BACCARAT – How To Play Baccarat

Originating in mid 19th century France, Baccarat, or Punto Banco, is a casino type game that requires no technical skill to play. Baccarat and Mini-Baccarat are among the easiest casino games to play but are often associated with the High Roller players with high stakes— James Bond’s favorite game.

The dealer draws two cards for the Player (Punto) and the Bank (Banco).

The objective of Baccarat is to bet on the hand you guess will be as close to or equal to 9.

Baccarat – Rank of Cards

Baccarat Card Values

The values of the two cards in each hand are added together. Cards 2-9 have their numerical value, 10 or picture cards have a value of 0 and Aces have a value of 1. The nearest to 9 is the winning hand.

How to Play Baccarat

To begin the game, players simply must walk up to a Baccarat table and place a bet on either of the three outcomes: your hand winning, the banker’s hand wining, or a tie.

Baccarat Player Hand

If you bet PLAYER hand winning and win, you will receive a payout of 1:1. The house has a 1.24% edge over the player.

One thing which can be confusing about baccarat is the drawing of a third card. But the important thing to remember is: this is not a matter of strategy, these decisions are all covered by game rules and actioned by the dealer. So as a player you could simply ‘go with the flow’ – but it’s always a good idea to have some understanding of what may happen.

When a player’s hand totals 0 to 5, or equals 10, a third card is drawn. If the total is 6 or 7, the action is known as a ‘stand’, which means no third card is drawn. Totals of 8 or 9 are described as ‘naturals’, and here too no third card can be drawn.


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These actions are summarized in the chart below:

Baccarat Banker Hand

If you bet on the Banker’s hand wining and win, you will receive a payout of 1:1. You will, however, have to pay the house a 5% commission on your winnings from the Banker’s hands. The house has a 1.06% edge over the player.

The rules for a banker hand follow similar principles but are a little more detailed. Once again, the dealer is responsible for applying these rules and thus will announce the action to be taken. And once more, the actions involving the banker hand are summarized in the chart below:

And one more point: When there is a tie, there is no loser. Should the first two cards total 8 or 9, the hand is deemed a “natural” and is thus an automatic win, except when both hands produce “naturals” of equal value, in which case it becomes a tie. If neither hand contains a natural, further cards are drawn to decide the winner.


If you bet on a tie and win, you will receive a payout of 8:1 (sometimes 9:1) The house, however, has a 14.36% edge over the player.

When bets are made, the dealer will draw 2 or 3 cards for the player’s and Banker’s hand. The closest hand to 9 wins.

If a hand exceeds 10, 10 is then subtracted from the hand. For example, a hand of 8 and 5 is 3 (13-10). Neither the Dealer nor the player decide if a third card is drawn.

Top Tips to play Baccarat

Baccarat, a game once reserved for the elite and high-rollers, has now become accessible to the masses. Whether you’re playing online or at a land-based casino, baccarat offers an exciting gaming experience. However, to maximize your chances of winning and to truly enjoy the game, it’s essential to understand the strategies and nuances involved. Here are some top tips to help you master the game of baccarat:

  • Pronunciation Matters: First and foremost, it’s “bah-cah-rah,” not “back-a-rat.” Proper pronunciation sets the tone for a genuine baccarat experience.
  • Avoid the “Tie” Bet: While baccarat boasts low house edges for the Banker and Player bets, the Tie bet is an exception. With a staggering house edge of approximately 14.4%, it’s a bet best avoided.
  • Banker is Your Best Bet: Statistically, the Banker bet wins slightly over 50% of the time. However, remember that a 5% commission is deducted from every win on this bet.
  • Stick with the Banker Until It Loses: Capitalize on streaks. If the Banker is on a winning streak, continue betting on it. But, be cautious and avoid being overly aggressive with your bets.
  • After a Banker Loss, Wait: If the Banker loses, don’t rush into another bet. Wait for the next decision and then decide your move.
  • Beware of Mini-Baccarat: Mini-baccarat is a faster version of the game, with dealers making between 150 to 200 decisions per hour. While it might seem enticing due to lower table minimums, the speed can be detrimental if luck isn’t on your side.
  • Tie Bets Don’t Count: In your betting strategy, treat Tie bets as non-existent. If the sequence goes Banker, Banker, Tie, continue as if the Tie didn’t happen.
  • Money Management is Key: Baccarat is essentially a coin flip. While this makes it a tight game, streaks can still occur. Set a session bankroll and stick to it. If you win a decent amount, consider splitting your win and only using half to continue playing.

Advanced Baccarat Strategies:

Apart from the previously mentioned strategies, there are several other techniques and tips that can be applied to enhance your baccarat gameplay. Here are some additional strategies and tips to consider:

  • The Martingale System: This strategy involves doubling your bet each time you lose, aiming to recover all past losses with a single win. However, it’s essential to set a budget and stick to it, as the exponential increase in bet size after a losing streak can lead to significant losses.
  • The Paroli System (Reverse Martingale): Contrary to the Martingale, in the Paroli System, you double your bet every time you win and return to your initial bet size after a loss.
  • The 1-3-2-6 System: This strategy is designed to manage your bets and potential winnings. The sequence 1-3-2-6 represents the multiples of your unit bet, guiding your betting progression.
  • The Fibonacci System: Based on a mathematical sequence where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…), you adjust your bet size following this sequence after each loss and move back two numbers in the sequence after a win.
  • The Labouchere System: Also known as the Split Martingale or Cancellation System, this strategy uses a specific series of numbers to determine the bet amount. After a loss, you add the amount of your previous bet to the end of the sequence. Upon winning, you cross off the first and last numbers from your sequence.

Baccarat Payout Cheat Sheet:

  • Player Bet: Payout – 1 to 1; House Edge – ~1.24%
  • Banker Bet: Payout – 1 to 1; House Edge – ~1.06%
  • Tie Bet: Payout – 8 to 1 or 9 to 1; House Edge – ~14.36% or ~4.85% (varies with payout)
  • Player Pair Bet: Payout – 11 to 1; Varies based on casino rules
  • Banker Pair Bet: Payout – 11 to 1; Varies based on casino rules

In conclusion, while baccarat is a game of chance, implementing these strategies and tips can help you make more informed decisions, manage your bankroll effectively, and potentially improve your chances of winning. Remember to play responsibly and enjoy the game!

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