Baccarat is the simplest casino table game to play. Despite its sophistication and prestige in casinos worldwide, baccarat is truly easy to learn. If you’ve been hesitant to try baccarat due to uncertainty about the rules, this quick guide will get you up to speed in no time. The objective in baccarat is to correctly predict which of two hands will end up with a point value closest to 9. All cards 2-9 are scored at face value while 10s and face cards count as zero. If the total goes over 9, the first digit is dropped. So, a hand valued at 12 would have a score of just 2.
Three betting options
Baccarat newcomers can breathe easy knowing there are only three wagering choices in the game.
- Bet on the Banker to win
- Bet on the Player to win
- Bet on a Tie
You place your chips or virtual bet amount on one of those three boxes on the baccarat table. The payouts are generally around 1-1 for Player/Banker bets with slightly better odds on Banker. A Tie bet pays out much higher at 8-1 than a Straight bet.
Gameplay and dealing rules
At the best payout casinos, players play baccarat virtually against a computer dealer or with a live dealer via webcam. Two hands consist of two cards for the Player and two for the Banker. Tens and face cards count as zero while aces are worth 1 point. All other cards are valued at pip value. If either hand sums to 8 or 9 (a “natural”) right away, no further cards are drawn. These hands are called “naturals” and whoever has the higher natural is the winner. For example, if the Player has 5, they always draw a third card. Whichever hand ends up closest to 9 wins the round. If they are equally valued, the hand is a tie. Payouts are made to any winning wagers and losing bets collected. A new round then begins.
Advantages of banker bets
Statistical analysis of the drawing rules reveals that the Banker’s hand has slightly better odds of winning than the Player’s. Due to this edge, casinos will charge a 5% commission on all winning Banker bets. It essentially creates a house edge on both sides of the wager. With the 5% taken on wins, betting the Banker remains the smarter play over the long run. Not all online casinos are created equal in their baccarat offerings. To maximize your experience, only play baccarat at reputable sites.
- Generous welcome bonuses that are available on baccarat
- Low wagering requirements on bonuses
- Live dealer baccarat for a realistic experience
- Baccarat side bets for added variety
- Mobile baccarat capability
- High RTP percentages on baccarat tables
By sticking with top-rated sites rather than unknown brands, you can ensure the best baccarat setup with real funds at stake. With its prestige and potentially huge payouts, baccarat offers an enticing casino experience like no other table game. Now that you know the ropes as a beginner, nothing is holding you back from playing and experiencing the glitz and glamor of this casino classic.