How To Play Baccarat and Win: Beginner’s Guide

  By benboland – Last updated 5 Aug 2022

Ever since the first casinos opened their doors, players have flocked to the tables in an attempt to take the house for all it’s worth, and one game that’s long been associated with big payouts is baccarat.

The issue is that many players have avoided playing this game as there’s long been a belief that it’s solely the domain of high rollers. Thankfully, nothing could be further from the truth. Throughout this page, we’ve outlined the basics to give you all the information you’ll need to learn how to play baccarat and win.

So, if you’re keen to learn more, continue reading to discover all of the details.

What Is Baccarat?

There’s been a long-held misconception that baccarat is considered a casino game limited to high rollers. The thing is, although this table game does tend to appear to players who prefer to place high-stakes wagers, anyone can play and it’s an extremely simple game to learn, especially given its newfound popularity within the online sector.

The simplest way to define online baccarat is as a card game where the hand with the highest score wins. Of course, there’s slightly more to it than that as certain scoring systems and card-drawing rules come into play but at its core baccarat is a game of chance, with certain variants introducing minute adjustments to the gameplay to spice up the experience.

The Basic Rules of Baccarat

You’re first going to need to understand the basics if you’re going to learn how to play baccarat and win. Thankfully, the game isn’t as complex as it may initially appear. Yes, there are certain card-drawing rules that may be confusing at first but once you’ve played a few hands, you’ll quickly get a feel for the gameplay.

In a regular round of baccarat, there are six to eight decks in play and your goal is to predict the winning hand. You start by placing a bet on either the Banker’s Hand, the Player’s Hand or the tie, after which point the two hands are dealt.

In ordinary play, two cards are dealt to each of the Banker’s and Player’s hands. You then calculate the points in each hand based on the card values shown – we cover this in greater detail later in this article. Once the points have been added, and after any third-card rule comes into effect, the hand with the highest value is determined as the winner and all winning bets are paid.

So, with that in mind let’s take a look at the card values and their respective points.

Baccarat Card Values And Points

baccarat second generic image

Fortunately, the card values in online baccarat are straightforward. Face cards (10, J, Q and K) are worth zero, whilst all remaining cards (A-9) are worth their face value – seems simple enough, right?

It’s important to remember though that the hand’s overall value is determined by the combined points score of each card in the hand, and only the final digit counts. To clarify we’ll provide a few examples

Example #1: Let’s say you’ve bet on the Player’s Hand and you’ve been dealt a 7 and a 6. The combined points score here is 13 but as only the final digit is taken into account the hand’s overall value is only 3.

Example #2: Here, the Player’s Hand has been dealt a 6 and an Ace. As these combined point scores only total 7, the overall value of the hand is actually 7.

What Are The Odds Of Winning Baccarat?

One of the main reasons online baccarat is so widely enjoyed around the world is because of its low house edge – the advantage the casino has over you in any given situation. Given that baccarat offers multiple betting options, they each come with respective payout odds and a slightly different house edge. Therefore, if you’re looking to learn how to play baccarat and win consistently, check the table below to discover your chances of winning.

Banker’s HandPlayer’s HandTie
House Edge1.06%1.24%14.40%
Payout Odds1:1
(-5% commission)

Furthermore, assuming the version you’re playing is using eight standard 52-card decks, the following table outlines the expected mathematical outcomes for each of the Player’s and Banker’s hands.

Player’s Hand44.63%45.87%9.51%
Banker’s Hand45.87%44.65%9.51%

Baccarat Strategies

Even if you’re new to playing, we highly recommend that you implement some sort of strategy, rather than simply placing bets at random. As you can see from the tables above, betting on the Banker’s Hand is the optimal choice, at least from a mathematical standpoint. However, it’s always important to remember the outcome of your session may not truly reflect these odds, as deviations can occur.

So, if you’re looking to learn how to play baccarat casino games, we’ve got the ideal solution. Our online baccarat strategy guide is the perfect accompaniment to your time at the tables. Take a look and use the information we’ve compiled to give yourself the best chance of winning!

Different Baccarat Versions

Like many other popular table games, traditional baccarat has given rise to several unique variants. At their core, most of them are built upon similar foundations but with slight rule changes that impact the general gameplay. 

Punto Banco

The overwhelming majority of casino baccarat games around the world are of the Punto Banco version, which in most cases are simply listed as ‘baccarat’. In Punto Banco, the casino banks the game at all times and plays out both hands according to fixed drawing rules, known as the tableau. 

Essentially, the player (punto) and banker (banco) are initially dealt 2 face-up cards from a shoe containing 6 to 8 decks. The total is then called and if either the player, the banker or both achieve a total of 8 or 9, the hand concludes and all winning bets are paid. If neither hand has an initial value of 8 or 9, the drawing rules are applied to determine the outcome. 

Chemin De Fer

French for ‘railway’, Chemin De Fer is designed to be a quicker variant of baccarat as the game traditionally only uses 6 decks, rather than 8. Players are seated in random order and the play begins with one player taking the role of the banker, which rotates counterclockwise around the table.

During a round, the banker decides how much they want to risk and then the players have the choice to match the bet or wager something smaller. If the total wagers from the players exceed that of the bank, the banker has the option to increase their amount.

The gameplay is similar to that of standard baccarat, with each hand receiving 2 cards. However, the key difference is that the player gets to decide how to play the hand. The player who has made the largest wager decides whether or not to take a third card, and the banker also has the same choice.

If the banker wins, that player gets to remain as the banker, otherwise, the banker position rotates.

Mini Baccarat

Mini baccarat is typically enjoyed by those who prefer to play casually or with much smaller stakes. The rules remain the same, as does the house edge that applies to each bet. The only differences here are that the table minimums are usually much lower than traditional baccarat games and there are often fewer seats at the table.

If you’re looking for a game that will help you learn how to play baccarat in a low-risk environment, mini baccarat is certainly the way to go.

Baccarat Tips

Now that we’ve outlined the basics of playing baccarat, it’s time to dive into some tips that will help maximise your chances of winning. Of course, there are never any guarantees in the world of online gambling but should you use this information wisely you’ll put yourself in the best position to walk away in profit.

Tip #1 – The Banker Is Mathematically The Best Bet

Before you start implementing any complex baccarat strategies, you’ll first want to get a feel for the game by playing several hands, and, ideally, with as little risk as possible. Given the statistical advantage of betting on the Banker’s hand to win, we highly recommend that’s where you start. Of course, we can’t guarantee that you’ll end up quadrupling your bankroll but the odds are on your side.

Tip #2 – Avoid The Tie Bet

Yes, betting on the Tie and winning nets you an 8:1 payout but when you consider the 14.40% house edge, the maths doesn’t support consistently making this bet as you’ll end up losing in the long run. 

Tip #3 – Bankroll Management Is Key

With Baccarat, you’re almost betting on a coin flip or red or black. It’s not quite a 50/50 bet but the 1:1 payout odds – plus the 5% commission on Banker bets – means you’re never going to see your bankroll skyrocket so sticking to limited stakes can help your money go further. Additionally, we should also point out that it’s inadvisable to chase your losses by doubling your bet, i.e. the Martingale system, as this can quickly drain any funds you have remaining.