Welcome to the complete guide on how to play baccarat and win. Here, we will cover the baccarat rules, the payouts, the house edge, the best strategy, and other useful resources to help you make the most of each round.
While the baccarat card game may seem difficult, it is actually one of the easiest options to play in a casino and it maintains a low house edge. This combination can make it the perfect fit for many players. Plus, it is the featured game in the old-school James Bond movies, so it definitely has some appeal on the casino floor.
The Rules of Baccarat
Baccarat is a card game played with six, seven, or eight standard decks of 52 cards, each. The goal here is to correctly predict which of the two hands will win the round, or if it will be a tie.
The value of the hand is the sum of its cards, but with only the rightmost digit being taken into account. So, for example, a hand made out of 10 and 6 is only worth six points, while a 2 and a 7 in the same hand are worth 9 points, making it the stronger hand.
Cards ranging from 2 to 9 have their face value, the number shown on the actual cards. For 10, Jack, Queen, and King, each card is worth 0 points, while the Ace is one point.
Baccarat Dealing Rules
Each hand starts with two cards and additional cards can be dealt from the deck. The dealing rules of baccarat are a bit complex:
- If the player total is 5 or less, the dealer adds a third card to the hand.
- If the player total is 6 or 7, no additional cards are required.
- When the player stands, the banker receives another card on 5 or less and stands on 6 or 7.
- If the banker total is 2, 1, or 0 from the first two cards, the dealer adds a third card to the hand regardless of the player’s hand.
- If the banker total is 3 and the player’s third card is not an 8, the banker receives another card.
- When the banker total is 4 and the player’s third card is 2-7, the hand receives another card.
- When the banker total is 5 and the player’s third card is 4-7, another card is drawn.
- If the banker total is 6 and the player’s third card is 6 or 7, another card is added to the banker hand.
- If the banker total is 7 from the first two cards, the hand stands.
The following baccarat table highlights the dealing rules:
The house edge in baccarat depends on the number of decks used to play the game and on the betting options. When using eight decks, the “Player” bet has a house edge of 1.24%. The “Banker” bet has better baccarat odds with a lower house edge of 1.06%, despite a 5% commission on wins. This makes the Banker bet the best bet and the recommended option in our baccarat guide.
The third standard betting option in baccarat is on “Tie” which gives the casino a 14.4% advantage when it pays 8:1 and 4.85% for a 9:1 payout. If a tie occurs, bets on either banker or player will be a push and customers receive their stake back.
Overall, the banker hand will win around 45.8% of rounds, while the player hand wins 44.6% of the time. Ties occur 9.6% of rounds, so if we factor this out due to the low payout provided, the banker hand wins almost 51% of bets.
As a result, baccarat is among the casino games with the best odds when avoiding the tie bet. In fact, it is best to only bet on the banker side given the lower house edge.
How to Play Baccarat – Step-by-Step Guide
Regardless if you are playing in a land-based casino or online, you just have to follow these simple steps:
1. Joining a Baccarat Table
Find a baccarat table with an empty seat in the casino and sit down. For online baccarat, search for the game on the casino of your choice and start it up. Baccarat is also called Punto Banco, which is by far the most popular variant of the game.
2. Placing the Bets
Select the preferred size of the casino chips and then place them on the corresponding bet that you wish to make. When learning how to play baccarat online, you can take as much time as you want to place the bets and then deal the cards. Live versions have dedicated windows for betting.
3. Dealing the Cards
After placing the bet, the dealer will deal the cards based on the baccarat rules. For online gaming, you will have to press the “Deal” button to start the action.
4. Paying the Winners
Once the hands are determined, the dealer will pay the winnings to the players and a new round is ready to begin. It really is that simple.
Top Baccarat Online Casinos
The best way to practice and learn how to play baccarat is online. Real money online casinos are now available in multiple states, offering players a wide range of gaming options. These often include the baccarat card game under the category for table games. Many sites also offer live dealer versions of baccarat that can be more exciting to play.
Due to the low house edge, baccarat is one of the best casino games for frequent players. However, despite this fact, baccarat can be volatile, as shown by a study on casino baccarat handle. Inconsistent monthly win percentages show that the results can vary greatly at the baccarat tables.
Also important to note is that baccarat doesn’t have a strategy that can affect the actual house edge of the game, as is the case with the blackjack basic strategy. The player doesn’t have any control on the outcome of the round once the bets are set. While some versions can allow players to squeeze and turn the cards, this does not influence the actual results.
The available baccarat strategies are based on betting systems for even money payouts. This is where baccarat gambling can provide an advantage when compared to other games in a casino. These systems are very easy to learn and even new players can master how to play baccarat and win more in the long run.
Before jumping into that, however, we recommend setting a bankroll and spending limits. Always gamble responsibly and don’t chase your losses. Know how to bet on baccarat with the right strategy that fits your style.
Martingale Strategy for Baccarat
Martingale is one of the most popular betting systems for casino games that pay even money. It is one of the best roulette strategies for outside bets and can easily be applied to baccarat as well.
For this strategy, you simply have to double the size of the bet after a loss and then reset to the initial stake after a win. In other words, if you are betting $10 on player and you lose, your next bet should be $20. Another loss means that the following bet is $40. If you then win the bet, you receive a payout of $40 on top of the $40 bet back. Not only does that cover the two lost bets, but also includes a $10 profit.
For the Martingale system in the baccarat game, you will need a large bankroll. Start with a bet equal to 2% of the total sum available for the session. This is because multiple losses in a row can quickly increase the bet and make it unaffordable. Start small and leave enough money to cover a losing streak for this baccarat guide strategy.
D’Alembert Strategy for Baccarat
This betting system is a bit more difficult, but it doesn’t punish losing streaks as bad. To apply the D’Alembert strategy in casino baccarat, you first need to establish a betting unit. This should be around 1% of your available bankroll.
The first bet is equal to five betting units and you then increase the bet by one unit for every loss and decrease it by one after a win. So, with a bankroll of $500, the unit should be $5 and the initial bet $25. After a loss, the bet goes up to $30 and then to $35 if we lose again. On a win, we lower the bet by $5 and put $30 for the following round.
This strategy works well with both the banker and the player bet. Given the lower house edge on the banker, it is best to go for this betting option. Keep in mind that you will only receive 95% of the payout if the bet is successful. You should only use the strategy once you known how to play baccarat at a casino. For beginners, we recommend sticking to just one small bet.
Paroli Strategy with a Limit for Baccarat
The Paroli betting system is also known as the reverse Martingale. Here, you double the bet after a win and reset after a loss. We recommend adding a limit after three consecutive wins in order to better take advantage of winning streaks and not lose all of the profits.
For example, if you are starting with a $10 bet and you lose, you bet $10 again. If you win, however, you double the bet to $20. After another win, you double the bet again to $40. If the winning streak continues, the next bet is $80 and this is the maximum limit (3x). So, instead of doubling the bet again, you should bet the same amount on the following round.
This way, you can still win a large amount if you are lucky again, but you don’t risk losing all of your profits. The baccarat odds remain the same, but the long-term results can improve with a bit of luck.
Edge Sorting in Baccarat
Edge sorting is a playing technique that players can only use in brick-and-mortar casinos, and only in some scenarios. Here, the goal is to determine if a playing card is low or high by looking at the imperfections on the back.
When the cards are manufactured, there can be some small variations from the way these are cut. Players can then observe the patterns on the back and associate actual values to the cards. Then, after the cards shuffle, that information can be used to better predict what cards are coming up from the shoe.
Edge sorting became a major talking point in 2012 when poker player Phil Ivey won around $10 million on two separate occasions. One of the casinos refused to pay him, while the Borgata Hotel Casino in Atlantic City sued Phil Ivey for almost $10 million. While edge sorting isn’t illegal, it is worth pointing out that Ivey didn’t keep any of the $20 million he won from the two casinos.
Main Baccarat Variations
There are several versions of baccarat available in casinos throughout the US and online. These can have small differences, so it is important to know how they work before betting cash.
Punto Banco is by far the most popular version of casino baccarat in the United States, Canada, Macau, and other regions. In fact, it is so popular that many casinos will simply label Punto Banco tables as baccarat. Unless specified otherwise, baccarat games use the Punto Banco version.
Here, the casino is responsible for playing out the cards based on a fixed dealing baccarat table. Players can choose to bet on either of the two sides, Punto (Player) or Banco (Banker), or on a tie. Winning Banco bets pay 95% due to a 5% commission that is made clear in the online baccarat guide info.
Also known as Mini Baccarat, this version of the card game is more popular in casinos in Macau because it can seat more players. The main difference between Super 6 and Punto Banco is the payout for the banker bets. While these no longer take a 5% commission, players only receive 50% of the bet if the banker wins with a 6.
As a result, the banker bet in Super 6 has a house edge of 1.46%, which makes it less advantageous for the player.
EZ Baccarat is similar to Super 6, as it pays even money on both the banker and the player bets, without any commission. The only exception is that if the banker wins with a hand worth 7 points from three cards, all banker bets are a push.
Some additional variations here include Dragon 7, which has an extra side bet that pays 40:1 instead of a push on the banker winning with a 7.
Chemin de Fer
Chemin de fer is a baccarat variation made popular in France in the late 19th century. The game uses six decks and a group of players at a round or oval table. The game starts with the first player as the banker, who is also the dealer, and sets the initial betting amount.
Then, the other players go in counterclockwise order and announce if they want to “go bank” and play against the banker’s amount. After one player “goes bank” and places a bet, the other players can also add more bets as long as the total doesn’t exceed the initial banker bet.
After placing all of the required bets, the banker deals two cards for himself and two cards for the bettors side. If any of the two hands is worth 8 or 9 points, the hands are compared right away to determine the winner. If not, players can then choose to accept or deny a third card, followed by the banker, who has the same decision to make.
After the dealing round ends, the players and the banker reveal the cards and the hand with the highest value wins. As in other baccarat versions, only the rightmost digit of the total counts for the hand value.
A new round can begin and the banker can choose to withdraw and allow another player to take up the position.
Lightning Baccarat is an exclusive live dealer game developed by Evolution Gaming in 2020. It uses standard Punto Banco rules, while adding a random multiplier to up to five random cards in the deck. The multipliers can range from 2x to 8x and the cards must be in the winning hand for the rates to apply. This means that standard bets on either player or banker can be increased by up to 512 times.
To make up for the larger payouts, the game has a 20% Lightning Fee that applies to every bet. So, in order to place a $10 bet on the banker, players must pay $12. Also worth pointing out in this quick baccarat tutorial is that the tie bets only pay 5:1 if no multiplier cards are on the table.
Baccarat Tutorial – Types of Bets
Baccarat doesn’t have a lot of betting options, which makes it simpler than learning how to bet on roulette. In most cases, the best option is to stick to the main bets, but the promise of a larger payout can also make the side bets look appealing. Let’s go through the options in more detail.
Baccarat Main Bets
The main betting options in baccarat are on which hand will win the round, or if the result will be a tie. The Player and Banker bets are the biggest on the table, making them easy to spot. You just have to place your chips over the respective box to place the wager. These bets only pay even money, or 95%, so they aren’t the most exciting options.
The Tie bet is more thrilling given 8:1 or 9:1 potential payout. But, as we’ve mention in our online baccarat guide, the house edge is much higher when betting on a tie. As a result, we don’t recommend placing this bet often.
Baccarat Side Bets
The available side bets will depend on the baccarat version and table. The most common options in this category are for Banker Pair and Player Pair, also marked as B-Pair and P-Pair, respectively. For example, a Banker Pair bet pays out if the banker hand has two cards of the same value, regardless of the suit. In some versions, players can even bet on which pair of cards will be in the hand, like Banker Pair 7 for example.
Other baccarat side bets can be on the value of the tie. For example, you can bet on 3 Tie, which pays 200:1. Both the player and the banker hands will have to be worth three points at the end of the round for the bet to be successful.
How to Play Baccarat at a Casino
While the online version of baccarat is based on the land-based casino format, it does have some useful features that are not available in casinos. As a result, playing in a casino requires some tweaks after learning how to play baccarat online.
First of all, you will have to locate the baccarat table on the casino floor. You can do this by walking around or by asking one of the employees for directions. Note that some casinos can have exclusive baccarat tables for high rollers, which are usually separated by a velvet rope.
After you locate the baccarat tables, you can take an empty seat. Make sure to check the betting range before you sit down. Then, wait for the round to be over. The dealer will announce when players can place their bets. You do this by placing chips on the preferred betting option on the section of the table in front of you. When learning how to bet on baccarat, we recommend avoiding any side bets due to their high house edge.
Once the bets are placed, the dealer will deal the cards on the table and then pay out the winning bets. Afterwards, a new round is ready to begin and you now know how to play baccarat at a casino.
Tips for Baccarat – How to Play
To recap, these are the main baccarat tips to follow when playing the famous card game.
- Practice for Free – The best way to learn how to play baccarat is to practice for free, in demo mode. This option is only available online at some of the top gambling sites. You can simply start the game in demo mode and even practice different strategies with free credits.
- Avoid the Tie Bet – Even when it pays 9:1, the tie bet in baccarat has a high house edge of over 4%. This makes it a bad option in the long run and it is best to avoid it. Moreover, we recommend avoiding any other side bets found at the baccarat table.
- Bet on Banker – According to baccarat odds, the best bet is on the banker side, even if you pay 5% commission. When using a betting strategy that requires even money payouts, you can back the player side since the difference in odds is not that big.
- Claim Casino Bonuses – An advantage of playing online casino games is access to bonuses and rewards. Read the terms and conditions to see which offers are eligible for baccarat. Some of the best online casinos will provide loyalty points when betting on the games.
- Set Betting Limits – In order to play responsibly and not gamble too much, you should set a loss limit. Establish your bankroll from the start and then start with small bets, especially if you plan on using a long-term strategy.