Baccarat has a fascinating past dating back to the 1400s, but it didn’t explode onto the American gambling scene until the 1950s.
Thanks to major mentions in the James Bond movie Casino Royale, Las Vegas began offering baccarat tables, and the rest is history.
Baccarat is now one of the most popular table games in the country, which could be partly due to how easy it is to learn.
By the end of this beginner’s guide to baccarat, you will know all the ins and outs of the game. Get ready to take a seat at the felt!
In Baccarat, the objective is to bet on the hand you think will have a total of nine or the closest to it.
The winner is the player who placed the correct bet.
There are several versions of baccarat, but we will focus on the most commonly played one, Punto Banco, which uses four, six, or eight decks.
Card Values In Baccarat
The card values in baccarat are straightforward to remember.
- 2-9 are worth their face value
- Ten, Jack, Queen, and King are zero.
- The Ace is a one.
All players and the dealer (known as the banker) must place their bets before any cards get dealt. You wager whether you think the player’s hand or the banker’s hand will be closer to nine. If you think they will be the same total, you can place a tie bet.
The banker then deals two cards face up to all players and themselves. The score gets determined by adding both cards together, and if the total is over nine, the first digit is dropped to get the final results. For example, if the hand equals 16, you would drop the one, and it would be worth six.
Baccarat Drawing Rules
If no one gets an eight or a nine, known as a natural, an intricate rules system determines whether a third card gets drawn for the player and the banker. Don’t worry; you don’t have to learn much about this system.
The rules dictate the third card variable, and it’s all played out for you. Check out the table on the right if you want to learn more (or even keep it handy while you’re playing):
How To Play Baccarat
You don’t need to stress about knowing when to hit or stand since the rules call the shots, but it’s still a good idea to get a feel for the game. The steps below demonstrate how to play a round of baccarat.
- All players and the banker place their bets.
- The cards get dealt face-up.
- The player and banker will stand if either hand is a total of eight or nine.
- If the player’s hand is five or less, they will receive another card. Anything above five stands.
- The banker hits on five or less if the player stands.
- The winning bet gets determined, and prizes get paid out.
Baccarat Betting Guide
Fortunately for beginners, there are only three kinds of bets you can place in real money baccarat. They all have different house edges, but one emerges as a clear winner. Take a look at what your options are below.
Banker Hand Bets
Let’s say you bet on the banker’s hand, and it happens to be the closest to nine. You placed a winning bet, and you get paid out 1:1, but minus a 5% commission. You could look at it like you’re getting back 95% of your wager.
For example, if your bet is $10, you would receive $9.50. The casino takes that percentage because it’s actually the best bet in the game, with the lowest house edge at 1.06%.
That is due to the fact that the player’s hand gets resolved first, and the outcome of that hand determines what the banker will do.
Player Hand Bets
If you place your bet on the player’s hand and it’s closer to nine than the banker’s, you win the round and get paid out 1:1. So if you bet $10 and won, you’d get an additional $10, making your total $20.
The house edge of this wager is 1.24%, making it the second-best choice of all three.
The tie bet means you are wagering that the player’s hand and the banker’s hand will be the same. If the cards fall in your favor and both hands do tie, you get paid out 8:1 or 9:1, depending on the table rules. If you bet $10 in a game that pays 8:1, you would get $80 back, bringing your winnings to $90.
Although it sounds tempting, you’re much less likely to succeed with this wager. In fact, it’s known as a sucker bet because the house edge in this scenario is almost 15%.
The Baccarat Table
There are large and small variations of the baccarat table, but both have clear labels on the felt for where to put your chips.
The large version is shaped like a long oval and can hold up to 12 players. They’re typically in secluded areas of the casino, surrounded by high rollers in fancy suits and cocktail gowns.
The more common version is the mini table, where bets are smaller and more accessible to the average person.
Just like with the large table, the player, banker, and tie bet areas are all sectioned off, so you know where to place your chips. Also, the felt will let you know if the tie wager pays 8:1 or 9:1.
It’s all about the luck of the draw in this game, as the outcomes of baccarat are entirely random. It can be easy to let the past few hands sway your decision, but that is the classic gambler’s fallacy, so try not to let it affect your bet.
The odds are the same for each deal, and the rules already determine the third card draw. In a game with so little control, is there any way to increase your chances of winning?
The best strategy you can employ is to take the most lucrative wager. The banker’s bet has the highest odds in your favor, so it’s the smartest route to take. At the very least, avoid the tie bet at all costs. It’s mathematically guaranteed to sink you in the long run.
Four Top Tips To Win More Often
Even though you can’t affect the game’s outcome, here are a few tips to help you get off to a great start.
Set a limit before you beginKnow exactly how much you are willing to spend in a session, and don’t let emotions affect your decisions.
Avoid betting strategies like the Martingale systemSome players employ this technique to recoup losses, but it will more than likely cut your bankroll down quickly.
Always take the banker’s betIt’s the most valuable wager.
Never take the tie betIt’s a sucker bet, and you’ll lose most of the time.
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Want To Learn More About Baccarat?
Baccarat is a super simple game for beginners, especially since most of the rules determine your course of action for you. You can place your bet and watch it all unfold.
It’s a 100% luck-based game, so don’t worry about learning complicated strategies.
Fortunately, it’s easy! Your best approach is always to take the banker’s bet and avoid the tie wager.