How to Play Baccarat

Despite its image as an exclusive game for high rollers only, baccarat is an extremely simple game to understand. Many newcomers to casinos stand on the side and only dream that they can learn how to play baccarat but the good news is that nothing is stopping anybody from learning how.

Baccarat is essentially a community oriented game, with the aim of all concerned to bet on the outcome of one hand. The object of baccarat is to get as close to the number nine as possible with different cards in the deck having specific face values.

A 10 step guide on how to play baccarat

  1. In a traditional casino, baccarat is played in a specially cordoned off area around a craps-sized table. An average table includes 12-14 players and up to three dealers.
  2. Players need to make one of two bets - banker or dealer. There also exists the option of betting for a tie (standoff) but this is very rarely considered.
  3. At an online casino, a virtual dealer deals the cards but at land-based casinos, players can either have a turn at dealing the cards or one assigned dealer deals.
  4. Each player bets on either banker or player. (Custom has it that the dealer bets on the bank).
  5. The shoe is passed to the next player if one decides not to be dealer. It remains with this player until the bank wins and passes to the next player if player wins.
  6. Players bet on which hand out of the two dealt will win or if they will tie, with the payoff being even money (1:1). A banker win comes with a 5% commission 'tax' due to the long run advantage that this hand has over the player hand.
  7. Each dealt hand has between 2-3 cards. The dealer tucks two cards face down under the shoe. He or she then hands the highest betting player another two cards, also face down.
  8. This player then hands the cards back to the dealer after looking at them. The dealer then turns both hands over and a dealer announces the winner.
  9. A natural baccarat hand will comprise an 8 or, even better, a 9. If one of the hands contains a natural, no more cards are dealt. However, if not, the casino dealer may deal a third card.
  10. The hand with the highest count wins. The losing bets are collected and the winners are then paid out.

Other Things to Consider when Learning How to Play Baccarat

  • Face cards and tens have no value.
  • 2 - 9 are counted at face value.
  • Aces are valued at 1.
  • Suits are of no concern in baccarat.
  • Counts that reach double digits drop the first digit and are revalued. (i.e. 15 becomes 5).
  • The banker has a house advantage of 1.17%
  • The player has a house advantage of 1.36%
  • A tie has a house advantage of 14.12%