How to play Baccarat

The rules of Baccarat

Baccarat is a card game played with a deck made up of 6 standard 52 card decks.

Also known as Punto Banco and Chemin de Fer, Baccarat has an aura of 'class' about it, mainly because in real casinos it's played in separate rooms that cater to high rollers.

Regardless of this aura, players shouldn't be intimidated to try the game, as Baccarat has the simplest set of rules of all the card games you'll find at the casino.

Banker or Player?

The objective of the game is to predict whose hand, the Banker's (Banco) or the Player's (Punto), will be closest to the value of nine. You can also bet on the possibility of a tie.

Winning in Baccarat depends on the hand you bet on, not the hand you play.

Playing to lose!

Because you can bet on the Banker rather than yourself as the Player, you'll often find yourself in the situation where you want your hand (the Player's) to lose!

This is very different to a game such as Blackjack where you're constantly trying to beat the bank. Understanding this forms the basis of our Baccarat winning strategy.

10 = 0

In Baccarat, the point values of the cards are easy to understand. All 10's and picture cards have a value of zero, and all other cards (Ace through 9) are worth their face value (Aces are always worth 1). When the total of two or more cards is greater than 10, the point total is reduced by 10. For example if a hand is dealt an 7 and a 5, resulting in a total of 12, the total is 2 (12 - 10).

2 cards or 3?

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Before the game begins, you place your bet on Player, Banker or Tie. Both the player and the banker are dealt two cards initially, beginning with the player.

If either the player or the banker has a point total of 8 or 9 with the first two cards dealt, no more cards are dealt and the winner is the one with the highest total.

If the player has a point total of five or less, they are dealt another card.

If the player has a point total of 6 or 7, they stand.

If the banker's total is 2 or less, they take another card.

If the banker has a total of 7, he stands.

The banker does not draw another card if their 2-card total is:

3 and the player's third card is an 8.
4 and the player's third card is a 0, 1, 8 or 9.
5 and the player's third card is a 0, 1, 2, 3, 8 or 9.
6 and the player's third card is a 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 or 9.

How much do I win?

If the hand that you bet on wins, you are paid double your bet, unless you bet on a tie. If you bet on a tie, the payout is eight times the amount. If you bet on the Banker's hand, and win, the House charges a 5% commission - the vigorish. As the Banker is the best most likely to win, statistically, the vigorish is where the casino has its edge.

Except when you play on betfair Casino's Zero Lounge Baccarat, where the commission is only 2.75% - resulting in a house edge of 0 and an expected payout of 100% - the highest casino payout anywhere! See this explanation for more details.

The SPECIAL rule

The rule that sets Baccarat apart from many other games is the rule that if you do not bet on a tie, and the hands tie, your bet is returned to you.

In other words, you can consider the game as an evens chance bet (like a coin toss) between Player and Banker. Again, this is essential to understanding our Baccarat winning strategy.

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Online Baccarat guide

Baccarat is one of the simplest card games, with a limited set of rules and betting choices.

But many players are intimidated by Baccarat / Punto Banco because in real casinos it's played in separate rooms that cater to high rollers. This gives the game an aura of 'class' which makes it seem out of reach to ordinary players.

Online, there's no separation, so everyone can enjoy this fantastic game.

To help take you from novice through to a High Rolling Macau-standard Baccarat player, we've put together a comprehensive guide, that tells you everything you need to know:

Baccarat strategy

Finding a winning Baccarat strategy lies in understanding the rule that if the hands are tied, your bet is returned to you. Because of this, in any calculation of the Baccarat house edge, the Tie bet can be effectively disregarded.

We explain why a very common Baccarat strategy doesn't work, and suggest an alternative that give you a much better chance to win.

Baccarat odds

For a game so steeped in an aura of glamour and mystery, the odds against you in Baccarat are really simple to understand.

Unlike Roulette, Blackjack, Sic Bo etc, there are only three bets and three results - so only three probabilities, three payouts and therefore three house edges for you to be concerned with.

Baccarat practice

Once you're familiar with our recommended Baccarat strategy, why not put it through its paces on our FREE Baccarat game, courtesy of Bovada casino, which you can play without registering or downloading.

You'll get 1000 play money credits and as long as you want to practice the 1-3-2-4 - or maybe devise a strategy of your own!

Baccarat with Live Dealers

Once you've familiarised yourself with the rules of Baccarat on the free play Practice game, why not try playing with real Live Dealers? It's the most authentic casino experience you can get, without leaving your home!

At our Live Casinos, you can play an incredible 180 games an hour of Baccarat!

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