How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is a popular casino game that can be very simple to play. It is most often portrayed as elegant and formal in the movies (James Bond’s favourite!), but it is actually a very slow-paced, easy to learn game.

The game is played with two hands, Player and Banker. Picture cards and tens have no value, while numbered cards are worth their face value. When the hand totals enter double digits, the second digit becomes the value of the hand.

Game rules

Baccarat is a game played on a table with from seven to 14 seats and a dealer. The banker and player sides both have a low house advantage, but the odds are different each round. Players are encouraged to stick with their bets as long as the odds are favorable.

Players can choose to bet on either the banker’s hand, the player’s hand, or a tie. The game also has a third card rule that determines when the banker must draw a third card. If the banker’s total is 5 or less, he must draw, while the player must stand on any total.

While it is tempting to try out a betting strategy, you should always play within your means. You should not risk your hard-earned money on a betting strategy that will drain your account balance. You should set a limit in advance and treat it as money you’d spend on a night out, not money you’ll win or lose.


Baccarat side bets offer high payout odds and can increase the game’s excitement. However, they can also increase the risk of losing money. They work by betting on either the Banker or Player having a pair of cards that add up to a specific number. For example, if the card totals are nine and six, the first digit is dropped (for instance, 9 + 6 = 15). If there is no tie, all winning wagers are paid out and a new round begins.

During the game, two cards are dealt to the Bank hand and two to the Player hand. The croupier then compares each hand’s total to determine the winner. Winning bets are paid out before the next round begins. A winning Banker bet qualifies for a 1 to 1 payout, but players must pay a 5% commission on this bet. This makes the banker bet a negative expectation bet. Despite the house edge, Baccarat has no skill element, making it an ideal game for novices.


When a player or banker bet wins, a payout is given to the participant. A successful player bet pays 1:1, while a successful banker bet pays 8:1. There is also the option of making an either pair or perfect pair bet, which pay out higher sums, but carry a much greater risk.

The rules of baccarat dictate that the banker and player hands must be compared in accordance with fixed drawing rules to determine the winner. This is a significant difference from older versions of the game, where the banker and player hands were associated with specific individuals who made drawing decisions.

The odds of a win depend on the point totals of the two cards. Picture cards and tens are worth zero points, while the numbers from 2-9 and the ace are worth their face value. A winning banker bet will have a higher point total than the player hand. If the player’s hand has a point total of eight or nine, it is considered a natural win and no additional cards are drawn.


There are several variations of baccarat, with each offering a different dynamic. The most common are American baccarat, mini baccarat, Chemin de Fer, and Baccarat Banque. Each offers slightly different rules, but all follow the same basic game structure.

There is also a commission free variation called EZ Baccarat that leaves the drawing rules unchanged and pays winning Player bets even money, lowering the house edge to 1.2351%. It does, however, reduce the payout for a Banker bet to compensate for the removal of the commission.

Other popular baccarat variations include side bets that predict whether the initial Player or Banker hands will contain a matched pair. These bets pay out juicy odds of 11:1 and higher. Alternatively, players can choose to place a bet on a Tie. This bet is a push when the Player and Banker hands tie, but otherwise returns a higher payout than a pair bet. This bet is not recommended for newcomers to baccarat.