How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat, often called Punto Banco or Player/Banker, is a card comparing game and one where a player has to predict which of the parties involved will end up with a higher hand score. Some pararells can be drawn between this game and BlackJack, but the only actual similarity between the two is that they both are card comparing games between two sides involved – the player and the house. It’s possible that you might not have heard all that much about this game, but it dates back into centuries, when a different version of it was very popular among wealthy people. Chemin De Fer is a club type of Baccarat and features an element of skill. It was played for very high stakes among some of the finest living people back in the days. As many other casino games, Baccarat is also believed to be introduced in France. Lets jump straight into action by taking a look at the gameplay, rules and how the hands are valued.

Hand Valuation

This game is unique in a number of ways and one of them is the way hands are valued and point score counted. Before we get into specifics, I want to add that the highest possible hand value in Baccarat is ”9”. This is equal to a natural hand of BlackJack for this game, but won’t credit you with a 3 to 2 payout. However, once you get a natural hand in Baccarat, no more drawing is done and winnings are instantly paid out.

  • Deuces through nines are worth their face value – a deuce is worth two points while a nine is worth nine points.
  • Face cards are worth zero points – Tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings
  • Aces are worth 1 point.

A hand in Baccarat consists of at least two cards and no more then three of them. You likely already have a question about how the highest hand value can be 9 points when a single card is worth that much. This is due to the fact that the point score of a hand is calculated by taking the rightmost number from the sum into account. For example, you hold a hand of two nines that features a point sum of 18. In Baccarat your hand would be worth 8 points, thus you would have a great chance at winning.

Game Play

The whole game consists of a constant battle between two sides – the player and the banker. Don’t misunderstand this, you are not limited to only being and wagering on the player to win a particular hand. These two are bet types that you can make playing.

A single hand of Baccarat starts with placing a wager, just like most casino games do. In a regular type of this game, you will be presented with a chance to bet on either of the 3 bet types.

  • The player to win the hand by reaching a higher point score
  • The banker to win the hand by reaching a higher point score
  • Both the player and the banker to have equal point scores – a tie

Once you have decided about the bet type to make, dealer will be dealing cards to both sides. Baccarat is usually dealt from a shoe that consists of either 4, 6 or 8 decks. Initially, the banker and the player are both deal two cards each. If none of the sides involved has been dealt a hand that is worth 8 or 9 points, drawing rules are applied. These might seem quite overwhelming, but you have nothing to worry about as the dealer is taking full control of the game after you have placed your wager. The only thing you need to do is cheer about the hand you bet at to win.

The Player only follows a single rule: if the two cards dealt to his hand feature a total value of between 0 and 5, the third card is drawn. If the total value is either 6 or 7, no more cards are drawn.

The Banker, on the other hand, follows a set of more complicated rules, but again – dealer will be well aware of these or if you play online, the software will automaticly follow these. The Bankers rules are actually dependant on what card the player drew. If the player did not draw any more cards, the banker follows the same rules as the player. Otherwise, these are the drawing rules:

  • If player drew a deuce or a three, banker draws with between zero to four and stands with five to seven.
  • If player drew a four or a five, banker draws with between zero to five and stands with six to seven.
  • If player drew a six or a seven, banker draws with between zero to six and stands with seven.
  • If player drew an eight, banker draws with between zero to two and stands with three to seven.
  • If player drew an ace, nine or a face card, banker draws with between zero and three and stands with four to seven.


Baccarat offers even money payouts for both, the banker and the player bets, but the first one charges an extra 5% commission due to the fact that the banker is actually a favourite to win the hand. Winning wagers of $100 would return $200 total for winning bets on the player and $195 for bets on the banker.

The tie bet pays out at relatively large odds of 8 to 1, but the choices of both sides actually having an equal point score are slim. I you bet $100 on this bet type and win, you will get a payout of $900 total. Note that if you bet on the tie and win, any bets on either the banker or the player will remain in place. Some casinos will allow you to take them off while others will require to leave them where they are at.

Betting Systems

Even though Baccarat has no room for skill, there are still plenty of people advising that the game is beatable by using some sort of a betting system or strategy that bases its foundation on the outcome of the previous hand. Well, I’ll be honest here and tell you that usage of any Baccarat System out there won’t help you to turn the odds upside down. However, if you do want to use a system, here’s how to apply Martingale System when playing Baccarat.

Start out by betting a single unit on the Banker (always bet on the banker, as it is a proven statistical favorite to win the hand vs the player). For the purpose of this example, I will start out by betting $10.

You bet $10 and lose – double your wager every time you lose.

You bet $20 and lose – double the stakes again.

You bet $40 and lose – same.

You bet $80 and win – now you are up your initial betting unit ($10) and can start the whole system by picking an initial wager again. Simple, right?

The House Edge

Baccarat is one of the few casino games that feature a pretty small house edge which varies depending on the bet type you end up choosing. Here’s an overview of the percentages for main bet types:

The Banker Bet – house edge of 1.06%. Expect to lose $1.06 for every $100 wagered.

The Player Bet – house edge of 1.45%. Expect to lose $1.45 for every $100 wagered.

The Tie Bet – house edge of approximately 14%. Expect to lose $14 for every $100 wagered.

As you can see, the tie bet is actually the worst one to bet at, which might be a surprise to many players that have been betting on it due to the big payout odds. The best Baccarat Tip I can give to you is to always bet on the banker to win and try to find a type of this game that uses less than 8 decks of cards in play, ideally a game is shuffled from a single deck. This will take the house edge down to the minimum of 1.01% for the bankers bet.

May 27, 2013 - Offer valid as of date published. T&Cs apply.