How to Play Baccarat

Welcome to our complete guide on how to play baccarat. Baccarat is one of those games which doesn’t require much thought and analysis on your part. You can play even if you’ve never heard of it before, and rather than actively participate in baccarat games. All you’re required to do as a player is bet on the outcome.

We’re going to show you how to play baccarat now. Even if you’re a complete beginner, you’ll know exactly how it’s done by the time this post is finished. Once you’ve read it, check out the video below which shows a few hands of baccarat being played. Just observing baccarat in action will help you figure it out. Understanding how to play will help you master baccarat strategy.

How to Play Baccarat for Beginners

When you first walk up to the baccarat table (or load the game if playing online), here’s what you’ll see:

Baccarat Table

There are different versions of the baccarat table, but they’re all similar. You’ll sit at your slot, alongside any other players in the game, and will bet on either Player, Banker, or Tie for each hand that’s played.

Once you’ve placed your bets, that’s all you need to do. The dealer will then dish out cards to both the player and banker. When a victor emerges, players who bet on that outcome will get paid, and everyone else will lose.

So what do baccarat bets pay if you win? It depends on what bet you make.

Baccarat Bet Payouts

  • Player bets pay 1:1.
  • Banker bets pay 19:20.
  • Tie bets pay 8:1.

The payout of banker bets in baccarat can vary from casino to casino. A cut is always taken on these bets, and that’s how the house makes its money. If you play at an honest baccarat casino, that commission should be 5% or so. If it’s anything more than that, we’d think twice about playing there.

In some baccarat casinos, tie bets pay 9:1. No matter what they pay, though, we don’t recommend making these bets. They’re known as the ‘suckers bet’ for a reason – it has a 14% house edge.

Baccarat Bet Odds

Understanding baccarat bet odds will help you decide which bets to make. Here’s how the numbers work out (approximately).

  • Banker wins – 6/5.
  • Player wins – 5/4.
  • A tie occurs – 9-1.

What you can see here is that baccarat is not an even probability game. The banker bet has slightly higher odds of occurring, but then you have the banker’s cut to consider. While banker may win more often than player, you’ll have to pay a 5% commission when you win a banker bet.

Baccarat Rules & Gameplay

Now that you understand baccarat odds and payouts, let’s take a look at how the game is played step by step and the rules which govern it.

Before we begin, please note that baccarat can be played with four, six, or eight decks and up to 14 players can join in at once.

In order to understand how the game is played, it’s crucial to understand the baccarat card values.

Baccarat Card Values

  • Cards from two to nine are worth face value.
  • 10s and face cards like kings and jacks are worth zero.
  • Aces are worth one.

The score of a baccarat hand is the sum of all cards. You add them together and then drop the left digit. For example, if you had a hand worth 12 (6+6), you’d drop the one, giving you a hand value of two. Obviously, this only applies when you have a double-digit hand value.

The best baccarat score is nine (aka natural). You want to get nine if possible, but where neither player or banker gets nine on the button, the winner will be the one with the hand value closest to nine.

Understanding these baccarat card values will help you grasp what’s going on when the dealer starts the game. The first few times you play, things can happen quickly, and you might not understand the outcomes. Don’t worry, though, after a few hands, you’ll be a baccarat pro. It’s extremely easy to pick up.

Now, let’s look at baccarat gameplay.

Baccarat Rules & Gameplay

1. You walk up to the baccarat table and take your seat. If you’re playing live dealer baccarat online, the dealer will invite you to place your bets within a given window of time.

2. You’ll then place your bets on one of three outcomes – player, banker, or tie.

3. Once bets have been placed, both player and banker are dealt two cards.

4. The cards are turned over and the hand which is closest to nine wins.

5. In some situations, an additional third card is dealt to help determine the winner.

Baccarat 3rd Card Rules

While you don’t technically need to know anything about the 3rd card rules to grasp how to play baccarat, you might be curious about it nonetheless. For those of you who want to understand baccarat fully, here’s how the rule works.

  • If the player’s hand is worth between zero and five, a third card is issued.
  • If the player’s hand is between six and seven, no third card is drawn for the player.
  • If the player’s hand is eight or nine, both hands stand. This is called a ‘natural’.
  • If the player receives a third card, the banker may then do the same, according to these rules:
  • If the banker’s hand is worth between zero and two, a third card is automatically drawn.
  • If the banker’s hand is between three and six, he may draw a third card depending on the value of the player’s third card.
  • If the banker’s hand value is seven, he stands or does not draw a third card.
  • If the banker has a hand value or eight or nine, both hands stand since that’s a ‘natural’.

All of this unfolds automatically and you won’t need to even understand it to know how to play baccarat. All you have to do is place your bet on the outcomes you believe is most likely, then sit back and watch the game unfold. We just thought we’d provide an explanation on the rules anyhow.

How to Play Baccarat – Summary

Now that you understand how to play baccarat, we suggest checking out some of our baccarat strategies or learning by playing at one of our approved baccarat casinos.

It really is a simple game. If there’s anything you haven’t understood here, you’ll soon get a grip on it by actually playing baccarat for real. Feel free to bookmark this page and come back/consult it as you play. When you see things happen for real, all of this theory will become concrete and will make perfect sense.