Baccarat Rules – Learn How to Play Baccarat Online

9 minutes

Last Updated: October 19, 2023

baccarat rules

If you are a fan of James Bond movies, you have probably seen 007 play baccarat in several of the movies. Even if not, it's likely, you have walked past a baccarat table at a casino at least once in your lifetime.

Baccarat is one of those casino games that are shrouded in mystery and often seem intimidating to novice players but are, in fact, very simple to play.

If you are new to the game, you have come to the right place to learn baccarat rules and how to play the game without much fear.

I am going to teach you how to play baccarat in an online casino, but the very same rules and gameplay flow will apply to a live casino setting as well.

In fact, I would highly recommend playing live dealer versions of baccarat in online casinos as well, as these provide the most fun and the most enjoyable experience for the player.

Let's get started with the basic rules of baccarat and the goals of the game and go from there.

The Goals and Basic Rules of Baccarat

While baccarat is a unique game quite different from most other casino games, there is one thing that makes it very similar to blackjack, and that’s the goal of the game.

In baccarat, you will be betting on one of two hands, with the hope of that being the hand that comes closest to 9 in the total score.

This is very similar to blackjack, where you are essentially betting that your hand will be closer to 21 than the dealer’s. Yet, there are quite a few differences.

For starters, the baccarat game rules don’t allow you to make any decisions once you have placed your bet. You won’t get to decide when to draw additional cards and when to stand.

The dealer deals the cards according to a premade set of rules which apply in every situation, and neither you nor he will get to make any decisions in that regard.

If you are playing virtual baccarat online, the cards will come out fast, and you won't get to decide on anything other than which hand to bet on.

Card Values and Possible Bets in Baccarat

So how does baccarat work in terms of card values? I already stated that your goal is to get as close to 9 as possible, but doesn't that seem a little low, considering you get two cards to start with?

The number 9 is actually reasonable because of the way cards are valued in this game. All cards with pips count for their face value, while all Tens, Jacks, Queens, and Kings count for 0. All Aces count as 1 point.

However, whenever your number goes past 9, the first digit is taken away. So, if you end up with 12 in your hand, you will only have 2 points, and another card will be dealt to your hand.

It is also worth noting that cards past the third are not dealt, unlike blackjack, which means each hand only gets a maximum of three cards on each deal.

Now that you know how cards are valued in baccarat, it’s also worth talking about how you bet in this game.

Unlike blackjack, you won’t be getting a hand of your own or the ability to bet on your hand. Instead, the dealer will deal out two hands, which are called “Player” and “Banker.”

On each deal, you will have the option to bet on either Player, Banker, or a Tie, as you see fit. If the hand you placed chips on wins, you will receive profit.

Winnings are paid as follows:

  • Player Bets are Paid at Even Money
  • Banker Bets are Paid at 19/20
  • Tie Bets are Paid at 8/1

While the Player and Banker bet may seem the same, because of the rules of the game, Banker wins slightly more often. For that reason, the rules of baccarat also dictate that a 5% commission is charged on all winning Banker bets.

The tie bet seems like a fun and lucrative one, but the truth is that it’s by far the least profitable bet in the game and one that gives the house an excessive edge.

While I don’t want to go too much into strategy right now, it’s safe to say that always betting on Banker is your best bet, but betting on Player is a bet with similar returns and house edge to Banker, which means you can bet by feel and enjoy the game at your own pace.

Dealing in Baccarat

Now that you know the basic rules of baccarat, let's talk more about how the cards are dealt and what you can expect to see at the tables.

As you already know, you won’t get to make any choices about when cards are dealt to either Player or Banker, and it’s all done according to preset baccarat rules.

But what exactly are those rules, and when will each hand get the additional third card? Here are more details on that.

Player Hand

The initial two cards are dealt by the dealer to both Player and Banker at the start of the hand. These two cards are always dealt to both hands.

Once this is done, the dealer will need to make decisions on whether to give these hands an additional card or not and declare the winning hand.

There is no strategy involved in this, unlike games like blackjack, as the dealer will deal the cards according to the baccarat rules chart.

The Player's hand goes first in terms of the third card. The Player will get the third card when the total score of the first two cards is 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.

When the Player’s total is 6 or 7, this hand will stand. However, the Banker will try to outmatch this by drawing an additional card if necessary.

When the Player’s total is 8 or 9, the hand is a natural. The natural will win unless the Banker can beat it straight away with the initial two cards.

Here is a quick chart that depicts when the Player's hand will receive the third card:

Player Hand Total ValueDraw/Stand
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5Draw
6, 7Stand
8, 9Natural

Banker Hand

The rules of baccarat apply to the banker as well, but there is one distinct difference. Since the Banker goes second, it is clear when no extra card is needed.

For example, if you imagine the Banker’s first two cards totaling 3, you would assume another card will be dealt.

However, if the Player gets the third card and makes a 2, there is no reason to draw another card as the Banker’s hand is already a winner.

These rules are exactly what makes the Banker a more likely winner in the game of baccarat and why a 5% commission is charged on Banker's wins.

Here is the baccarat rules chart for the Banker:

Banker Hand Total ValueDraw on the Player's 3rd CardStand on the Player's 3rd Card
0, 1, 2Always DrawNever Stand
31, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 108
42, 3, 4, 5, 6, 71, 8, 9, 10
54, 5, 6, 71, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10
66, 71, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10
8, 9NaturalNatural

Ties in Baccarat

The Baccarat card game also includes an option called a tie. If, after all, three cards have been dealt to both hands, the score of both hands is the same; the hand is a tie.

In the event of a tie, all Player and Banker bets are returned in full to the bettors without any wins or losses.

However, any players who bet on Tie will get paid at 8:1, which may seem like a huge win, but is actually very unprofitable.

Ties in baccarat simply don’t happen often enough to make betting on a Tie make any sense. Only 9.6% of all hands in the game finish in a Tie.

The house edge on the Player bet stands at 1.24%, while the house edge on Banker is 1.06%. In comparison, the house edge on the Tie bet is 14.40%, which is higher than any other card game or casino game you can think of.

How to You Play Baccarat Online

Now that you know the rules of baccarat in full, it’s time for your first online baccarat session. To get started, you will need to pick out an online casino to play at first.

I recommend checking out some of the recommended online casinos here on the site and finding one that offers the best baccarat tables around.

Once there, you will need to pick a baccarat game to play. Live dealer baccarat tables offer the most engaging and player-friendly experience, and I highly recommend them.

You can also opt for virtual baccarat if you prefer to play faster and without human interaction, which can also be relaxing at times.

Once you are at the tables, remember that the only rules of baccarat you really have to keep in mind are related to betting.

Once you place your bet on Banker or Player, the dealer will take care of everything else, and you won’t really need to worry about the cards at all.

The truth is that baccarat may just be the simplest of all casino games, as it requires very little effort on the part of the player.

This may be exactly what makes baccarat so popular among the high rollers who like the low house edge of the game and the ability to gamble for high stakes without the pressure of making a potentially costly mistake.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

You now know how the baccarat card game works through and through. I am going to cover some more extensive strategies for baccarat in my strategy guide, but there are a few tips I can give you to get you started.

When you sit down to play your first baccarat session, keep these tips in mind, and you should do quite well against the casino:

  • Bet on the Banker: The Banker bet has the highest chance of being a winner in baccarat. For that reason, betting on the Banker is always the best option, and it is the easiest way to play the game without making things complicated.
  • Avoid the Tie Bet: No matter what you do, never bet on a Tie. Sure enough, hands end in a Tie occasionally, but the payouts for that bet are not adjusted to the actual odds of it winning, making it a big losing bet in the long run.
  • Manage Your Bankroll: Good bankroll management is the one strategy you will have to apply. Make sure you can stand some losing hands, and don't overextend yourself.
  • Aim for Winning Streaks: If you want to try and make up a winning strategy, trying to chase either the Player or the Banker until they lose and find a winning streak is as good a strategy as any other.
  • Don’t Chase Losses: Chasing losses will cost you in the long run. Be willing to take a loss every now and then and walk away when things are not going your way.

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