How to play Baccarat: Rules and Gameplay Explained | LeoVegas NZ

How to play Baccarat: Beginners Guide


This guide introduces beginners to the game of Baccarat, emphasizing its popularity and strategic potential. The article covers the basic rules, focusing on the objective of predicting which hand, Banker or Player, will total closest to nine. It details the card values, including the adjustment for scores exceeding nine, and introduces the concept of Natural hands.

The Baccarat Third Card Rules are explained, providing insights into situations where a third card may be dealt based on the total value of the hands. The table layout for both mini-Baccarat and larger tables is described, with details about betting options and the role of the dealer.

Table of Contents

Baccarat is well known as featuring in many James Bond films, but you don’t have to be a special agent to play it. It is one of the most popular casino games in the world and offers one of the best ways to beat the ‘house’ when using the right strategy.

In this piece, we will focus on the basic rules of Baccarat, the process of the game, the odds and payouts available, and why Baccarat should be part of your casino experience.


Basic rules of Baccarat

The rules of Baccarat are more straightforward than people think and, once understood, you will see what an intense, unique, and exciting game this is. The aim of Baccarat is to bet on which hand will be closest to totalling nine. Here are the rules.

The game starts with all bets being placed before a hand begins. Two hands of two cards are then dealt, one is the Player hand, and one is the Banker hand. It is important to note, the dealer is not the Banker, it is just a name to differentiate the two hands.

The objective is to predict which of these hands, the Banker or the Player, will hit a total that is closest to nine with the two cards. You do this by betting on the Bank hand or the Player hand, but you can also bet that both hands will have the same score, which is known as a tie.

If the Player or Banker hands draw an 8 or 9 from the two cards dealt, this is called a ‘Natural’ and no more cards will be dealt.

If a hand is dealt that totals ten, this will become a zero value. The same is true for pictures cards, i.e., King, Queen and Jack. An ace has a value of one, with all other cards scoring with their face value. If any hand should score higher than a nine, i.e., a six and seven would make thirteen, the score is adjusted by subtracting ten from that total to leave three.

Different rules at different casinos will decide if a third card can be dealt to the Banker or Player hand, but three cards is the maximum that will be dealt to any one hand. If you bet correctly on a winning Player hand closest to nine, you will be paid out at evens money, or a 1 to 1 payout.

However, if you bet correctly on the Banker hand to win, you will also get the evens money payout, but under Baccarat rules you have to pay a 5% commission too. This is how the ‘house’ gets the edge by reducing the payout on the Banker hand to 95%.

However, in Asia it is popular to offer commission-free betting on the Banker hand.

If you correctly bet on a winning tie bet, your payout is 8 to 1.

Baccarat Card Values

All number cards carry their face value between two and nine. However, if you are dealt a ten, King, Queen or Jack, these cards are deemed to be worth zero. An ace has a value of one.

If the two cards you are dealt score higher than a nine, i.e., a seven and five would make twelve, the score is adjusted by subtracting ten from that total to leave a score of two.

Baccarat Third Card Rules

The value of the Player's Hand as a whole will determine whether a third card is dealt after the dealer has dealt two cards to the Player's Hand and two cards to the Banker's Hand if neither pair totals eight or nine. Understanding third card rules, or situations where a third card might be dealt, will help you better understand how baccarat is played.

The Banker's Hand follows the same principles when the Player's Hand is reduced to two cards: if the hand value is between 0 and 5, a third card is needed; if it is between 6 and 7, the hand will stand. The baccarat chart best displays this:

Baccarat Third Card Rules Player

Baccarat Third Card Rule Banker

The dealer starts by finding the player's third card in the first column of the above chart. The dealer must then use the left column to calculate the banker's hand after that. The left column and top right row are used by the dealer from this point on to determine whether to draw or stand, as indicated by D and S in our chart.

The banker draws the third card if the chart instructs the dealer to draw. However, no additional cards are needed if the chart shows a Stand.

Baccarat Table Layout

A mini-Baccarat table looks similar to a Blackjack table, with the dealer sat behind the table, facing up to seven players. The dealer will run the game and instruct players when they’ll be taking ‘no more bets.’

Each player will bet on either Banker, Player or a Tie, by placing their chips in the appropriate box in front of them. As mentioned, the dealer will then deal two sets of two cards; one which represents the Player hand and the other the Banker hand.

Once the totals are calculated, the dealer will rake in the losing chips from those whose bets lost, whilst paying out to the winning players who had guessed Player or Banker correctly.

The mini-Baccarat tables are the ones you are more likely to see in casinos and are the format used in online Baccarat games.

There are also bigger Baccarat tables that can accommodate up to fourteen players. As there is more work to do on the bigger tables, often two dealers will be employed to manage the table. These bigger versions are also more likely to be found in the VIP areas of a casino and have higher minimum stakes. The game is exactly the same, however.

Baccarat odds and payouts

Baccarat offers really good value compared to other casino games, with some of the most competitive odds around. With odds of the Banker’s hand winning around the 45.8% of the time, and the Player hand winning around 44.6% of the time, you can see why the game is so popular.

If you factor in the ‘Tie’, which occurs around 9.6% of the time, the Banker’s hand suddenly has a chance of winning around 51%. This is why so many players will opt to back the Banker’s hand.

If you back the Player’s hand and it wins, you are paid out at evens money. The payout is the same for the Banker’s hand, but the house takes 5% commission, so you only get 95% of your stake back.

Although the tie only occurs 9.6% of the time, the payout is a generous 8 to 1.

Baccarat house edge

Baccarat can boast a house edge that is better than Roulette, with only Blackjack at 0.5% enjoying a better percentage. The house edge on bets backing the Banker’s hand is 1.06%, whilst it is 1.24% on bets backing the Player’s hand.

Betting on the tie gives a house edge of 14.4%. although the payouts are generous, the likelihood of this bet coming in is limited.

Why play Baccarat?

Although people might be put off trying Baccarat, it is one of the simplest card games you can play in a casino or online. You just need to know how to add numbers, as it is a game of pure luck. Although taking a few calculated risks could work in your favour.

Not only do players enjoy the simplicity of the game, but they also enjoy the speed of it. There are no strategies for players to think of and you don’t have to wait for other players to make their move as everything is dealt at the same time.

You only have three choices to make, whether you bet on the Banker (Bunco), the Player (Punto) or on the Tie. And since you only have three possibilities to worry about, your odds of winning are increased.

Baccarat Rules FAQ

What are the rules for baccarat?

Baccarat is a simple game. All you need to do is to predict which of two hads, the Banker or the Player, will hit a total that is closest to nine with the two cards.

When is a third card drawn in baccarat?

It is up to the house rules to determine if a third hand can be dealt. If it can then it will happen if the Player, or Banker, draws a score of 0-5 from their first two cards.

What is the best bet in baccarat?

As the odds on the Banker winning is just over 50%, betting on the Banker hand is the best bet.

How to win in baccarat?

Baccarat is a game of luck, but you can increase your chances of winning by betting on the Banker hand, and using some strategies, such as card counting and Martingale.

Should I bet on a tie in baccarat?

It is not advised. Playing the tie bets gives the house a 14.4% edge.

What is a minimum bet in baccarat?

The minimum bet will be determined by each house. Some will offer games for small minimum stakes, whilst others will have a much higher minimum stake. It is important to look around for a minimum stake to suit your budget.

How much is the commission if I bet on the banker?

The commission for betting on the Banker hand is usually 5%, which means you’d only receive 95% of your winnings should you guess the Banker hand correctly. However, it has become popular in Asia to offer commission-free betting in Baccarat.

When both the banker and a player have a 6 after the initial deal, is it a draw?

Yes. The player must stand on 6. A tie results if the banker also has 6.

What is a “free hand” in baccarat?

“Free hand” is a hand dealt without placing the bet. This practice is sometimes encountered in brick-and-mortar casinos.

What is a natural hand in baccarat?

Natural baccarat is a hand of two cards that have a total value of 8 or 9.

Do you have to bet every hand in baccarat?

In an online casino, you have to bet every round on a Player, Banker, or Tie. In brick-and-mortar casinos, you sometimes have an option of not betting in certain rounds (this is called “free hand” ).

Which hand wins most frequently in baccarat?

The Banker hand has the highest odds of winning with 45.8%.

Is baccarat a game of skill or luck?

Unlike blackjack or poker, baccarat is a game of pure luck with little skill involved. However, you can try using card counting in baccarat to improve your chances of winning.

Is baccarat easier than blackjack?

Baccarat is definitely much easier than blackjack since there are no additional actions after placing the bet. It feels like roulette: you place the bet and wait for the outcome.

Should I always bet on Banker in baccarat?

Due to the reduced house edge, the Banker bet is frequently seen as the most advantageous in Baccarat. However, the casino often receives 5% of winnings as commission, which partially evens the playing field.

Why is Banker the best bet in baccarat?

Since Banker draws cards last, his hand has slightly better odds of winning compared to the Players' hand.

Is it possible to count cards in baccarat?

Yes, it is possible, however, the efficiency and game impact is lower compared to the card counting in blackjack.

What is a tiger in baccarat?

Tiger is a baccarat side bet that wins if the banker wins with a point total of six with either two or three cards.

Can you win long term in baccarat?

Since there is not much decision-making involved in baccarat, it is hard to win long term. However, good bankroll management can help to plan your strategy in advance.

What happens if you go over 9 in baccarat?

If the total value of your cards goes over 9, the score resets to zero and only the second digit is used.

Which country invented baccarat?

Baccarat was invented in Italy in the 1400s. In Italian, baccara literally means zero.

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