How to Play Baccarat Like an Expert

  • In Baccarat, the dealer deals two cards to himself and two to each player sitting around the table.
  • The winning hand in Baccarat is the hand whose sum is closest to 9.
  • Card values are figured differently in Baccarat so that the sum can never exceed 9.

Baccarat is a gentleman’s Game, but this gives you no excuse to be intimidated by this simple Casino Game. While the Game does have a large following of gamblers with deep pockets many people love the Game for its feeling of class so feel free! If you’re going to a Casino you may want to consider the addition of a suit jacket to enhance this feeling, but playing Baccarat online is comfortably done in your underwear from the comfort of your own home.

Learning how to play Baccarat is quick and simple as there is no in depth strategy to work out in order to be a winner. The rules of Baccarat ensure that the Game is based 100% on chance which means that basic knowledge of the classic Game is enough to get you started.


Basic Baccarat Rules

In a real Casino, several players are seated around the Baccarat Table together like in Blackjack, but there are never more than two hands of cards dealt in Baccarat. The dealer deals two cards for himself, this hand is known as the banker’s hand, and two cards for a hand for the player. No matter how many people are seated at the Baccarat table, there is only one hand for the player.

The next and most important Baccarat rules are the three different bets you can make based on these two hands. The winning hand in Baccarat is the hand whose sum is closest to 9. However, if the banker’s hand wins, this doesn’t mean that the banker wins the money. It is up to you as the player to bet on the winning hand.

According to all Baccarat rules, you can place your bet on the hand of the banker, the hand of the player, or on a tie. If for example you place a five dollar bet on the banker’s hand and the banker wins with a total sum of 9, than you will win 5 dollars as this bet pays 1 to 1. Bets on the player’s hand also pays 1 to 1 while a bet on there being a tie pays 8 to 1 or 9 to 1 depending on the version of Baccarat. Another important thing to remember when learning how to play Baccarat is that the casino will take 5% of your winnings as commission. In the example mentioned above you will actually receive winnings of $4.75.

The Finer Points

While these are the basic Baccarat rules that you need to get started, there are a few finer points that will give you a complete understanding of the popular game.

Firstly, card values are figured differently in Baccarat than in other games like Blackjack. Cards 2-9 are counted as they are and the hand can never reach a sum of more than nine. This is achieved in three ways:

  • Aces count as 1
  • Face cards and 10s count as 0
  • If the sum of the hand goes over 10, the true value of the hand can be found by removing the number’s first digit.

For example, if a hand contains a 9 and 8 the sum of the hand ought to be 17, right? Wrong. There is no such thing as a bust in Baccarat and therefore you remove the first digit of 17 bringing the hand total to 7.

Banker’s Baccarat Rules

Learning how to play Baccarat is similar to Blackjack in at least one way. The banker, or dealer, works by a strict set of rules that guarantees fairness.

Each hand is originally dealt two cards, but each has the possibility of reaching three total cards. The addition of a third card to either of the hands is decided by the rules of Baccarat which the banker is obligated to follow, so don’t ask the dealer to hit you because if he doesn’t, someone else at the table might.

In any case, if one of the hands stands at a total of 8 or 9, this is called a natural and no cards are drawn. If there is no total of 8 or 9 on the first draw then the banker will add a card to the player’s hand only if the hand equals 5 or less.

The banker’s hand however adheres to rules that are a bit stricter. The banker will automatically add a third card to his hand if:

  • The banker’s hand equals two or less
  • The banker’s hand equals three and the player’s third card was anything other than 8
  • The banker’s hand equals four  and the player’s third card was anything other than 0,1,8, or 9
  • The banker’s hand equals five and the player’s third card was  4,5,6, or 7
  • The banker’s hand equals six and the player’s third card was 6 or 7

The banker will always stand if his total is 7. If the player doesn’t receive a third card then the banker will also stand on 6. No hand can ever have more than three cards.

As a beginner, you can trust the dealer to remember the complicated math but playing Baccarat online first is a great way to get used to the rules yourself until you feel confident and comfortable playing socially.