How To Play Baccarat

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Baccarat is a popular card game that offers fast-paced action, a variety of betting options, and a low house edge. This guide explains how to play baccarat at online casinos and land-based casinos. We will also explain the best baccarat betting options and provide our top tips to maximize your chances of success.

Baccarat IconThe Objective of Baccarat

The basic objective of baccarat is to predict whether the player’s hand or the banker’s hand will be closer to 9. At the start of each round, the player and the banker will each receive two cards. A third card may also be dealt.

You have three main betting options:

  • Banker’s hand to win (pays 19:20)
  • Player’s hand to win (pays 1:1)
  • Tie (pays 8:1)

To be clear, you do not assume the role of the player in baccarat. You can bet on the player winning, but you also have the option of betting against the player.

  • Note: There are several baccarat variants, but most games at online casinos and land-based casinos follow the Punto Banco format. “Punto” means player, and “Banco” means banker, reflecting either side of the bet.

Playing a Hand of Baccarat

Follow these steps to play a hand of baccarat online or at a retail casino.

1

Place Your Bets

Place Your Bets Baccarat Screenshot

Start by laying your chips on the table. You can bet on the banker’s hand being closest to 9, the player’s hand being closest to 9, or a tie.

2

Cards are Dealt

Two Cards Drawn Baccarat Screenshot

The player and the banker will each receive two initial cards. They are dealt face up from an eight-deck shoe. These are the key points to know.

  • An ace is worth 1.
  • The 10, Jack, Queen, and King cards are all worth zero.
  • If the combined value of a hand exceeds 9, the two cards are added together, and the second digit is used to determine the result.
  • For example, a 6 and a 9 would leave a total of 15, so the result would be 5.

If either hand has a total value of 8 or 9, no additional cards will be dealt, and the round ends. The hand closest to 9 wins.

3

A Third Card Could Be Drawn

If neither hand has a total value of 8 or 9, an additional card will be drawn (dealt). These are the rules:

  • If the player’s hand has a total value of 5 or less, the player is dealt a third card.
  • The player stands on a 6 or 7, meaning the player does not draw another card.
  • If the player stands, the banker draws another card on a total of 5 or fewer.
  • If the player hits, the dealer will receive a third card according to the third card the player receives.

This is called the banker’s rule, and it gives the banker a slight edge. These are the different scenarios if the player hits.

Value of the banker’s first two cardsBanker draws when the player’s third card is:Banker doesn’t draw when the player’s third card is:
0, 1, or 2Always draws a cardn/a
30, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 98
42, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 70, 1, 8, or 9
54, 5, 6, or 70, 1, 2, 3, 8, or 9
66 or 70, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, or 9
7Always standsn/a
4

Receive Your Winnings

Player Wins in Baccarat Screenshot

If you guessed correctly, the funds will be added to your cash balance at the end of the round. Here’s how the payouts break down.

  • A winning player bet pays 1:1, so a $10 wager would result in a $10 profit.
  • A winning banker bet pays 19:20, so a $10 wager would result in a $9.50 profit.
  • A winning tie bet pays 8:1, so a $10 wager would result in an $80 profit.
  • If the result is a tie, a bet on the player’s hand or the banker’s hand will be graded as a push. That means you neither win nor lose. You simply get your money back.

You can then place another bet or exit the game at any time.

Practice Baccarat for Free

Practice Baccarat for Free

Try this version of baccarat (courtesy of DraftKings Casino) to practice everything you’ve learned risk-free. If you run out of credits, simply refresh the page to reset your chops. Looking for other versions of baccarat? Check out our catalog of free baccarat games.

Baccarat Strategy & Tips

These are some key tips to improve your prospects when playing baccarat.

  • Betting on the banker’s hand is the best statistical option, as it has a house edge of just 1.06%.
  • The player’s hand has a house edge of 1.24%, which is not quite as attractive.
  • Avoid the tie bet, as it has a very high house edge of 14.36%.
  • Avoid side bets, as they tend to have a very high house edge, too. For example, the Perfect Pair bet has an 8.05% house edge, and Either Pair has a 13.71% house edge. Side bets like Banker Pair and Player Pair both have a 10.36% house edge.
  • Claim bonuses and promotions, which can effectively reduce the house edge when you play baccarat at an online casino.

Baccarat strategies can tell you how much to wager on each hand. If you want to try a betting strategy, start by setting a base unit, which should be a modest percentage of your bankroll. For example, if you have a $500 playing budget, your base unit might be $10. These are some common baccarat strategies to consider.

  • Martingale | Start by betting 1 unit. Double your bet size after each loss, and return to betting 1 unit after each win. The idea is to chase down losses aggressively and grind out small wins.
  • Paroli | Begin by wagering 1 unit and double your bet amount after each win. If you win three consecutive hands, return to betting 1 unit against. The Paroli is a positive progression strategy that aims to capitalize upon small winning streaks.
  • D’Alembert | Increase your bet size by 1 unit after each win and decrease it by 1 unit after each loss. This is a negative progression system, which is less aggressive than the Martingale.

There are various other strategies, including the Fibonacci, Labouchere, 1-3-2-6, and the Reverse Martingale. None of them can guarantee success, as they cannot remove the inherent house edge when playing baccarat, but they can give you greater control over your bankroll.

Where To Play Baccarat

You can play baccarat at online casinos and brick-and-mortar casinos across the United States. We also offer a free baccarat game at Bonus.com.

Online Casinos

The best online casinos offer a range of baccarat games. They all follow the Punto Banco format, allowing you to bet on the player’s hand, the banker’s hand, or a tie. Some also offer side bets, such as Perfect Pair, Player Pair, Banker Pair, or Super 7.

There are two clear options when you visit an online casino:

  • Virtual baccarat | These games are powered by random number generators, which are independently tested to ensure fair, accurate results. You can play virtual baccarat games at your own pace. Variants include classic baccarat and squeeze baccarat.
  • Live dealer baccarat | You can connect with a real dealer via a video stream and watch the cards being dealt. A chat box allows you to interact with the dealer and the other players. Examples include classic baccarat, Lightning Baccarat, Golden Wealth Baccarat, and Speed Baccarat.

Real money online casinos are legal in seven states: Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia. The best sites host virtual and live dealer baccarat games with broad betting limits and lots of bonuses on offer.

In most other states, you can play baccarat at social and sweepstakes casinos. They allow you to play online baccarat for fun and give you the chance to redeem premium coins for cash prizes and gift cards. Sweepstakes casinos are available in every state apart from Idaho, Michigan, and Washington.

Retail Casinos

Playing baccarat at a land-based casino is very similar to playing online. You place your chips on the table and watch as the cards are dealt. If your prediction is correct, you will receive your winnings in the form of additional chips. You can then take them to the cage and cash out at any time.

Should You Learn To Play Baccarat?

Yes, you should learn to play baccarat before risking your own money on the game. You can play baccarat for free at Bonus.com while learning the ropes, and you can then play for real money at an online casino or a retail casino when you have mastered the game. Freeplay will allow you to experiment with various betting strategies like Baccarat Dragon Bonus and grow comfortable with the format.

How To Play More Games Like Baccarat

About the Author

Craig Corbeels

Craig Corbeels

Craig Corbeels is a lead writer and gambling expert for Bonus.com. He has been involved in the online gambling industry since 2013. Previously, he worked for Gamesys and Bally's Interactive as a copywriter and social media strategist for multiple North American online casinos.
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