat rules, it’s time to dive into the deeper waters. With the help of our detailed guide, you’ll learn more about winning strategies, odds for success, and live gaming with the best providers via our complete Baccarat online casino index. Let’s go!
Where to Play Baccarat Online and In Real Life
Baccarat was a table game at land-based casinos long before the internet was around. And it continues to be something of a traditional offering at brick-and-mortar establishments. However, it isn't available at every land-based casino, so if you want to guarantee yourself some action, you are probably better off playing Baccarat online.You can read our reviews of online operators by visiting our online casinos page that we’ve mentioned above. However, don't forget that different states have different rules about which casinos can and can't operate within their boundaries, so your own choice may be more limited. Our state pages will allow you to see the full online gambling USA picture with what laws apply in your own location. Some of the online casinos that we are always happy to recommend are highlighted below.
How to Play Baccarat
For the purposes of this guide on how to play Baccarat, we will assume that you are playing the game at an online casino, where Punto Banco rules are normally adhered to. Under these Baccarat rules, the casino plays the hands of both the Player and the Banker. Therefore, your only task is to bet on the outcome.
Punto Banco rules are also most common at land-based casinos these days. However, there are still a few venues scattered around the world that allow players to act as Player or Banker, as described in the Ian Fleming novels mentioned earlier. Fortunately, the principles are much the same. Knowing how to play Baccarat online will therefore be useful no matter where you play.
The Basic Baccarat Rules
Baccarat is played using a standard deck of 52 playing cards. However, they will be dealt from a shoe containing six to eight decks in total. When you launch the game, you will be presented with a Baccarat table layout that gives you three betting areas. One is for betting on the Player, one is for betting on the Banker, and the other is for betting on the Tie.
You can bet on whatever outcome you want by placing casino chips to the desired amount in the corresponding area. For example, to bet $10 on the Player you would put a $10 casino chip in the Player area.
The Game Itself
When you have placed your bet, two cards will be dealt to each of the Player and the Banker. As we said earlier, the aim is for a hand to get as close to 9 as possible. An Ace counts as 1 and picture cards and 10s count as 0. All other cards have their face value.
If a hand has two cards that total more than 9, their values are added together and only the second digit of that total is used to score the hand. For example, if the Player is dealt a pair of 8s, that total would be 16, so the hand would be worth 6, which is the second digit of 16.
Should the Player or Banker receive a total of 8 or 9 with the first two cards, the hand is deemed a 'natural'. In this case, the natural hand automatically wins, unless the other hand is also a natural of the same value, in which case a Tie is declared.
Assuming that neither the Player nor Banker receives a natural, a third card may or may not be drawn. The drawing of cards proceeds according to strict rules which are more elaborate for the Banker than for the Player.
Play Hand Drawing Rules
Here are the Baccarat rules for the Player hand:
|Player Hand Total||Rule|
|0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10||A third card is drawn|
|6 or 7||Player stands|
|8 or 9||Natural|
Banker Hand Drawing Rules
The rules for the Banker hand are tied not only to the Banker hand total but also to whether or not the Player drew a third card. If the Player did draw a card, the card draw will also influence the outcome, as you can see below:
|Banker Hand Total||Player's Third Card||Rule|
|0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5||No third card drawn.||A third card is drawn.|
|6 or 7||No third card drawn.||Banker stands.|
|0, 1, 2, 3, 4||2 or 3||A third card is drawn.|
|5, 6, 7||2 or 3||Banker stands.|
|0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5||4 or 5||A third card is drawn.|
|6 or 7||4 or 5||Banker stands.|
|0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6||6 or 7||A third card is drawn.|
|7||6 or 7||Banker stands.|
|0, 1, 2||8||A third card is drawn.|
|3, 4, 5, 6, 7||8||Banker stands.|
|0, 1, 2, 3||9, 10, Picture, Ace||A third card is drawn.|
|4, 5, 6, 7||9, 10, Picture, Ace||Banker stands.|
This all looks rather complicated, but don't forget that the decisions are made automatically. You as the player don't need to do anything other than place the initial bet and allow the hands to play out according to the rules presented above. In other words, learning how to play Baccarat is much easier than most people ever dare to imagine!
Baccarat Payout for Winning
When both hands have been played out, their totals are compared. If the outcome that you wager on has taken place, your bet will win.
- Bet on Player and if you win you will be paid at Baccarat odds of 1:1.
- Bet on Banker and if you win you will be paid an additional 95% of your stake (19:20). This is slightly less than 1:1. The lower Baccarat payout compensates for the Banker bet having a slightly lower house edge.
- Bet on the Tie and if both hands are of equal value you will be paid at Baccarat odds of 8:1.
When you play Live Baccarat online games, they stream to you from a casino studio and it feels exactly like in a land-based venue. You sit at a virtual table and play live dealer Baccarat with a professional human dealer.
The list of Live Baccarat games is extensive, with the classic Punto Banco and Super 6 available at almost every operator in the USA. You can also play Live Baccarat online games via your mobile device: iOS/Android, smartphone, tablet, etc. It’s because the software makes playing with smaller devices very easy and enjoyable, plus the streams are of high quality. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to benefit from the mobile Live Dealer Baccarat experience. It’s possible to do so at almost any Baccarat live casino in the country.
How to Play Live Baccarat Online
There are a few easy steps for anyone interested in playing Live Baccarat online. In just a couple of minutes and after only a couple of clicks you will be able to start your journey in this exciting world.
- Choose your preferred Baccarat live casino: Pick one or more of the operators that we at How To Bet recommended at the beginning and the end of this page, and follow the link(s) we provided.
- Register/Sign In: The next step is to register for a new account or sign in with the one you already have.
- Deposit money into your Baccarat online casino account: Do so by using credit/debit card, or other deposit method listed by the operator.
- Claim your bonus/promo offer: There are plenty of welcome bonuses and other types of promotions at different online casinos. Always read the terms and conditions before confirming that you’re taking the offer.
- Select your Live Dealer Baccarat table: Visit the ‘live casino games’ section of the app/site and pick your Baccarat table. Then you must set your preferred betting limits and game rules.
- Now play and win some money: The moment to place your bets and enjoy the game has finally arrived!
Rules and Specifics of Live Dealer Baccarat
Learning how to play Baccarat online with a live dealer is easy because it requires no skill and your only job is to make a decision to place your bet at the start of the hand. This is how a typical round plays out when playing Live Baccarat.
- Place your bet before cards are dealt: At the start of the round, the wagers are open and you must place your chips on your preferred hand/side bet.
- The live dealer deals two hands: One is for the Banker and one for the Player. Depending on the table rules, each hand then hits with a rank of 5 or less.
- Winning hands are the closest to 9: After the cards have been added together, you’ll have the first digit dropped. For instance, a seven and an eight equals 15, so the value in-game is a five.
Basic Strategies for Playing Live Baccarat
It’s not that easy to get valuable Live Baccarat strategy tips since the game is very simplified in terms of rules and, when the hand plays out, you can’t do much more to change the outcome. There are a couple of good pieces of advice but we’ll get to them a little later.
One of the fundamental traits of knowing how to play Baccarat online and in land-based casinos is understanding the Baccarat odds. Working them out is not a problem whatsoever because there are only three bets you can make. That’s why comparing Baccarat vs. Blackjack or the numerous options in roulette makes absolutely no sense in terms of possibilities.
Speaking of Baccarat odds, the Banker’s chances of winning are valued at 45.86%, those of the Player are 44.62%, and the Tie is the most unlikely outcome at 9.52%. The small difference in favor of the Banker is a result of the fact that his hand is completed last, which is a slight advantage like in blackjack.
Since most players would logically back the Banker for that reason, casinos counterbalance the Baccarat odds by introducing a usual commission of 5% that goes by the name of ‘vig’ (vigorish, also called juice). So if you bet $1000 on Banker and his hand won, your profit would be $9500 instead of $1000.
Baccarat payout and the house edge
This game, a James Bond favorite, has probably the lowest house edge (1.06%) of almost any other table game/slot, excluding blackjack. For expert players it comes even lower at 0.5% and for those of little skill it stands at around 4%.
This means that the normal Baccarat payout is valued at the staggering winning odds of 98.94% over the long term!
Mini- and big Baccarat table layouts are an important feature when it comes to the difference between high-roller and regular games in brick-and-mortar casinos.
The mini-Baccarat table is similar to the blackjack one, the dealer stays behind and up to seven seats are put in front for players. The action is kept simple and so is the layout. Because of that, there are bigger probabilities to have the mini-table used in land-based casinos for smaller stakes and in online venues.
The big Baccarat Table is much more imposing in size and it allows up to 12 or 14 players (13 is forbidden due to superstition reasons) to fit at once. There’s way bigger action here, compared to the mini-layout, so you might see two dealers plus a caller. If you are not a VIP player, chances are you won’t see the big Baccarat table in gambling cities like Las Vegas, Reno, or Atlantic City. They are separated in specially designated areas exclusively for people with very deep pockets.
The online Baccarat table options are fantastic. There are either regular animated tables that use real number generators for card selection, or live Baccarat games with real dealers streamed from a studio. As we mentioned, you will mostly have the mini-Baccarat table layout at your disposal since the players are not physically present and there’s no need for bigger spaces and sizes.
Baccarat Side Bets
Now that you know how to play Baccarat, you may be interested to learn that many games also allow you to place side bets, particularly at land-based casinos. If you're the type of person who wants to play online Baccarat because of its famously low house edge, you'll want to avoid such side wagers at all costs, because they're better for the casino than they are for you. Of course, if you simply want to live a little and take an additional risk for the chance of getting a bigger reward, here are the Baccarat side bets you're most likely to come across:
Banker and Player Pairs
This side bet is only available in games played with eight decks. It requires you to bet that there will be a pair dealt within the first two cards dealt to either the Player or Banker. The house edge on this side bet is 4.2%.
For bigger Baccarat odds, you can bet specifically on the Banker or the Player being dealt a pair.
Perfect Pair Side Bets
Perfect Pair wagers require more than just a pair being dealt to either the Banker or the Player. Here you are betting that this pair will also be of the same suit.
Not all Baccarat games will offer these additional pair bets, but when they do, the table will have spaces dedicated to Banker, Player, Perfect, and Pair. To place your bet on your choice of these, you just need to move your chips to the correct zone on the table.
Payouts on Pairs and Perfect Pairs differ from casino to casino. However, the most common payouts are as follows:
- Perfect Pair: A pair of the same suit and the same rank pays 25:1
- Player Pair: A pair of the same rank dealt to the Player pays 11:1
- Banker Pair: A pair of the same rank dealt to the Banker pays 11:1
- Any Pair: A pair dealt to either the Player or the Banker pays 5:1
Royal Match Side Bet
A Royal Match bet is a wager on either the Banker or the Player being dealt a suited or an unsuited King and Queen within their first two cards. As you have probably guessed, this side bet pays a higher rate for suited than it does for unsuited.
For instance, a suited King and Queen pays out at 75:1, while an unsuited King and Queen pays 30:1. This bet has a house edge of 2.13%.
Big and Small Side Bets
These are Baccarat side bets on the total number of cards that will be dealt in a hand. We know that the minimum number of cards in this game is four. This is because two cards are always dealt to the Player and another two to the Banker.
A bet on Small is a bet that there will be four cards in the hand. This will pay out at odds of 3:2 and has a house edge of 5.27%.
A bet on Big is a bet that there will be five or six cards in the hand. This will pay out at odds of 2:1 and has a house edge of 4.35%.
Baccarat Strategy and Tips
You must already know that in this game cards are dealt in consonance with strict rules and the player doesn't make any decisions. For that reason, the chance factor is a leading one here and being an expert on how to bet is not, so even the best Baccarat betting strategy won’t increase your winning odds.
There are some ways to enjoy less losing sessions though. For instance, when we discuss Baccarat strategy, our primary advice would be to avoid the Tie bet and side bets that seem attractive but usually have a higher house edge. Let’s see some of these useful Baccarat tips in more detail here.
Don’t wager on the Tie
We already discussed the incredibly low house edge with bets on the Player and Banker, and the way higher on the Tie wager. This is more than a valid reason to stay away from it.
Bet on the Banker
The Banker bet has the lowest house edge so side with him.
Stay away from Side Bets
They give the house a greater edge, so you better avoid them if you’re playing for money and not for the fun and excitement.
Keep a slower betting tempo
We know how appealing it might sound to wager your entire budget on a single hand, but it’s not the smartest move you could make. Our advice is to divide your designated sum for playing into ten or more separate bets. This way you’ll be able to enjoy more time at the Baccarat table.
Play with joy
Playing Baccarat online can be really exciting, so get your favorite drink and snack in front of you and enjoy it fully by taking your time for every bet. Now that you know all this useful information, check our list of the best Baccarat website offers and start your rousing online journey.