Basic Rules and Tips for Baccarat

After slots and keno, Baccarat is probably one of the easiest casino games to play. You only need a few minutes to learn the rules and start playing. Perhaps the hardest thing about this game is the name itself, that’s pronounced ‘Baa-ca-rah’ with a silent T. All you need to do is place bets on a winning hand. The dealer will do the rest for you and you will see your money either increasing or decreasing. But it’s good to know how you’re making or losing the money.

The object of the game is to choose the winning hand, which is either the Player or the Banker. The object of the Player or Banker’s hands is to get closest to a total of 9. The aces are 1, tens are 0 and the cards 2-9 have the same value in the Baccarat.

The Basics

You can put your money on three things on a baccarat table: the player’s hand, the dealer’s hand or the tie. If you bet on the winning dealer’s hand, you will pay a commission of 5% for the dealer to collect in case you win. The payout is even money or 1 to 1.

If you place bet on the winning player’s hand, your payout is even money or 1 to 1 when you win. If the player’s and dealer’s hands are the same, it’s a tie. But you can also place a bet on a tie before the hand. The tie’s payout is 8 to 1. But keep in mind that the house edge for a tie bet is much larger compared to the player and dealer bets; a whopping 14.36% with an 8-deck shoe. It’s 1.06% for the dealer bet and 1.24% for the player bet.

Baccarat is played in the same area as the other table games. Baccarat will be played in a large enough table to have 12-14 gamblers play at once. The game is played with a standard 52-card deck. One interesting fact is that a no. 13 seat doesn’t exist on a Baccarat table, because of superstition.

A smaller version is also offered sometimes, a Mini-bac. It follows the same rules but with mini bets, as in smaller bet values. No matter the limits, be sure you know how much you are going to own in commissions. The dealer will keep track of your amount and once you quit or leave, the dealer will ask for the commissions.

How to Play Baccarat

Let’s start off by stating the fact that it’s a pure guessing game. You have to place bets by guessing which hand is more likely to win. In general, the banker’s hand will have a slightly better chance of winning. But you still need to learn the basics to place the bets comfortably.

The last hand of the shoe is drawn once a cut card is placed 16 cards from the end of the shoe. Once all the players make their wagers, a two-card hand is dealt with the player and banker spots, starting with the player. After these only hands are dealt, the totals are compared. Specific drawing rules are then maintained to figure out if the player should get a third card. Based on the value of the card of the player, a banker may or may not get a third card. The results are then out by comparing the totals of all the cards dealt.

Player’s Hand

A player’s hand is always dealt first. The total of their 2 cards will be called out by the dealer. Then the banker’s cards are shown. If the total is among 6-9, the player will stand without any cards being drawn. If the total is 8 or 9, it’s a Natural and this is an automatic winner against the banker’s hand unless they also have an 8 or 9. If the totals are same for both hands, it’s a tie.

If the first 2 cards of the player are among 6-9, they stand. If the total is 5 or less than that, they will get a single card. This is where the player’s game is completed.

Banker’s Hand

Since the banker’s hand is dealt after the player’s hand at all times, sometimes their fate will depend on the player’s hand. The banker will hit some 4, 5 and 6 card totals. This will depend on the player’s total hands like so:

  • For a player total of 2-7, hit with a 4
  • For a player total of 4-7, hit with a 5
  • For a player total of 6 and 7, hit with a 6.

Also, the banker will always stand on if the 2 card total is 7, 8 or 9. The banker will always hit if the 2 card total is 0, 1, 2 or 3. The only exception here is that the banker will hit a total of 3 against a player’s total of 8.

Even if all these rules seem like a lot to take in, thankfully, you don’t have to memorize any of them. The dealer will take care of the hitting. You only need to place the bets.

Betting on a Tie

If you predict that the two hands are going to finish with an equal number of total points, you can place your bet on a tie. Winning a bet on a tie will payout at 8-1. Even though the payout is really good, the wager comes with a hefty 14.36% house edge. So our suggestion would be to avoid placing your bets on a tie.

Baccarat Table Etiquette

Same as the other types of table games, you can buy the chips by placing cash on the layout. You can ask for the change from the dealer. The dealer can’t take the money directly from your hands unless you place them on the layout.

If you place the largest wager on the table, you will receive the player cards. In that case, don’t look at the cards until the player and banker hands are dealt. And if you have the banker card, don’t look at them until the player hands are shown by the dealer. These are the basic table etiquettes which you should maintain at a Baccarat table.

As a player, you can keep track of the results of each hand. Most casinos will provide you with pencils and scorecards to do so. The easiest way to keep track without losing the momentum of the game is to put an ‘X’ mark under the Banker, Player or Tie columns.

Baccarat Strategy to Win

As already mentioned, Baccarat is a game of luck and fate above anything. Add in a bit of money management and you have a good strategy in place. Just follow your common sense, like you would in terms of other casino games. Don’t make bets larger than your bankroll and don’t increase the bets if you’re losing. If you don’t want to go broke fast, follow these simple rules. If you want to make changes to your betting amount, increase them while you’re winning, and bring them down while losing. Set limits to your losses to avoid going broke.

If you are playing at a mini-baccarat with $100, give yourself the limit of winning $50. Walk away once you hit the $50 mark. This is a good discipline to develop while playing in a casino. Learn to leave a table before you go broke.

This rule goes for winnings as well. If you are winning and have built up your $100 to $150, try either of these 2 tricks. Either put your original wager of $100 in your pocket and continue betting with the $50 you won. Or adjust your limit to $125 for winnings and walk away the moment you hit that mark.

Don’t play a game with a negative expectation. Learn to walk away from any table at the casino, not only at Baccarat, with some of your bankroll still in your pocket. You will be surprised when you find that this little trick can make you a winner at the casino in most instances.

Final Thoughts

Baccarat might not be the most popular game played in a casino, but it’s almost as exciting as playing the Blackjack or Craps. It might seem a little confusing at first because of its uniqueness in rules, but with a little practice, it can soon turn into an enjoyable one for you.