How to Play Baccarat

How to Play Baccarat

If you are new to the game of baccarat and want to learn the rules, then you have found the right page. Baccarat is one of the easiest table games to play and with the right guidance and resources, you can easily master the game and start winning on the table. To help you discover this game, listed below are some basic rules to keep in mind when playing the game.

Basic Rules to Keep in Mind

  • Once all bets have been made, two hands are dealt with two cards. These are known as the Bank and the Player Hands
  • The main objective of the game is to guess which of the two has a value closest to 9
  • Participating players can put their money on either the Player, the Banker of a Tie
  • Tens and face cards (Kings and Queens) are counted as zero, and the other cards on the deck will assume their face values
  • If the count of the hand is more than 9, the total is adjusted by removing 10
  • Specific rules may be in place which will determine if the player’s hand or the bank will get a third card
  • If a player bets on a winning hand, he will get a 1 to 1 payoff
  • If a player bets on the Bank and wins, he gets the same payoff but also must cover a 5% commission
  • If a player bets on a Tie and wins, the pay is 8 to 1

If you have seen a number of James Bond movies where the lead character plays the game of baccarat, you will surely notice how elegant and serious the game is. While it’s truly exclusive and played mostly by enthusiasts, this game is easy to play and even offer one of the best house edges online.

How Did This Game Start?

The modern baccarat traces its roots to ‘baccara’, an Italian. In the local language, this refers to zero. The game was popularized in France and Italy during the 1400s. According to many sources, this card game was a favourite pastime as well for the French royalty. Even though this game was made illegal in France in 1837, the popularity of this game never waned and was still played by common folks and the nobility. This continued patronage from different types of players enabled the game to thrived and it is now one of the most popular table games online.

Throughout its history, a number of variants of the game have been developed. Some of the most popular variants of the game are Punto Banco, Chemin de fer and Baccarat Banque. All these games share the same basic rules with one major difference- the way playing cards are dealt. Of these three versions, the most recent addition to the industry is Punto Banco.

This was introduced on November 20, 1959, and was first played and popularized in Las Vegas by Tommy Renzoni. He initially introduced this game at the Capri Casino in Cuba, and after gaining some attention, the game was tweaked and formally introduced in Las Vegas. When this game was introduced and played in Las Vegas, players were captivated and they soon followed the game. Other casinos in the area soon followed, and thus began the popularity of Punto Banco.

Why We Recommend the Game of Baccarat

There are a number of convincing reasons why you should learn and play this popular table game. Listed below are some of the reasons why you should start playing this game:

  • Rules are not complex and they are easy to remember
  • Boasting one of the best odds online, the game of baccarat can appeal to casual players and beginners
  • This table game is best for all types of betting levels, and can also appeal to VIP players looking to bet the maximum values
  • You can now play online baccarat at reputable online casinos

Payout Schedule for the Game of Baccarat

There are three possible outcomes in a game of baccarat and each comes with a different payout schedule. Before you hit the baccarat table and play for real money, it’s important that you understand the payout.

Player Hand

If you bet on the Player’s hand and win, the payout is scheduled at 1:1. This means that if you bet $20 and you win, you end up with $20 as winnings.

Bank Hand

If you bet on the Bank’s hand and win, the payout is also set at 1:1 but it comes with a 5% commission. This is reflected as a 19 to 20 payout. When a player bets $10, then he will get $9.50.


If you want a good payout to end your day, then you should play a ‘Tie’. A Tie in a game of baccarat boasts a payout of 8 to 1. This means that you will get all 8 chips and retain the original chip wagered as part of the winnings. If you decide to put $10 on this outcome and wins, you will earn $80 plus the original wager made. Keep in mind that during a Tie, the bet on both the Player or the Banker is a push, which means that neither loses or wins. When the game records this outcome, you are given a number of options on how to play the next bet. You can add or remove chips, or remove them from the table.

How the Cards are Read and Valued

In this game, eight or six decks of cards are used and dealt from the shoe. Each card is assigned a numerical value, as explained below:

  • Picture cards (Kings, Queens, and Jacks) and Tens (10s) are given a value of 0
  • Aces are valued at 1
  • 2s to 9s will assume their face value

In this card game, the highest possible value for the hand is 9. If the value of one hand exceeds this number, it should be adjusted in one of two ways. One, you simply drop the first digit of the sum. For example, if the value is 17, simply drop ‘1’ revealing an adjusted hand value of 7. And two, you can simply subtract 10 from the hand total.

Popular Sizes of Baccarat Tables that You Should Know

There are three popular sizes for baccarat tables that are used today: the full-size Punto Banco Baccarat, MMini-Baccaratand Midi Baccarat. All of these baccarat tables boast the same rules for playing. The difference lies in the number of players involved, the dealing of the cards and the allowed betting limits. Here’s a quick look at how the different baccarat table sizes.

Full-Size Punto Banco

Also known as the Big Baccarat, this table is often seen in the Baccarat room or a high-limit pit. As a full-sized table, it can accommodate 14 players and often boasts the highest betting limits. If you play in a popular casino in the Las Vegas Strip, you will end up playing at a table that features bets that range from a low $100 to as high as $100,000.

Here, the players will handle the cards, and the player with the biggest wager on the Bank is often given the chance to turn over the Banker cards, and the same process applies to the biggest bettor on the Player’s hand. Traditionally, the high-rollers or the VIP players are allowed to occasionally crumble or bend the cards when playing. If this happens, the dealer (casino) will end up introducing a new set of cards before the start of the shuffle.

Mini-Baccarat Table

This is the opposite of the full-sized baccarat and can accommodate 6 or 7 players in every table. And since this is a low-stakes baccarat table, interested players who want to play can enjoy affordable minimum betting limits that usually range from $5 to $15, with a maximum bet of up to $5,000. Here, only one dealer facilitates the action and players are not given the privilege to handle the cards. Because it involves a small number of players and the dealer takes full control of the game, the action is often faster.

Midi-Baccarat Table

This baccarat table can seat up to 9 players and the game is facilitated by one dealer. The play is not as fast compared to the mini-baccarat table but the action is much better when compared to the full-size table. Betting limits for this table may range from a low $25 and can go up to $10,000. In short, this table sits in between the full-size and the mini-baccarat table.

What are the Rules Governing the Third Card?

The standard game of baccarat requires two cards but there are instances when a third card may be issued. Some players may think that the rules are complex, but they are not. Remember that there are rules that will govern the third card of the Player and the Banker. Here’s a quick look at the rules on how the third card is given.

Rules for Player’s Third Card

The basis of the drawing of the third card will depend on the value of the first two cards.

  • Player will get a third card is the value of the first two cards range from 0 to 5
  • Player retains the first two cards if the value exceeds 6

It is also important to know what will happen if the value of the first two cards is 8 or 9. In the game of baccarat, these values are called ‘natural’, and when it happens, the hand is not allowed to draw or get a third card.

Rules for Banker’s Third Card

The rules are slightly more complicated in the third card of the Banker. The issuance of the third card is subject to the following guide:

  • The value of the first two cards drawn
  • Whether the Player got a third card or stood
  • Value of the third card of the Player

With these guides in mind, you should pay attention to the following rules:

  • If the value of the first two cards is 0 to 2, then a third card is drawn
  • The hand stands if the value reaches 8 or 9 which is considered a ‘natural’ in the game of blackjack
  • The hand stands if the value of the first two cards is 7. The same rule applies if the value is 6 provided that the Player Han did not get a third card
  • If the first two cards range from 3 to 6 and Player Hand gets a third card, the Bank may draw or stand

Important Things You Should Know About the House Edge

In casino gambling, the house edge is the built-in advantage of the casino operator over the players. In short, players should expect that casinos will always have that edge over the players because this type of entertainment is still considered a business. The good news is that the game of baccarat offers one of the best odds in the industry. So what is the baccarat house edge that you should expect when you play for real money? Below is an example, using an 8-deck game, using a 1:1 payoff for the winning wager and for the Bank Hand, an extra 5% for commission with a Tie paying 8:1.

  • Bank will win 45.87% of the time, loses 44.63% and the rest for ‘Tie’
  • Player’s Hand wins 44.63% of the time, loses 45.87% and the rest for the ‘Tie’

If we remove the Tie from the outcomes, then the Bank wins 50.68% and will lose 49.32% of all the hands played. The Player’s Hand will also win 49.32% of all hands played and will lose 50.68%.

Using the example shown above, you will notice that the Bank will win most of the time if the Tie is excluded from the equation. This is one reason why there’s a 5% commission charged against the player who picked the Bank and managed to win.

Is There a Possibility that You Will Pay Less than 5%?

For some players and beginners in the game of baccarat, the 5% is considered as a huge amount to cover. Now is it even possible that you pay less than the standard 5% that is being charged by most online casinos? Yes, it’s possible provided you know where to play the game of baccarat. There are instances when the casino will only ask for a 4% commission on the winning hand of the Bank. You will also find a number of online casinos that offer reduced commissions, and the trick is to research and find these operators that are friendly to players. If you can find an online casino that charges less than 5%, then it’s important that you take advantage of this offer before the casino imposes the standard charge.

Takeaway Points

  • Baccarat is one of the most popular table games online offering one of the best odds
  • This table game is inspired by ‘baccara’, an Italian game that means zero
  • There are three possible outcomes that can happen in this game and these will serve as the bets that can be made. Players can play a bet on the Player Hand, the Bank Hand or a Tie
  • The main objective of this game is to identify which hand will end up with a value close to 9
  • There are three different sizes of baccarat table that can be played online or in brick-and-mortar casinos. Players can choose from the mini-baccarat, the midi-baccarat and the full-size baccarat table
  • These three types of baccarat tables will share the same general rules but may differ in terms of the betting limits accepted, the number of players that can be accommodated and other special rules
  • You can find the mini-baccarat tables in the lobbies of main casinos and these tables are known for low stakes, often starting at $5. Also, the mini-baccarat table can also serve 6 to 7 players at a time
  • In the midi-baccarat table, up to 9 players can participate at a time. Also, the stakes and the betting limits are much higher here compared to the mini-baccarat table. In this table, players are allowed to handle their cards
  • The full-size baccarat table is the biggest and most popular among enthusiasts and VIP players. This table can accommodate up to 14 players at a time and the stakes and betting limits are higher. Players can bet up to $100,000 at a time in this type of baccarat table. This table is often seen in the VIP section or in the high-roller pit
  • If you bet on the Player’s Hand and wins, the payout is pegged at 1:1
  • If you bet on the Bank’s Hand and wins, the payout is pegged at 1:1 but the player must cover the 5% commission. There are some casinos that may charge less than this amount or percentage. If you bet on a Tie and wins, the payout is pegged at 8:1
  • Cards may assume different values. For example, the 2s up to 9s will assume their face values, while the face cards and tens carry zero values. An ace will assume a value of 1
  • During the start of the game, there will be two cards that will be given to the Bank and the Player Hands. A third card may be drawn but this is subject to specific rules and conditions
  • The objective of the game is to get a hand value closest to 9. If the hand value is more than 9, the value should be adjusted using two approaches. The most popular approach is to simply drop the first digit. For example, a value of 18 will net an updated hand value of 8
  • If the ties are not included in the computation, the Bank’s Hand will win more than it loses
  • If the ties are included in the computation, the house edge for the Bank’s Hand is pegged at 1.06%, 14.36% for a Tie and 1.24% for the Player’s Hand
  • The house advantage for baccarat is estimated at 1.2%, considered as one of the lowest in the casino industry

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