Rules, strategy and extra information on baccarat

Baccarat IconBaccarat is traditionally viewed as a gentleman's game and while it may appear complex at first, it's incredibly simple to play. Best known for its role in a number of James Bond films, baccarat is also one of the best loved casino games around and a particular favourite of the high rollers.

The aim of baccarat is to bet on who (the player or banker) will get a baccarat score closest to 9. Bear in mind that if you choose to bet on the outcome of the banker's hand beating the player's, then if the banker wins, you will pay a small commission fee. Alternatively, you can place a bet on the chance of there being a tie, that is, both the banker and player will have the same baccarat score. One of the easiest ways to work out your baccarat score is to use the last digit of your total card values. For example, if you had a 10, 5 and 4, your baccarat score would be 9. If you're wondering why the 10 doesn't count towards your score, here's why:

The card values in baccarat differ slightly from values that are used in blackjack and other card games. From the Ace – 9, all cards retain their original value. However, 10's, Jack's, Queen's and King's all have a value of 0. As the hand total can never exceed 9, if you were betting on the player's hand and that featured an Ace and 10, then that hand would be worth 1. Similarly, two 9's would be worth 8 points, as the 10 is shaved off the hand value.

  • 8 Hearts + 9 Clubs = baccarat score of 7
  • Ace Clubs + King Spades + 2 Hearts = baccarat score of 3

Online Baccarat

Baccarat play is strictly governed by set rules, which indicate when the dealer will deal either the banker or player another card. Often when playing online, the taking of extra cards will be done so quickly that you hardly notice. This means that all an online baccarat player has to do is select their wager and who they want to bet on.

Online Baccarat Screenshot
Banker wins this hand of Baccarat

As well as simplifying the game, online baccarat also presents a number of different challenges and benefits to the player. The first and most important of these challenges it selecting a place to play baccarat. These days, almost all online casinos will have at least one version of baccarat, often more with Chermin De Fer and Punto Banco variations. Another factor for would-be online baccarat players is that some casinos may also offer you specific baccarat bonuses. These are rare, so if you've got your heart set on baccarat, have a look for a casino that allows baccarat play to contribute to wagering requirements of their welcome bonus.

A major benefit of playing online for baccarat beginners is the ability to play for free. This means that you can get to grips with baccarat without wagering cash right away. Even if you're still struggling with the game, all of the featured casinos on this site have 24/7 customer support that can be contact by free phone, email or live chat, as well as help guides

Rules of Baccarat

While it's not necessary to know the ins and outs of what's going on during a game of online baccarat, we found that doing so really adds to the excitement of the game. This is because you can tell what card you wish to be drawn and how close you are to winning or losing.

Once you've selected your wager and your bet, then that's the end of your involvement. Once your bet has been placed, cards are dealt by the dealer to the banker and player hands. At this stage there are three possible outcomes for each hand, which are as follows:

  • Baccarat score of 0-5 whereby another card will be drawn.
  • Baccarat score of 6-7 whereby no more cards are drawn.
  • Baccarat score of 8-9 which is a natural baccarat.

The first of these outcomes involves the third card rule, which states that if the total is less than or equal to five then a third card may be drawn. Once both the player and the banker are no longer able to draw any more cards then their baccarat scores are compared. The closest to nine wins the game with a tie taking place if the scores are the same.

Bets on the player and banker are paid out at 1:1 with bets a tie netting you a very nice 8:1 or 9:1, depending on where you're playing.

Baccarat Strategy

As we suggested earlier, the rules of baccarat are very specific when it comes to dealing cards and winning hands. This eliminates the chance for any extensive amount of strategy; however there can be some form of method behind the madness.

This can be devised by looking at the average house edge for each of the bets available to a baccarat player. These are listed below:

  • Banker – 1.1% house edge
  • Player – 1.25% house edge
  • Tie – 14.25% house edge

Obviously, the lower the house edge is the better chance you have of winning more consistently. Even with the 5% commission that is paid when the banker's hand wins, the house edge on this bet is still lower than the others. Regardless of this, both the banker and player bets carry some of the lowest house edge in any casino. This makes baccarat a game with potential for high profits.