How to Play Baccarat

Among all the many games that make up a good casino floor, there are few that hold the elusive history that the game of baccarat does. Despite being a somewhat simple two-hand comparison game where the player is hoping to win with a higher-value hand up to a value of 9, a lot of players can often treat it as a bit of a mystery game, giving the impression it’s much more complex than it is. But the truth is far from it.

This is a game that, though disputed by some, has existed in some form since the 15th Century due to its easy-to-learn gameplay and low number of possible outcomes. As a player is up against the banker, dealer, or house, there are only three outcomes to each round - those being a player win, a banker win, or a tie. This is part of what has helped it retain its rightful place in good casinos and given it particular popularity in France.

Not only was it a popular game with French nobility, but it also helped develop different variants that continue to be played worldwide. Now you can find punto banco, baccarat chemin de fer, and baccarat banque. Punto banco remains the most popular game as it simply means player against the bank, as the house deals the game at all times.

But that’s just a quick round-up of baccarat - also known as baccara - as a game. This guide will cover everything about how to play baccarat, including the rules, the betting options, and the table used to play the game.

Baccarat Table

Whenever you think of card games, the tables they are played on will most likely come to mind. That’s no different here, with the baccarat table playing a big part in the game. So what exactly will it look like, and how does it affect how you play baccarat games?


You will usually find a table in something of a semi-circle or crescent shape. The player or players will sit on the more curved side, and the dealer or banker will be placed on the other side.

Table Layout

You will now notice that there are a number of options that you can choose from on the table in front of you. There will be Player, Tie, or Banker - the three possible outcomes for the game. Here, you will place your chips on which of the outcomes you expect to happen before the cards are dealt to you.

Cards Used in Baccarat

You can’t learn how to play baccarat card games without knowing what the cards you will be dealing with mean. In most casino games that involve these age-old playing devices, each card has a different value and you will look to make up hands based on all those available to you, ultimately looking for a combination of the highest-ranking face and value cards. However, the game of baccarat is slightly different to most.

Value Cards

Players of baccarat will be looking at their value cards at all times and hoping to avoid too many face cards. Here, cards of 2-9 will be worth their corresponding value. So, if a player was to be drawn a 2 and a 5, their hand’s value is a 7. The values of any given hand max out at 9, meaning a 2 and a 9 hand would be 1 instead of 11.

Face Cards

Now, this is why those learning about baccarat and how to play need to be aware of the differences between this and other games like blackjack or poker. All face cards except the Ace are worth absolutely nothing. An Ace is worth a solitary point. That means that a hand of a King and an Ace would be worth just 1 point. As such, most people will be hoping to avoid face cards.

Placing Bets in a Game of Baccarat

Like in any good casino game, the baccarat bets form the biggest and most interesting part of the gameplay for those sitting at the table. Unlike some other games that may include a number of different side bets, this is one that tends to keep things much simpler. In its base game, you will find the following three bets, which is what it means to play them and the payout odds of each.

Banker Bet

With this baccarat bet, you will be placing your stake on the outcome that the banker or dealer’s hand has a higher value than yours, the player’s. This pays out typically at 0.95:1, meaning a £10 player bet win would return £19.50. This lower payout is due to its slightly higher winning percentage of 45.86% when compared to the following option.

Player Bet

This is the exact opposite of the previous bet type. Instead of betting that the dealer will win with the higher-value hand, you will be betting on the outcome that your own - the player’s - hand will trump the banker. Here, you’ll find that the payout odds are 1:1, Which means that a £10 winning player bet will pay out £20. Compared with the banker bet, this one has a probability of around the 44.62% mark.

Tie Bet

Now, with this bet, you’re bucking the trend somewhat. Instead of betting on the player’s hand or the banker’s, you’re expecting the two to have equal-value hands. That means that both will draw hands that add up to the same amount - for example, a 3 and 8, and a 4 and 7. This choice has payout odds of 8:1 due to the relatively unlikely occurrence of this outcome. That would represent a £90 payout from a winning tie bet. This is reflected in the less than 10% probability of a tie being played out.

Playing a Hand in Baccarat

As far as casino titles go, baccarat card game rules are some of the easiest to follow due to the simplicity of a hand. Rather than having to be aware of a number of different rules and possible permutations, a player can relatively easily follow these steps after sitting at the baccarat table.

  • Place your bet (Player, Banker, or Tie)
  • The banker will deal both the player’s and banker’s cards (usually two)
  • The banker and player will overturn their hands
  • The highest value hand up to 9 wins
  • The winning bet is paid out, and losing bets are collected by the house

That is how the simplest and most purest forms of baccarat will unfold. However, there are some secondary rules and outcomes that could come into play in a game, and these are worth knowing before sitting at the table.

Natural Win in Baccarat

In baccarat, the easiest way to a win is to get what is known as a natural win. This is a two-card hand for either the player or banker of the value of 8 or 9. In this case, as would be expected, the 9 would trump the 8.

Third Card Draw in Baccarat Games

While baccarat is mostly a two-card sort of game, there are some instances in which a third card comes into play. Here are the outcomes in which a third card can be added to either the player’s or banker’s hand.

  • A player’s hand value is less than 5 - the banker adds a card to the hand
  • A player’s third card is a 9, 10, or face card, and the banker takes a third card if they have 0-3, staying with a 4-7
  • A player draws an 8 as their third card, and the banker draws another if they have a 0-2, staying with a 3-7
  • A player receives a 6 or 7 third card, the banker draws on 0-6, staying on 7
  • A player’s third card is 4 or 5, and the banker is on 0-5. The banker draws another card and stays on 6 or 7
  • A player receives a 2 or 3 third card; the banker can draw on 0-4 and must stay on 5-7
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