How To Play Baccarat

If you want to learn how to play baccarat with real money, then you’ll want to get some practice first by playing online. For those who are new to the game, online baccarat can be a great introduction where you can get familiar with the rules.

Baccarat is a card game that you can start playing with just a few key tips. Explained simply, the basic strategy in the game of baccarat is to hit a total of 9 with two cards. Players can bet on either the dealer’s hand or player’s hand and, with any luck, will choose the one that gets closest to 9 without going over.

The details of the game get more complicated, but baccarat remains one of the easier casino games to learn, as there isn’t any particular strategic method that can beat it. Like playing craps, roulette or keno, baccarat is a game of pure chance. Even so, games of luck can be some of the most thrilling.

Play Free Online Baccarat

The best way to get started playing baccarat is to download a casino app and begin a game in demo mode. These practice games will give you a feel for the pace and structure of the game. Plus, you won’t be risking any chips or cash by playing the free version of baccarat.

Where To Play Baccarat Online?

There are plenty of online casinos where you can play baccarat. These apps are built to run on your mobile device or even your web browser. So you can play baccarat from a phone, computer, or tablet. This is certainly a convenient way to learn the game, as you can play at home, or while you’re out running errands.

Some of the most popular online casino options for playing baccarat include:

There are other apps you can search for in your phone’s app store, including some options that are specifically for baccarat. However, if you want the option to play baccarat both for free or to switch over and play for real money once you’re ready, the casinos above are the best way to go.

Also, many of these casinos offer sign-up bonuses that will give you free play to use on your baccarat games. You simply enter a code as you’re setting up your account to receive a no-deposit free play bonus. If you win while playing with your bonus money, you could even cash out and actually make a few bucks playing baccarat.

Legal Online Casinos For Baccarat

In order to play baccarat online for real money, you’ll need to be going through a licensed casino. Legally, you will only be able to play baccarat at online casinos in a few select states.

This includes:

There are frequent changes to the laws surrounding online casino gambling, so if your state is not currently on the list, don’t lose hope. New states are passing legislation to legalize online casino access to gambling every year. Plus, you can always go visit one of these states if they are nearby. As long as you are physically present in the state where casino gambling is legal, you are permitted to play. You don’t even have to be a resident.

Of course, in demo mode, you can play baccarat whether or not you are in a state with online casino gaming legalized. This is because you are not playing for real money when you are in demo mode, so this constitutes a work-around for those located in states without legal gaming.

How To Play Baccarat For Free Online

It’s easy to play free baccarat online. There are lots of apps and websites dedicated to offering different versions of the game which you can practice and play completely for free. To get started, you’ll want to download an app that hosts free baccarat games or navigate to a website that does the same. You can easily find these by referring to the list of online casinos above, or searching for free baccarat online. Once you’ve figured out where you want to play, you can open the game and start betting.

Variations of the game of baccarat include:

  • Punto banco (North American baccarat)
  • Baccarat chemin de fer (chemmy, or European baccarat)
  • Baccarat banque (à deux tableaux)

In general, when people in North America are referring to baccarat and its rules, they are defaulting to the style known as punto banco. This is what is typically played in casinos, and what you might expect to play if you’re already familiar with the game.

Baccarat Rules

The rules of baccarat start simply, but get to be a bit more complex as the game progresses. For example, the main objective in the game is to hit the number 9 (or as close to it as you can get) with two cards. The possible numbers you can hit max out at nine, as any two digit number is lowered by 10. For instance, if you were dealt a 2 and a 6, you would have a total of 8. If the dealer got a 3 and a 4, they’d have a 7. Your hand would win, as it is closer to 9. Easy, right?

Well, things change when you start mixing in face cards. A queen and a 6 will give you 6 total, as the queen is basically a wash. An ace card is worth 1, while the other face cards are worth 0 in baccarat. So, an ace and a 6 would give you a total of 7, while two kings gives you a 0 total.

Picking this up gets easier as you go along, but essentially your goal is to select the hand that will win. In other words, you want to bet on the hand that will hit a total of 9, or closest to it. You’ll have to choose if you want to bet on the player’s hand to win, or the dealer’s hand to win, and you’ll have to make your decision before any cards are revealed.

There is also the possibility that the hands will end in a tie, or push. There is an option to bet on this possibility, with the benefit of a higher payout. If you bet on a tie in baccarat, and win, you’ll typically be paid 8 to 1.

If you bet on the player’s hand to win, and get it right, you’ll be paid 1 to 1, or even money. Payouts for winning a bet on the dealer’s hand are approximately the same, however, they are subject to a small fee. As the house has a slight advantage based on the way the cards are dealt, you’ll have to pay a 5% fee out of the even money you win if you’ve bet correctly on the dealer’s hand.

So, if you’ve bet $100 on the dealer, and the dealer wins, you will get your initial bet back plus $100, even money. But the dealer will subtract a $5 fee for betting on the side with an advantage, or will keep track of what you owe in fees and you’ll have to pay up before you leave the table. For online gaming, the fee for winning a dealer hand bet will typically be deducted automatically with each hand.

Beyond these basic rules, there will be a chart that dictates how the dealer is instructed to play the cards. For instance, the rules will determine whether they are to deal another card if their total is 3 and the player’s hand is 5. These depend on where you’re playing and what their particular rules are, but you can request a copy from the dealer, or hit the “i” button when gaming online to view more information.

As a player, you’ll never actually put your hands on the baccarat cards in a casino, unlike in many other games. When playing online, of course, this won’t be an issue.

Baccarat Odds

Baccarat is truly a game determined by luck. For that reason, it’s considered impossible to “beat” the game. Essentially, the house will always win over time because it has a slight advantage. In simple numbers, the house edge is 1.06% on the dealer hand and 1.24% on the player hand. The odds are much worse on tie bets, with a house edge of 14.36% so you’ll generally want to avoid making that bet.

Compared with other games, the house edge in baccarat is quite low. So, it can be a great game to play if you’re looking to pass the time. It could take quite a while for the odds to catch up with you.

How To Play Baccarat At Casinos

Playing baccarat in person at a casino can be a thrilling way to enjoy the game. You won’t be able to do it for free, of course, and the minimum real-money bets tend to be higher than you’ll find with other games. Most baccarat tables will require a minimum bet of $10 to $25, if not more.

The rules are the same as described above, but when you play in person you can request a hard copy of the rules in order to follow along more easily. It’s also possible that the casino will use chips to keep track of any money owed from the dealer bets you’ve won, and will require you to pay these before you leave the table.

You should remember that the action is always a bit more fast-paced when you’re playing in real time. You won’t be allowed to stop gameplay so you can analyze each result. So unless you have a bankroll to support learning at speed, it’s best to familiarize yourself by playing for free online first.

Free Online Baccarat FAQ

The word “baccarat” is pronounced “bah” + “kah” + “rah” and the “t” is silent.

The word “baccarat” translates as “zero,” and hands that equal zero in the game are referred to as baccarat.

The game of baccarat is thought to be over 250 years old. It likely originated in either France or Italy.

The monkey in baccarat refers to a face card or 10. If you want a hand to stay at its current value, you might hope the dealer draws a monkey.

There is no way to beat the game of baccarat, although there are many unproven strategies. There are various systems and techniques people use, but baccarat is a game of pure chance.

Legal online casinos give players the chance to win real money playing baccarat online. Signing up with a bonus code will allow players to bet on baccarat games for free, and potentially win money without making a deposit.

About the Author

Cassie Thompson

Writer & Casino Expert
Cassie Thompson is a content writer and casino enthusiast based in Maryland. Her favorite games include slots, blackjack, and Texas hold 'em poker. When she isn't able to make it to a casino in person, you can likely find her playing online. Cassie is always eager to share gaming strategy, deals, and news with her fellow players.