Baccarat is a hugely popular casino game which is played between a chosen “banker” and a designated “player.” While the scoring system may take a little bit of getting used, the game is actually one of the easiest casino games to play.
This may be slightly suprising to those of you who haven’t played Baccarat before as the game is traditionally seen as the chosen pass-time of high rollers and experienced players. However, the appearance of online casinos has meant that the average stake allowed at the table has decreased dramatically meaning that the game of baccarat no longer needs to be a mystery to those players with a slightly smaller bankroll.
How to play Baccarat
When playing Baccarat, you simply need to decide whether you want to back the banker or the player. Once you place your initial stake, cards will be dealt with one hand being labelled “The Banker Hand” and the other hand being known as “The Player Hand.”
Participants can also bet on a tie between the two hands, but this isn’t generally recommended as the house edge is greater than 14% on this kind of bet, even though the casino will only pay out 8:1.
In contrast, Player Bets carry a house edge of 1.24% and Banker Bets have a house edge of just 1.06%. Both bets will pay out a 1:1.
The winner of each round is determined by the player whose hand is worth the closest to nine points.
Scoring in Baccarat
The scoring system in Baccarat takes a little getting used to, but is easy to learn. Essentially, every card is given a points value as follows:
|Deuce – Nine||Face value|
|10, J, Q, K||0 points|
Calculating the value of each hand is simple. The value of each card is added up and then ten is subtracted from the if overall total is higher than ten.
For example, if the banker is holding a 9-5 the overall value of the hand is actually 4: 9+5 and then subtract 10 as the overall total is greater than 10.
The Banker and The Player are both dealt two cards face down on the table.
If either The Player or The Banker is dealt a “natural” (i.e. the initial two hands they are dealt totals 9), the round ends immediately with the natural hand being declared the winner.
If both hands are dealt as naturals, the player with the highest card in their hands. In the unlikely situation that both players hold the same high card, the round is declared a tie.
When a natural hand is not dealt, The Player or The Banker may draw one more card in accordance with the following rules:
- If the value of The Player’s hand is six seven, The Player must stand and is not allowed to draw any more cards.
- If the value of The Player’s hand is five or less, The Player must draw a card.
The rules concerning The Banker’s hand are more complicated as they rely on the value of The Player’s hand.
|Value of first two cards||Draws when Player’s 3rd card is||Stands when Player’s 3rd card is|
|0, 1, 2||Always||N/A|
|3||1-7, 9, 10||8|
|4||2-7||1, 8, 9, 10|
|5||4-7||1-3 and 8-10|
|6||6, 7||1-5 and 8-10|
|7, 8 or 9||N/A||Always stands|
There is very little that can be written about Baccarat Strategy, because essentially it’s a game of luck.
Some players like to bet based on the outcome of previous hands, but the truth is that previous results will have no bearing at all on the hand that is currently being played.
For new players getting involved with the game for the first time, it’s a good strategy to back The Banker as the house edge is only 1.06% but essentially players should just accept Baccarat for what it is: a fun game based on luck that has a tiny house edge and will therefore allow your bankroll to last longer.
Ready to Play?
So you want to give Baccarat a go then? Feel free to have a go on this free version of the game courtesy of Bodog Casino.
If you want to play for real cash, you’ll need to register for a free account. New players will be given up to $100 in free cash as a welcome bonus.