In this guide on how to play baccarat, we will show you all you need to know to start enjoying one of the most popular casino card games. It involves easy-to-follow rules and a simple layout and can bring tons of fun. Stick with us as we go over each detail and help you start playing baccarat.

What is Baccarat – Overview of The Rules

Let’s start by answering the question “What is baccarat?”

Baccarat is a card game of comparison that is played between two hands or sides of the table. These sides are called “Player” and “Banker”. Cards are dealt to each side of the deck; whichever hand is stronger is the winner. Bear in mind that the names of the sides do not represent the Player or the Banker. That’s just names that represent each side of the game, and you can bet on both of them. Baccarat has been popular among nobles from France since the 19th century. Before casino gambling was legalised, these games were played in private rooms. Then, the most played version of baccarat was Baccarat Banque, also considered the earliest iteration of the game.

As we mentioned earlier, the object of baccarat is a simple game of card comparison. There can be three results at the end of a round – “Player”, “Banker”, and “Tie”. You can bet on either of two hands every round, as you are not limited to picking one side and sticking with it. Bear in mind that the odds for the “Banker” to win are slightly higher, and there is a commission on Banker-winning bets.

In the game of baccarat, no balls are rolling on roulette wheels, and there are no actions to take or factors to consider. The beauty of playing this game is that players bet and observe as the game unfolds before them as the cards are dealt. While there is no real baccarat strategy to use, bets made on the “Banker” will have a slight edge to be winning ones but will pay a commission.

Mastering the Basics of Baccarat: How to Play

baccarat table

While playing Baccarat may sound easy, we would still like to go through the gameplay process as some details need to be mentioned. Let’s start by sitting at the table as the game round starts. Two cards are dealt for each side of the table.

The aim of baccarat is to compare the totals of the hands that are dealt, and whoever scores closer to 9 without going over wins. A good thing to remember is that tens and face cards are worth 0 points. If your score goes over 9, for example, 10, you only take the second digit of the sum as the total. For example, scoring 11 would in turn mean that you have 1.Another great example is if the “Player” is dealt a 5 and a 6, while the “Banker” is dealt a 4 and a 5. In the case of the “Player”, the sum of the two cards is 11, which means that the final total is 1. In the case of the “Banker”, they scored a 9, which is the best-case scenario. Totals that are 8 or 9 are called “naturals” or “a natural”; in that case, no further cards are drawn, and the round is over.

There are many cases where a dealer will draw a third card for each side. Dealers decide this based on a list of predetermined rules that dictate when a third card is dealt. The “Player” rule for drawing a third card is when the initial total on that side is 5 or less. If it is 6 or 7, the “Player” automatically stands and doesn’t take another card. Below are a few more instances when the “Player” is dealt a third card:

  • The Player draws a third card if the initial total is 5 or less. If the initial total is 6 or 7, the Player stands.
  • If the Banker’s total is 2 or less, a third card is drawn no matter what the Player’s third card is.
  • A third card is drawn if the Banker’s total is 3 or less unless the Player’s total is 8.
  • If the Banker’s total is 4 or less, they draw a third card if the Player’s third card is 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7.
  • If the Banker total is 5, a third card is drawn in the case that the Player’s third card is 4, 5, 6 or 7,
  • If the Banker’s total is 6, a third card is drawn in the case when the Player’s third card is a 6 or a 7.
  • If the Banker’s total is 7, they stand.

On the other hand, the third card rules for the “Banker” are varied. For example, if the Banker’s total is 2 or less, they draw a third card no matter what the third card of the “Player” is. You can refer to the chart and our list for more details on when a third card is drawn. The dealer will do this for you, so you don’t have to worry about the rules. Still, it is good to be aware of these rules.

baccarat reference chart

Variations of Baccarat

Due to the great popularity of this card casino game, many variations of it will be available at gambling venues. The various versions include new rules or a different deck count. You can find a short list of the most popular baccarat variations below:

  • Punto Banco – resembles the standard version and is played using six decks of cards. It is one of the most popular versions of baccarat. In this variation, the “Tie” bet is the most popular.
  • Baccarat Banque – it is probably the oldest variation of baccarat. The most distinctive difference is that the dealer is chosen at the start of each round. Usually, it is the first player to join the round or the player with the highest stake.
  • Chemin De Fer – in this variation of baccarat, players compete against each other instead of versus the dealer. Players take turns to be dealers.
  • European Baccarat – the only real difference is that in this variation, the Player can choose to stand or draw a third card when the initial total is 5. The Banker is also allowed to decide when to draw or stand. Here, the Banker is funded by the house. If the Banker stands at €400, and two Players bet €200 each, no other Player can go in this round.
  • Mini Baccarat – this variation of the game boasts a huge following. It has the same rules as Punto Banco, but with low stakes and faster pacing.

Reading The Baccarat Table

At NetEnt, we think that baccarat is an extraordinary game that fits both new gamblers and veteran players. One of the factors that influence this viewpoint is the layout of the table. It is one of the simplest table designs that suit a simple-to-understand card game.

When you sit at the baccarat table, you will notice a field in front of the dealer that says “Player” on one side and “Banker” on the other. That is pretty much it, except for the places for the shoe and where cards from previous rounds are discarded.

In front of the participants at the table, there will be a field where they can set their bets. You can bet on the Player or the Banker. Depending on the version of baccarat, you will also see a spot where you can place a bet on a tie and on both side spots where you can wager on whether the Player or the Banker will get pairs from the initial two cards.

In some baccarat variants, you can also place wagers on what type of pairs the Player or Banker will receive on the initial two-card draw. That is all you need to know about the baccarat tables you will encounter while playing.

Baccarat Bets, Odds and Payouts

The answer to the question “How do you play baccarat” consists not only of the knowledge of the rules and object of the game but also the bets and their payouts. This is exactly the subject that we would like to cover in this part of our guide on how to play baccarat. Understanding the bets and their specifics will further improve your chances.

  1. Player bet or Banker bet – these are the standard wagers, and winning bets are paid 1 to 1. The odds for the Player are 44.6% and the Banker 45.8%.
  2. Tie bet – this wager’s payout is 8 to 1 or 9 to 1, depending on the version of the game. The odds of the tie bet is 9.6%.
  3. Banker pair or Player pair bets – these bets have a payout of 11 to 1. 

As we have mentioned earlier, the odds for the Banker to win are slightly higher. In general, when comparing the Banker and the Player, the Banker wins roughly 51% of the time. That is why winning bets placed on the Banker will receive a 5% commission from the house.

How to Play Baccarat Online

At online casinos, the baccarat game is extremely popular. Overall, online baccarat is played the same way as you would play it at a brick-and-mortar establishment. There are two general types of baccarat that you can enjoy. They are called RNG and live dealer. The first one uses a Random Number Generator (RNG) instead of a dealer to draw cards.

The other variant is live dealer baccarat, where you can sit at a virtual table and have a real dealer draws the cards. This is probably the best way to come as close as possible to the real casino experience. On top of that, the social aspect of communicating with other players and the dealer via chat helps with the experience too.

Final Thoughts

The game of baccarat is a simple yet exciting game of chance where the object is to compare the totals of the hands of two sides. This casino game is suitable for both low-stakes players and high rollers, as well as both newbies and experienced gamblers. 

Frequently Asked Questions Section

In this final section of our guide on how to play baccarat, we would like to showcase to you the most popular queries players have regarding the game. We hope that you have enjoyed this step-by-step tutorial on playing baccarat. If there are any questions that you do not find here, please feel free to contact us.

Winning at baccarat is relatively simple. This game compares the totals of the hands of two sides, the Player and the Banker. To win at baccarat, the side that you bet on needs to come as close to 9 without going over. There are also specific rules for when a third card should be drawn, but the dealer will take care of that for you.
The rules of the baccarat game are straightforward – the side with the closest hand total to 9 wins. You sit down at the baccarat table, make your bet and then the round starts. Two cards are drawn face-up for both sides of the fields. There are many cases when the dealer will draw a third card for each side based on predetermined third card rules.
If you are looking for the best bet in baccarat with the highest chance to win, this is the Banker bet. It has a slightly higher chance to land, but be aware that winning Banker bets are charged a 5% commission. If you are looking for the bet that pays the most, then wagering on a tie or pairs will give you the highest payout. The tie pays 8 to 1 or 9 to 1, while pairs pay 11 to 1.
Baccarat is a game of chance that doesn’t involve any real skill from the player. There is no real strategy that can be used while playing baccarat. The only thing that can be considered as such is placing a bet on the Banker. Banker bets have a slightly higher chance of winning but are subject to a 5% commission from the house.

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