The game of Baccarat, which is also known as Punto Banco, is one of the most popular card games you can play at a Casino.
From the high-roller Baccarat table games in Las Vegas to the online ones where the Player and the Banker live on your screen, Baccarat games are a classic where the cards are worth everything.
This beginner's guide can turn you into a pro.
Use it to learn how to play Baccarat and to discover how you can use the Baccarat rules to your advantage.
The house edge of this game varies according to the decisions you make, so you need to keep your eyes on the deck of cards and get the best winning odds (your) money can buy.
I know you want to win Baccarat and you would prefer to get into the action rather than read about the rules and strategy.
Don't rush. It's not time to learn the ins and outs of any Baccarat betting strategies just yet.
Before you learn how to win at Baccarat games for sure (or at least you try to), you need to find out how the game works.
You want to know how the rules of Baccarat can help you succeed, and why the Baccarat drawing rules are so important.
In other words, you want to read this article.
The Goal of the Game
Unlike most Casino card games, Baccarat is an easy table game with a simple set of rules and an even simpler mission.
What's the Goal of Baccarat?
The goal of the game is for you to predict which of two hands, the 'Banker' or the 'Player', will come closest to nine points.
Basic Baccarat Rules
You don't need a PhD in applied mathematics to learn how to play Baccarat.
A game of Baccarat involves three actors:
- The Banker (aka. the dealer)
- The Player (aka. not you)
- The Bettors (you)
A table of Baccarat can host up to 12 or 14 players (the Bettors. If you are looking for a quiet game with no action and no players to sit around you, you better learn how to play Pai Gow Poker, explore the secret world of Casino War, or even go back to your usual Slot Machine.
But if you like action and you feel 'James Bond' cool, get ready. Fourteen players putting their money on the Player or Banker are going to put up a hell of a crazy show. It's going to get savage.
The Hand Begins
The Dealer begins the game by drawing four cards from the shoe. All cards are face down.
The first and third cards form the Player's hand. The second and fourth cards form the Banker's hand.
Once the bets are placed and the cards are on the table, the dealer turns over both hands.
If either the Player hand or the Banker's hand has a point count of eight or nine, the hand is called a natural and no more cards are dealt.
The dealer collects the losing bets and pays out the winning ones.
If neither value of the hand is a natural 8 or 9, the dealer draws a third card. This is done based on a very strict set of Baccarat drawing rules.
Before we get to them, we have another aspect of the rules of Baccarat that you need to discover: the board and the bets in this table game.
The Player and Banker Hand (and the Tie Bet)
There are three types of bets in Baccarat:
- The Player
- The Banker
- The Tie, or Stand-Off bet
To learn how to play Baccarat, you need to understand the differences between all the bets.
The Banker bets, the Player bets, and the Tie bets come with a different house edge and need to be handled with care.
|Player bet||The Player wins||1.24%||1:1|
|Banker bet||The banker wins||1.06%||1:1*|
|Tie bet||Neither hand wins||14%||8:1|
*: -5% commission
When you choose the Player bet, you assume that the Player wins the hand. Viceversa, when you bet on the Banker, you assume the Banker wins.
Tie bet predicts that the hand values will be equal.
Why is the 'Tie Bet' a Wrong Choice?
Don't look at the 8:1 payout. The 14% house edge makes this a wrong choice - no matter what the circumstance. You have more luck to win at sports betting or video Poker than to nail a Tie bet.
As you see on the table above, a bet on the player's or the banker's card leads to different payouts.
That has nothing to do with the value of the hand or the fact you might play with eight decks or six decks.
As the rules of Baccarat show, a winning hand is paid differently when the Player wins or when the Banker wins.
- Player Wins: wagers are paid 1:1 or even money (e.g. you bet $5, you win another $5)
- Banker Wins: wagers are paid 1:1 or even money minus a 5% commission (note: you pay the commission when you leave the table, not after every bet on the banker. The dealer keeps track of everything)
- Tie: wagers are paid 8:1
How to Calculate the Value of the Hand
Don't make the most common mistake Baccarat beginners make: don't try to count points like in Blackjack to understand what hand wins once the cards are dealt.
Baccarat is a different table game with its own rules and ways to determine the value of the hand.
Unlike in games like Blackjack, Caribbean Stud, or Texas Hold em, the value of face cards isn't as prestigious as you'd expect.
These are the Baccarat basics you need to keep in mind if you really want to understand the board after the dealers deal the cards. (Remember: it's not a Poker hand!)
Baccarat vs. Blackjack: the 'No Bust' Zone
A Baccarat hand consists of two (and sometimes three) cards.
As you'd expect, the card values are added together to determine the total point count, like in Blackjack.
The main difference is that when the cards dealt give you a score of more than 10 points...you don't bust!
The first digit of the number disappears. Here are a few examples:
- Example 1: A hand of "K-3-4" has a point count of seven (7).
- Example 2: A hand of "Q-5" has a point count of five (5).
- Example 3: A hand of "9-5-9" equals 23. Since this is more than 10, we drop the first digit. So the actual point count is three (3).
Rules for Drawing a Third Card
Depending on the hands dealt, a third card may be needed.
Whether this is necessary or not depends on the player's hand point count. Here's a handy table that shows you exactly what happens in every possible scenario.
|Player's Hand Point Count||Third Card Decision|
|6 or 7||Stand|
|8 or 9||Natural, both Player and Banker Stand|
A game of Baccarat does not always stop after the third card hits the table.
Depending on both the Player and Banker's hands, the dealer might continue to draw cards. The dealer's choice follows the set of rules indicated below:
|Banker Point Count||Player Stands||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9|
D = Draw
S = Stand
N = Natural
Practice the Baccarat Rules Online
As an online player, you are lucky. You can spend as much time as you want on this page to read the rules of the game and really learn how to play Baccarat.
And as a beginner, you can practice the game online and use an unlimited amount of play money to get better and better.
The demo games give you the opportunity to see why the three bets are so different. If you don't want to take my word for it, you can even put your money on the Tie bet.
So you will see first-hand why that's always a mistake.
Get a Free Online Practice Account
Access all the demo games and practice Baccarat online with this Baccarat trainer.
Use it to learn the rules and to understand how the different bets affect the house edge and your chances to win.
Now that you understand the rules of Baccarat, you can move onto more advanced aspects of this game's strategy.
Like in most gambling games, winning is always a combination of luck and skill. While I can't help you with luck, I prepared some additional readings that help you hone your Baccarat skills and get more chances to win your games.