How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is a casino game that was originally brought over from Italy and France in the late 1400’s. Part of the appeal of Baccarat is its simplicity. You have a choice to bet on the banker, the player or a tie.

Baccarat Game

The player and banker do not necessarily denote house and player, most often they are nothing more than two names for two different hands. In this game, the dealer deals two cards to each hand. The card with the highest number without going over nine is deemed the winner. This almost resembles betting on red and black in Roulette, where luck has more to do with winning than anything.

Baccarat Rules

The cards are counted as follows:

  • Numbered cards are counted based on the card (i.e. 5 is worth 5, 6 is worth 6)
  • 10’s, J’s, Q’s, and K’s are worth 10
  • Aces are worth 1
  • If a total goes over 10, then the first digit is removed so that the total is always 0-9. (i.e. a total of 15 would be 5)

Usually the dealer will handle all the cards and who draws to what and you just have to sit back and see if you won. The high roller Baccarat rooms will allow the player to deal but the dealer calls out where each card goes.

Though simple in its design, here is where Baccarat can get a little confusing. If the player or the banker is dealt a "natural", which is a total of eight or nine, it is an automatic winner. If both player and banker are dealt a natural, then it is declared a tie. A natural 9 will beat a natural 8.

If the player is dealt a hand in the first two cards that totals 0 through 5, the player draws a card. If the total is 6 or 7, the player stands and of course an 8 or 9 is a natural.

The banker hand has a few more options. If the banker hands total is 0-2, then the banker draws a card. If the banker has a total of 3, then it draws a card unless the player drew a third card and it was an 8. With a total of 4, the bank draws unless the player drew a third card that was an 8, 9 or ace. With a total of 5 the bank draws unless the player drew a third card not between 4 - 7. With a total of 6 the bank stands unless the player drew a card of either a 6 or 7. The bank always stands on 7 and of course an 8 or 9 is a natural.

Always remember that you have to pay a commission to the house when you win a bet placed on the banker side. This is usually between 4% and 5%. The overall house edge is small in Baccarat which is probably why it is a high roller favorite. On the player hand the house edge is 1.24% and on the banker it is .6% to 1.06% depending on the house cut.

Although the typical version of Baccarat in a casino is mostly a game of chance, it still offers the lowest house advantage of the casino games. Many people probably don’t play Baccarat because they do not understand it, but hopefully after reading this brief introduction you will not be afraid to give it a try and see what you think.