How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is a staple in both land-based and online casinos all over the world. The table game is not too difficult to learn and can actually make a tidy profit in the short-term. While baccarat strategies do exist, the game is primarily based on chance, meaning there is nothing you can do to security a victory. Like all casino games, the odds are stacked in the casino’s favor. Gaining an edge means mastering baccarat and learning proper money management techniques.

The Rules

Baccarat is a card game typically played with six or eight standard decks of cards placed in a shoe. The game consists of a Banker and can be played with up to 12 players. In online baccarat, the cards are dealt by a virtual banker. Unlike other games, when we mention ‘Banker’ in baccarat it does not refer to ‘The House.’ 

In baccarat, there are three potential outcomes. A player can choose to bet on the Player’s hand, the Banker’s hand, or on a Tie. The object of the game is to guess which will get a total that is closest to 9 points which is considered a winning hand. 

Game Play

The game begins when the cards are placed in a shoe and the cut-card is put towards the end of the shoe. This cut card signals what will be the last hand dealt in the specific shoe.

Once all the players have joined the table, bets are placed and a two-card hand is dealt to both the Banker and Player spots. Cards are dealt one at a time, starting with the Player. Once the cards are dealt, the Player hand is turned over and the dealer will announce the total of the cards. Then the Banker’s cards are turned over and the total is announced.

To play baccarat, you will need to know the value of each card:

  • 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9: Are worth their face value
  • 10, Jack, Queen, King: Are worth 0 points
  • Ace: Is worth 1 point

Once you have your cards, you will then need to read your hand to determine your total. In baccarat, you receive two cards. To determine their total value, simply add the cards together – e.g. 2 + 6 = 8. If the value of your hand exceeds 10 points, you will need to do some basic math to determine the “true” value of your hand.

There are two ways to do this, each receiving the same outcome:

1. Subtract 10 from the total value. 

For example, say you receive an 8 and a 4.
8 + 4 = 12
12 – 10 = 2
The true value of the hand is 2 points.

2. Drop the first digit.

Using the cards from the previous example, you receive an 8 and a 4.
8 + 4 = 12
Drop the first digit which is 1.
The true value of the hand is 2 points. 

Natural

Sometimes the game of baccarat ends quickly. This usually happens if a player receives what is known as a “Natural.” If the cards are dealt and a player receives a hand that totals 8 or 9 points, it is known as a natural. 

When this happens, no additional cards are drawn and is an automatic win. An exception is if the hand is a tie or if an opposing hand has a higher natural. For example, an opposing hand has a 9 when you only have an 8. 

Third Card

If a Player’s initial hand of two cards equals to 6, 7, 8, or 9, no additional cards are dealt. However, if the player’s hand has a total value of 5 or less, a third card is dealt.

If a Banker’s hand has a total of 7, 8, or 9, no additional cards are dealt. However, a Banker will be dealt a third card if the first two total 0, 1, 2, or 3. The Banker may be dealt an additional card if the cards total 4, 5, or 6 if the Player’s hand has met specific totals.

As a general rule of thumb, a Banker may hit with a total of 4, 5, or 6 if:

  • The Banker’s total value is 4 and the Player’s total value is between 2 and 7.
  • The Banker’s total value is 5 and the Player’s total value is 4, 5, 6, or 7.
  • The Banker’s total value is 6 and the Player’s total value is 6 or 7.

Neither the Player or the Banker will ever receive more than three cards. Once the hands have been dealt, whoever has the closest to 9 points wins. If there is a Tie, neither hand wins or loses. Any winning bets are paid off at even money.

Payouts

The ratio in which winning bets on either Player or Banker are paid is 1:1. However, there is usually a commission of about 5% on Banker bets that result in the odds falling to 0.95 to 1. Most online casinos take out the commission during play.

Tie bets are usually paid out 8:1 but this can vary from casino to casino. When a Tie occurs, bets on the Player or Banker are returned.

Get Started

Baccarat is an exciting card game that is known to be played by the casino’s wealthiest players. The truth is that anyone can play and be successful at baccarat if they learn the rules of the games. Try playing baccarat free in demo mode before moving on to real money bets if you are new to the game. 

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