Gambling Herald
Baccarat Guide

Baccarat for Beginners


What exactly is Baccarat?

 If you’re a James Bond fan chances are you’ll have heard of Baccarat. This casino table game was already a feature in the private gentleman’s clubs in London back in the 19th century, and while this card game has fallen into the background in favor of today’s trendier poker (which also stole Baccarat’s starring role in the James Bond movie “Casino Royale”), it’s still a popular casino game.

Baccarat is also known as Punto Banco, where the objective of the game is to get your hand as close to 9 as possible. The game has nothing in common with poker or blackjack in the scoring of the cards or even in the betting structure, since the player can bet for the player to win or on the banker winning the hand.

Image Credit: Todd Classy

How to Get Started?

When compared to other card games, Baccarat may appear complicated in its scoring system, but it’s actually rather easy to play, especially with out Baccarat for Beginners Guide.

The game is played with 4, 6 or 8 decks of 52-deck cards, and can be played from one player pitted against the dealer to 12-14 players.

There are three bets to make, one is a bet on the player, so if the player wins, then the player gets even money on the wager. The player can also bet on the banker, but if the player wins the bet the casino takes a 5% commission of the winnings.

You can also make a tie bet. This pays 8 to 1 or 9 to 1, depending on the casino. This bet wins if the player and the dealer score the same value. However, betting on the tie bet on the long run is bad for the player, due to the very high house edge of 14%.

Once the bets are made, the dealer deals two cards for him or herself and two for the player. The sum of these cards is taken as the value, and whoever is closer to nine wins the bet.

The scoring in Baccarat is different than the system used in poker and blackjack. In this case, the cards numbered 2-9 have their face value, 10 and face cards are 0 and an ace is equal to 1.

Also, each hand is summed in a way that card totals over 10 drop the left digit. A card hand made of say a 6 and a 7, a total 13 becomes a total of 3.

The best hands are those that add up to 8 or 9, these are called a “natural”.

Usually, each player only gets two cards, but sometimes a third card will be drawn.

The third card rules are as follows:

Card valueAction
Player0-5Player 0-5 Must draw a 3rd card
Player6 or 7Must stand
Player8 or 9“Natural” cards stand
Banker0-2Dealer draws
Banker3-6Draw or stand,
depending on player’s
Banker8-9“Natural” cards stand


Baccarat Strategy

 While Baccarat might not employ the same level of skill as other card games, there are still some strategies you can employ to get ahead in your game. Because the main decision the player makes in Baccarat is the bet, it’s worth noting that because the banker acts last, betting for the banker or dealer to win has a lower house edge, and also has the lowest house edge out of any casino game, even with the casino commission. While the tie bet is fun, it does have a 14.36% house edge, which makes it a bad wager in the long run. However, keep an eye out for casinos that offer a 9 to 1 tie bet, since the house edge is reduced to 4.84% – a drastic difference in this case.

Baccarat Rules

1. 4, 6 or 8 decks of cards are used in the game.

2. Cards have their face value, except for Ace=1, 10 and face cards = 0.

3. At the start of the game, the dealer will turn over one card, this determines how many cards the dealer will burn, according to the baccarat value, although 10 or face cards result in 10 cards being burned.

4. The cut card will placed at 16 cards from the bottom of the shoe. When this card appears, the dealer will finish that hand, play one more hand and then will start a whole new shoe. In the case the cut card comes out instead of the first card, the dealer will finish the hand and start a new shoe.

5. Players bet on player, banker or tie.

6. Once the players have made their bets, the dealer gives two cards each to the player and banker. The hand’s score is the digit on the right hand side of the card total. Scores will be from 0 to 9 at all times.

7. A third card may be dealt to the banker or the player:

  • If either player or banker has a “natural”, an 8 or a 9, then they both stand.
  •  If the player has the total of 5 or less, then the player hits a third card. However, if the player has more, then he or she hits.
  •  If the player stands, then the banker hits on a total of 5 or less. If the player does hit, then the banker hits depending on the player’s total.

8. The winner is determined by who has the greater card. All winning bets on the banker pay a 5% commission to the casino and both pay outs are even money. Tie bets are usually 8 to 1. 

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About the author

Barbara is a German-born Austrian with unresolved identity issues and a degree in Ecology and Nature Conservation. She doesn't have a degree in journalism or any related field, but such details can't keep her from being one of the best.

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