Baccarat is a popular casino game that has been played for centuries, and its rules can be easy to learn for beginners. This guide will take you through the basic Baccarat game rules and help you understand how the game is played.
We will cover everything from the card values and how to place bets, to the roles of the banker and the player, and the different variations of Baccarat you might encounter. Let’s get started and learn all about the exciting game of Baccarat!
Beginners Guide to Baccarat Rules
While baccarat might seem like a complex game at first glance, the basic baccarat rules are very straightforward. The objective of the game is to have a hand that is as close to 9 as possible. To give yourself the best chance of doing so, you need to know the types of bets, understand how they are paid out, and learn how a typical baccarat game plays out.
That said, depending on which baccarat variation you pick, you will also have to account for some specific rules unique to that variant. Before you start playing for real money, learn everything about the variation you picked and practice it for free until you thoroughly understand it.
How to Win at Baccarat
Baccarat is a game of chance and luck, so there’s no guaranteed way to win every round. There’s no way to influence the card you or the banker will get. You can only count on good fortune. That said, there are a few things you can do to increase your winning chances in baccarat.
A basic general tip is to pick the banker bet. Moreover, it’s equally important to avoid the tie bet, as it is by far the riskiest of the main baccarat bets. Additionally, set a baccarat bankroll and keep track of your money. Use a betting strategy for a more systematic approach, but don’t rely on it to provide certain wins.
Card Values in Baccarat
Baccarat has very simple rules when it comes to card values. The game uses a standard deck of 52 cards. All Aces are valued at one point. All numbered cards from 2 to 9 are worth their face value. For example, a 3 is worth three points, and a 6 is worth six points.
Lastly, all face cards and tens are worth zero points. In other words, these cards don’t add any points to your hand. For instance, if you have a Queen and a five, your hand’s total value is just five.
Basic Baccarat Rules
Every baccarat round plays out the same. It begins with the players placing their bets. During this time, players can place both the main bets and the side bets. After the betting round is over, the dealer lays out the cards.
The dealer will give two cards to the player and two cards to the banker. All cards are laid out face up on the table. If either the player or the banker scores an 8 or 9, the game is automatically over. This is known as a “natural”. That said, if both score the same natural, the game is a tie.
If neither the player nor the banker has a natural, the game continues. The dealer will give the third card to the player. Depending on the total value of the player’s and banker’s hands, the dealer will give the banker a third card.
The hand with a total score closest to 9 wins the game. The dealer pays the winning players, and a new betting round begins.
The dealer generally assumes the position of the banker in most variations. However, in some variations, a player can also be the banker. This is an important note to remember, so make sure to know all the casino baccarat rules of the variation you want to play.
⭐ Baccarat Rules at Land-Based Casinos
A full-sized standard baccarat table can accommodate up to 14 players. The game is played with the same rules we outlined in the previous section. The specific betting limits can vary depending on the table. For example, you might find tables that have a $10 minimum limit. At the same time, high-roller baccarat tables can have four-figure minimum table limits.
When playing baccarat in a land-based casino, the atmosphere plays a big part in the overall gambling experience. With that in mind, you need to learn proper baccarat etiquette and be social. It’s essential to place timely bets and handle the cards and shoe appropriately.
⭐ Online Baccarat Rules
The standard baccarat rules in online casinos are the same as the ones in brick-and-mortar casinos. Still, if you play a classic online baccarat game, there are a few aspects that directly affect your experience.
Specifically, the betting limits will generally be lower than those in land-based casinos. This is because online baccarat requires far fewer operating expenses. From a gameplay perspective, the biggest difference is that you’re controlling the game. You can play it at your own pace.
On the other hand, online live casino baccarat offers an experience much more comparable to the one in land-based casinos. There’s a professional dealer that controls the pace of the game. Moreover, you can communicate with the dealer and other baccarat players through the chat tab.
Main Types of Baccarat Bets
Baccarat only has three main bets. These are the player bet, the banker bet, and the tie bet. To better understand how each of them works, let’s discuss them in more detail:
⭐ Betting on the Player In Baccarat
When you pick the Player bet, you are betting that your hand will have a higher total value than the banker’s hand. If the player’s hand wins, the payout is even money (i.e. a 1 to 1 ratio). So, for example, if a player bets $10 on the player bet and wins, they will receive their original bet of $10 back plus an additional $10 in winnings.
⭐ Betting on the Banker in Baccarat
Betting on the banker is the opposite of betting on the player. With this bet, you’re predicting that the banker’s hand will have a higher total value. The banker bet is considered the most favorable bet in baccarat. However, in most baccarat variations, you have to pay a 5% commission on winning Banker bets.
⭐ Betting on the Tie in Baccarat
When you pick the tie bet, you are wagering on a tie outcome between the player’s and the banker’s hand. This game offers the most generous payouts, as ties pay 9 to 1 or 8 to 1. However, this bet has a very high house edge and the tie bet has a much lower probability of occurring than the other two main baccarat bets. Because of this, the tie bet is generally considered a poor choice.
How Dealers Play Their Baccarat Hand
The dealer has to follow a set of predetermined rules when playing their baccarat hand. The extent of specific rules can vary from casino to casino. That said, there are some universal rules that you’ll find in most online and land-based casinos.
If the banker’s first two cards add up to 7 or more, they must stand. If the banker has a total of 0 to 2, they are required to draw an additional card. Lastly, if the banker’s total is between 3 and 6, whether they will draw depends on whether the player drew the third card and the value of the card the player drew.
Odds of Winning In Baccarat
Besides understanding how to play baccarat and the payouts, it’s also essential to know the odds of getting your bets right. This can help you assess how profitable a specific baccarat bet is. Such information is absolutely vital, especially if you want to play baccarat long-term.
When analyzing the overall result distribution, the banker’s hand wins 45.8% of the time, while the player’s hand wins 44.6% of the time. Tie bets win around 9.6% of the time. When comparing only the player and banker bet, the latter wins approximately 51% of the time.
House Edge in Baccarat
The house edge is one of the most important aspects you should always know when playing any casino game, not just baccarat. In this context, baccarat is a game with a fairly low house edge. However, this can vary depending on the specific bet you place, as some baccarat bets come with a substantially higher house edge than others.
Looking at the three main types of bets in baccarat, the banker bet has the most favorable house edge, standing at just 1.06%. The player bet has a negligibly higher house edge of 1.24%. The tie bet has a house edge of over 14% and is by far the worst bet of the three in this regard.
Additionally, we should mention that the number of decks also influences the overall house edge you’ll be playing with. While these differences are quite minute, they are most obvious when looking at the tie bet. More precisely, the house edge for the tie bet is almost 1.5% higher in a single-deck baccarat game compared to an eight-deck one.
Lastly, as the player and the banker bet have similar house edge percentages, the casino does include one sneaky rule to ensure it stays profitable. Namely, it introduces a 5% commission on any winning banker bet. Fortunately, there are some no-commission baccarat games available at all the best online casinos.
Side Bets in Baccarat
Side bets are entirely optional wagers that players can use to make their betting experience more exciting. The availability of these bets will differ based on the game you’re playing. Considering that, we’ll only go over the handful of the most popular and common side bets. Here’s a closer look at some of the most prevalent baccarat side bets:
- All Black/All Red — You bet on whether the player’s hand will contain only black or red cards. The all-black bet pays 24 to 1, and the all-red bet pays 22 to 1.
- Royal Match — This bet pays if the player’s first two cards are a King and Queen. Any King/Queen combo pays 30 to 1, while a suited Royal Match pays an outstanding 75 to 1.
- Big and Small — This is a bet on the total combined number of cards the player and banker will finish the round with. A bet on a total of four cards pays 3 to 2, while a bet on five or six cards pays 2 to 1.
- Dragon Bonus — You can bet on either the player on the banker to win by a certain point margin. The maximum nine-point margin of victory pays 30 to 1.
- Lucky Bonus/Super 6 — A side bet on the banker winning with a value of six. It generally pays 18 to 1, but you can also find online casinos where it pays out a less impressive 12 to 1.
- Perfect Pair — This bet pays 5 to 1 if you have a pair of two same-ranking cards. Better yet, you can win 25 to 1 if the pair consists of cards of the same suit.
With these bets in mind, it’s also crucial to answer the question—are baccarat side bets worth it? Baccarat side bets are worth it from an entertainment perspective and can be great when you want to enhance your experience. However, most of these bets come with considerably high house edge percentages. So, side bets are not a wise choice if you want to win as much as possible.
Baccarat Game Rule Variations
Baccarat is one of the most popular casino card games, so you can find many variations. This is especially true if you play baccarat in online casinos. With that in mind, here’s an overview of some of the most popular baccarat variations:
⭐ Rules for Speed Baccarat
As the name implies, the main difference between classic and speed baccarat is that the latter is played at a much faster pace. An average round of speed baccarat is nearly two times quicker than the standard baccarat round. To put it into numbers, a standard baccarat game round lasts about 48 seconds. A speed baccarat round lasts only 27 seconds.
Other than that, the basic rules are the same. It uses eight standard 52-card decks. The three main bets remain the same. Lastly, the game also follows the standard payout structure for each type of bet.
⭐ Rules for No Commission Baccarat
No commission baccarat is a variation of the traditional baccarat game that eliminates the commission typically taken out of winning banker bets. The game is played with the same rules as traditional baccarat, using six to eight decks of cards.
As the rules are the same, transitioning from classic baccarat to no commission baccarat is easy. The main advantage of playing this game is that the banker bet truly pays 1 to 1, as you’re not leaving the 5% like in the standard game.
⭐ Rules for Lightning Baccarat
Lightning Baccarat is one of several live casino games made by Evolution Gaming in its Lightning series. It combines live play elements with RNG multipliers. The base betting options are identical to those in standard baccarat.
However, there’s one substantial difference. After the betting time has expired, the Lightning Round begins. Between one and five random cards are struck with lightning and given a random multiplier.
The more Lightning Cards there are in the winning hand, the more the multipliers are increased. The maximum multiplier can go up to 512x on the player and banker bets. But, this is nothing compared to the multiplier on the tie bet. It can go up to 262,144x.
⭐ Rules of Chemin de Fer Baccarat
Chemin de Fer is the most popular baccarat variation in France. Like many other baccarat variations, it uses six decks of cards, and players can alternate their position as the banker. With this in mind, the biggest difference between standard baccarat and Chemin de Fer is that the latter version pits the players against one another instead of the croupier.
The banker sets the amount they want to risk, and the other players at the table place their stakes until they match the amount that the banker has initially wagered. The banker can even decline the bet in case the total number of bets goes over the banker’s initial stake. These unique rules make Chemin de Fer a very interesting baccarat variation.
⭐ Rules of Baccarat Banque
Baccarat Banque is one of the oldest baccarat variations still being played today. This game is typically played with three standard decks, a deviation from the six-deck standard many baccarat variations follow.
One of this game’s main distinctive features is that the dealer is determined at the start of every round. Additionally, players can “go bank” up to three times. If they succeed in their challenge, they can become the banker.