Baccarat is a card game that depends entirely on luck. Players don’t need to have any skill, neither are they required to follow complicated strategies. Even though the game originates from Europe, it has been particularly popular among Asian punters. Baccarat attracts many high-rollers in land-based casinos, however, when played online, you can place low-value bets just as well. Although it is a simple game it is good to be aware of the rules and you should know what your odds are at winning. In this overview, you can find out about the different variants, the bets you can take and we will explain how the game goes in a step-by-step guide.
How to Play Baccarat
Baccarat is played with traditional playing cards and the number of decks used depends on the game variant. Two cards are dealt for the banker and two for the player and you can place your bet on either the banker, the player or a tie. The two cards’ values are totaled and the one that is closer to 9 wins the game. In some variants, a third card will be drawn (according to the third card rule) for either the player, the banker or both.
In a land-based casino, baccarat is played on a special green felt-covered table. Depending on which version is played, the number of players differ (5 to 14 seats can be available) and so does the size and shape of the table. It can be a half-circle, oval-shaped or an almost full circle with a space in the centre of the table for the dealer. The available bets are marked on the table and players can place the bets for themselves. It is very easy to place bets. All you have to do is place your chips on the “Player”, “Banker” or “Tie” as labelled on the table right in front of you. If you are playing baccarat online, the table looks the same and it is just as easy to place your bets.
In Baccarat the cards’ suits are irrelevant (except in the Perfect Pair side bet), and only their values matter. The face cards and 10s have a value of zero value, while Aces have a value of one. Cards from two to nine equal their face value (two is worth 2 and eight is worth 8). When the total value exceeds 9 you need to subtract 10 from the value.
Ace plus King
Blackjack players would be delighted with this hand but in baccarat, it has a total value of 1 only:
Ace (1) + King (0) = 1
When the player’s hand value is 1, a third card is dealt according to the drawing rules.
4 plus 5
This combination is the best possible one in Baccarat as it totals 9.
Four (4) + Five (5) = 9
A hand value of 8 or 9 is called a “natural”, meaning it automatically wins unless the other hand is equal to this – a tie – (9 vs 9 or 8 vs8) or higher (9 vs 8).
7 plus 9
This combination of cards gives a total value of 16. Since the total card value cannot exceed 9, we need to subtract 10 so this hand is worth 6.
Seven (7) + Nine (9) = 16 – 10 = 6
Ace plus 9
This combination will give you a hand value of 0.
Ace (1) + Nine (9) = 10 – 10 = 0
In this case, a third card is drawn and its value is added to 0. If this next card is a Six, the total value of the hand is 6.
Baccarat Bet Types
In baccarat, there are three main betting options that are available in all game variants. Some versions of the game also have additional bets that carry a higher risk but pay out more.
This bet has the lowest house edge so it is considered the best option. However, this bet usually comes with a 5% commission.
This is the second-best option in terms of a low house edge. This bet has no commission.
The tie bet is guessing that the card values of the banker and the player will be the same. This is a risky bet as the probability of this happening is the lowest of the three main bets, however, the possible payout is high.
More Bet Variations
This side bet wins when the player’s first two cards form a pair, irrelevant of the suit.
This side bet wins if the banker’s first two cards are a pair, irrelevant of the suit.
The perfect pair bet wins if either the banker or the player has a pair that matches both in rank and suit.
This bet pays if either the banker or the player has a pair, irrelevant of the suit.
This side bet is paid if the player wins with a hand value is 8 after drawing one extra card.
This side bet is won if the total hand value of either the banker or the player is 8 and it beats the other hand.
Baccarat Step-by-step Guide
- Place your chip on the bet you would like to take. In online baccarat, you first choose your wager by clicking on the chip image and then you place it on the betting map
- If there is an option, you can also place a side bet
- The dealer deals the cards or in the online version, you click on “Deal”
- Two or three cards are drawn for the banker and the player and the outcome of the game is determined
- If you won, the dealer gives you chips while online, your winnings will be added to your balance
- You can place your next bet
Online baccarat games almost always display a scoreboard. It is a handy tool if you want to follow the trends and believe in hot and cold streaks. The scoreboard is made up of the following different sections:
- Big Road: this shows the pattern of the game so that you can see an overview of what has been happening.
- Big eye road, small road and cockroach road: these display the pattern’s regularity in the Big road.
- Bead road: this is a grid that shows the game results, each cell of the grid represents one game.
- Previous score: this section is about your previous game and your profit (if any).
- Prediction: this section gives a statistical prediction of the next game’s result.
- Statistics: show the overall game results.
Baccarat Odds, Payouts and House Edge
Baccarat is a very popular game of chance, partly because it offers such a low house edge. It is lower than that of roulette or slot games.
The banker bet comes with a 1.06% house edge which corresponds to a return to player percentage of 98.94%. This means that if you place 100 bets of $1, statistically you will receive back $98.94. The banker bet is an even-money bet – wagering $1 will earn you $1 if you win.
The player bet has a house edge of 1.36% and it is also an even-money bet.
The tie bet has the highest house edge of the three basic bets at 14.4%. The probability of a tie is only 9.54%, however, the payout is much higher. Depending on the casino, it can be 1:8 or 1:9.
Side bets always come with a high house edge and low probability but the payouts can be appealing. For example, a Panda 8’s probability is 3.45% and it pays 25 to 1.
- The most commonly played version of baccarat
- Common in United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia as well as Scandinavia
- Played with 6 or 8 decks of cards
- A maximum of 14 players can play at once
- The table is oval-shaped and there can be up to three dealers
- Places are labelled with yellow numbers between 1 and 15. 13 is missing as it is considered unlucky
- Has lower table limits
- These smaller baccarat tables are in the main game area on the casino floor – not catering for high-rollers
- The table is the size of a standard blackjack table with 5 to 7 places and 1 croupier
- Places are labelled 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 as 4 is considered unlucky in Asian cultures
- Pays even money on banker and player bets, however, when the banker wins with a total of 7 after drawing the third card there is a push on banker bets.
- The game has two special side bets – Dragon 7 (a bet of a winning three-card 7 for the banker), and Panda 8.
Chemin De Fer
- Is popular in France and Monte Carlo as well as other parts of Europe
- This version is usually not available in American casinos
- This game is played with 6 decks of cards
- In this game, one player takes the role of the banker and the role passes from one player to the next counterclockwise
- Similarly to Charmin de Fer, one of the players takes the role of the banker
- The game uses 3 decks of cards and until they are finished, usually, the same banker remains
- The player who holds the bank sets aside his bet to cover the bets of the opponents
Baccarat is a game of chance, which means that the players’ skills don’t hold any significance. All you can decide in baccarat is which bet to go for and how much you want to wager. It is a very quick game so inexperienced players can lose money very quickly if they are not in control of their betting.
Since the two main bets most people take – the banker and the player – are both even-money bets, progression betting systems may be used to minimize losses and extend the bankroll.
There are two main types of progressive betting strategies. The negative progressive system dictates that the player decreases the wager after every win and increases the bet after every loss. The positive progressive system is the opposite. When the player loses, he lowers the bet and when he wins, he increases it.
Positive Progression systems
- The Paroli system is one example of this system
- The system may be useful for budget control
- The idea behind the Paroli pattern is the belief in winning and losing streaks
- The baccarat scoreboard can come in handy in analysing past results
- The player believes that he can maximize his wins during hot streaks and minimize the losses during cold ones
- The system doubles the bet three times in a row after every win
- If the player loses, the bet is reset to the original bet amount
- The risk of this system is that the payer can run out of money in a short period of time
Negative Progression system
- The Fibonacci sequence is one example of this system
- The point of this system is to minimize losses
- It controls the bankroll and rushed decisions can be avoided
- Uses a row of numbers where the two previous numbers’ total will give the third one (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 which can correspond to bets of $10, $20, $30, $50, $80, $130 etc.)
- The player goes two steps back after a win and one step forward after a loss
- This system may work well for high-rollers, however, players with a smaller bankroll can easily run out of money
- The system has the risk of the player reaching the table limit and therefore no more bets can be made according to the sequence