Baccarat is a simple game of comparing cards. Whether you play Punto Banco in land-based casinos or you play baccarat online, the game has the same rules. Players receive two cards to compare in each game of Baccarat, called a “coup”: the player’s card and the banker’s card. Each coup of Baccarat has three possible outcomes: a tie, a player win, and a banker win.

The simplicity of the game’s rules and outcomes has made it a staple of casino gaming, especially in Europe and Asia. Baccarat is similar to two other European card games: Faro and Basset. Both of these games originally were played by French and English royalty. Both called for players to compare the ranks of cards and wager on either a player or a central bank.

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Baccarat Rules

Baccarat games generally use eight full decks of cards. Baccarat cards have the following values: Aces are worth 1, 2-9 cards are worth their number value, and 10 and face cards are worth 0.

At the beginning of each new Baccarat shoe, Baccarat dealers turn over a card. This card determines how many cards are burned off the deck, based on the Baccarat value of that card. These cards are sometimes called the “soda,” especially in European Baccarat games.

Dealers then stick the cut card in the bottom of the shoe. That cut card’s appearance later in the shoe signals the dealer that it is time to start a new shoe.

Baccarat play starts with every player betting on the player, the banker, or a tie. Once these bets are on the table, the Baccarat dealer deals two cards to the player and two cards to the banker.

In Baccarat, the score of a hand is the digit on the right of the card total. Let’s say the player is dealt a 5 and a 9. The total of those two is 14, so the player’s overall score is 4. The other digit is dropped. That means that all Baccarat scores are between 0 and 9. Unlike blackjack, Baccarat has no way of “busting.”

The History of Baccarat

Baccarat originated as an Italian card game, but it has spread around the world. The game originally spread from Italy to France, which is where it skyrocketed in popularity. Like most French casino and gambling games, Baccarat spread to the rest of the world through port cities. French noblemen loved to gamble, and they often traveled the world colonizing in the name of France.

Baccarat took hold in Asia more than any other gambling region, and in Macau, it is considered the choice game of high rollers. Baccarat is not as popular in America, though it is a traditional casino game title and is offered at most casinos, online and land-based.

Some gambling locales have embraced Baccarat more than others, especially Macau and other Asian casinos. This has something to do with the high roller aspect of the game (big wins and losses are possible on the simplest of gaming decisions) and something to do with game preferences among different nationalities.

Baccarat’s Third Card Rules

The tricky part of Baccarat rules comes when the third card chance occurs. Sometimes in Baccarat, a third card is dealt to either the player or the banker.

  1. If either the player or the banker totals 8 or 9 points, both players stand.
  2. If the player’s total is 5 or fewer, the player hits.
  3. If the player stands, the banker must hit on any total of 5 or less. If the player hits, the banker either hits or stands depending on their score.

Winners are determined by the score of the player versus the score of the banker. All winning bets on the banker pay 19 to 20 (which is an even-money bet minus a 5% vig) while winning bets on the player pay even money. Winning bets on ties pay off 8 to 1, the best payoff in Baccarat. In the event of a tie (or “push,) the dealer returns the player’s bet.

Baccarat players don’t pay the vig to the banker for each win. The player earns the even money and pays the commission to the dealer at the end of the game. These commission dollars are marked with special markers. Dealers can collect the vig at the beginning of a new shoe or when players cash out, usually a decision made standard by each casino offering Baccarat.

Baccarat Odds

The rules of Baccarat are straightforward, the bets are simple, and the odds are easy to calculate. There are only three bets in Baccarat, making strategy a simple matter of making the one wager with the best possible odds.

  • All bets on the player give the house an edge of 1.29%.
  • All bets on the bank, thanks to the 5% commission, give the casino a house edge of 1.01%.
  • All bets on a tie, which normally pays off at 8 to 1, give the house a steep 15.75% edge.
  • Overall, the banker’s hand wins more often than any other bet in Baccarat. Don’t let the 5% commission scare you away. Betting on the banker is the best possible bet in Baccarat.

Baccarat may seem boring. Games like craps offer dozens of betting options, while Baccarat only offers three betting options. But the 1.3% house edge is small enough compared with the house edge on other games that it makes Baccarat one of the best bets in the casino. Simplicity isn’t a fault with a casino game; blackjack and roulette are simple too.

Baccarat has a reputation as the game of kings and high rollers. In many casinos, high roller baccarat tables see thousands of dollars won and lost on individual coups. As long as Baccarat plays by some of the easiest to understand rules on the casino floor, it will be a popular game for people who like their gambling with a little less complexity.

When playing baccarat online for real money, some people are curious whether they will be getting as good of odds as they would at a regular casino. The answer of course is yes. Thanks to random number generators and other sophisticated security technologies, baccarat online casinos have the same favorable odds as a traditional casino.

 

Baccarat Betting Options

If you compare the player bet to basic bets in craps (1.35% to 1.41%), you’ll still have better odds wagering on baccarat. Your best option is to wager on the banker bet anytime possible, but you don’t lose much if you decide to bet on the player bet. It’s easier to find baccarat online that allows you to place the banker bet without banking the game.

To get an advantageous house edge, you won’t need to employ basic strategy like you would in blackjack. That’s why baccarat traditionally has been in the roped-off section of Las Vegas casinos, because the odds are great. Even today, when you’ll find baccarat offered in other parts of the casino, many Vegas casinos don’t offer baccarat for less than $25 a hand ($10 and $15 a hand is found in some casinos).

 

baccarat table

Banker Bet - 1.06% House Edge

The banker bet has the best odds of all baccarat bets in a baccarat casino online. The house edge is 1.06%, which is the best return-to-player (98.94%) of any table game wager that doesn’t require strategy. That’s despite the fact you’ll play a 5% commission to the casino on the banker bet.

The banker bet has the best odds of all baccarat bets in a baccarat casino online. The house edge is 1.06%, which is the best return-to-player (98.94%) of any table game wager that doesn’t require strategy. That’s despite the fact you’ll play a 5% commission to the casino on the banker bet.

Baccarat

Player Bet - 1.24% House Edge

The player bet also has nice odds. The house edge is 1.24%, giving it the second-best return-to-player (98.76%) of any table game wager that doesn’t require strategy. Obviously, blackjack and video poker sometimes have better odds, but you have to employ strategy to optimize your odds in those games. Baccarat hands play out by rule, so you won’t have to learn baccarat strategy.

The player bet also has nice odds. The house edge is 1.24%, giving it the second-best return-to-player (98.76%) of any table game wager that doesn’t require strategy. Obviously, blackjack and video poker sometimes have better odds, but you have to employ strategy to optimize your odds in those games. Baccarat hands play out by rule, so you won’t have to learn baccarat strategy.

Baccarat Tie Bet

Tie Bet - 14.44% House Edge

The tie bet is not the same. In fact, the betting on the tie is a sucker bet in baccarat. The 14.44% house edge is one of the worst betting options in any casino. The tie bet offers an 8:1 payout, so some baccarat players choose this option. Don’t.

The tie bet is not the same. In fact, the betting on the tie is a sucker bet in baccarat. The 14.44% house edge is one of the worst betting options in any casino. The tie bet offers an 8:1 payout, so some baccarat players choose this option. Don’t.

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Alternate Baccarat Bets - Player Pair and Banker Pair

Some baccarat casinos online allow wagers on the player or the banker receiving a pair on the deal. These are called the Player Pair and Banker Pair bets. Winning one of these bets typically pays 10:1. No matter how many decks you use, the odds of receiving a pair are once every 11 hands, which gives the bet its house edge.

Some baccarat casinos online allow wagers on the player or the banker receiving a pair on the deal. These are called the Player Pair and Banker Pair bets. Winning one of these bets typically pays 10:1. No matter how many decks you use, the odds of receiving a pair are once every 11 hands, which gives the bet its house edge.

Online Baccarat Rules

Online baccarat is similar to live punto banco played in US land-based casinos. Because a player doesn’t act as the banker, baccarat online is more comparable to mini-baccarat, where the house deals the cards.

For that reason, the game plays faster, so keep that in mind while playing baccarat online. Here’s what a typical hand of online baccarat looks like.

  • Baccarat online games usually use 8 decks of cards.
  • Each card has a point value. Aces have a value of 1. Number cards are valued at the number on them. Tens and face cards count as 0. Only the second digit in a number counts.
  • Each hand of baccarat online begins with each player betting on Player or Banker. Tie is a side bet. Certain games of baccarat online have other side bets.
  • Once bets are made, the dealer deals two cards apiece to the Player and the Banker.
  • The sum of the two cards add up to the score. The maximum points in a hand is 9. Thus, a 5-card and 6-card would be worth 1 (not 11). An 8 and a 7 would be worth 5 (not 15).
  • Depending on the rules, a third card might be dealt to either hand.
  • If either the Player or Banker has an 8 or 9, it’s called a “natural” and both hands stands.
  • If neither side has a natural and the Player’s total is 5 or less, then the Player draws another card.
  • If the Player holds a 6 or 7, then the Banker receives a third card if their total is 5 or less. The Banker stands on a 6 or 7.
  • In the event of a tie, the Player and the Banker bets push. Paying off bets is handled automatically in baccarat online.

Baccarat Variants

Baccarat terminology can confuse some American, Australian, and Asian players, because so many terms derive from French. Often, terms refer to a specific version of baccarat, so baccarat terms are easy to learn.

Here’s a quick guide to baccarat variations.

  • Big Table Baccarat – The game played in Las Vegas Strip casinos. A player acts as the banker and covers all bets (acts as the house). You can pass if you don’t want to cover bets.
  • Mini Baccarat – A game offers in casinos now where the house provides a dealer and acts as the bank. It has the same house edge, but the hands play faster because a trained dealer deals cards.
  • Midi Baccarat – Similar to Mini Baccarat, but it has a bigger table and it’s usually found in the high stakes room.
  • Punto Banco – Meaning “Player Banker”, it’s the official name for the kind of baccarat played in North America and in most online casinos.
  • Chemin de Fer – Played in European land-based casinos, it’s a form of the game with elements of strategy. Not found in most online casinos.
  • Mobile Baccarat – Punto Banco played in a mobile casino. Use your Android phone or iPhone to play baccarat on the go.
  • Live Baccarat – Punto Banco dealt by a real life dealer in a online baccarat casino studio. The results are livestreamed to your computer or smartphone. Variants include Dragon Tail and Super 6 Baccarat.