Playing Baccarat

Some casino games are more complicated than others. The game of baccarat is one of the easiest casino games ever invented. Playing baccarat, either at the best online casinos or at a live table game, simply consists of either betting on the “player”, the “banker”, or a “tie”. Once the bets have been made the game begins and hands are dealt out according to baccarat rules. Players don’t participate in the hand further than the initial bet other than to watch the outcome and collect any winnings afterward.

Baccarat Rules

How a winning hand is determined is where the rules of baccarat come into play. The dealer will give out two cards for the banker and two cards for the player. These cards are flipped over and on occasion the dealer will deal a third card if the hand situation dictates. Hand scores are determined by using the right digit of the card total and are always between 0-9. For example, two cards totaling 14 would have a score of 4 while two cards totaling 19 would score 9.

A third card is not dealt out if either the banker or player is dealt a total of 8 or 9. When this occurs bets will be paid to the winners. The rules of baccarat that dictate that a third card is dealt in a hand are:

  • When the player is dealt a hand total of 5 or less
  • When the banker’s total is 2 or less
  • When the banker’s total is 3 and the player’s third card is an 8
  • When the banker’s total is 4 and the player’s third card is 0, 1, 8, or 9
  • When the banker’s total is 5 and the player’s third card is 0, 1, 2, 8, or 9
  • When the banker’s total is 6 and the player’s third card is 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, or 9

Paying or Collecting Baccarat Bets

Once the winning hand is determined all the winning bets are paid and losing bets are collected. A successful bet on the player will pay 1 to 1 on the wager. Successful bets on the banker will pay 19 to 20. The 5% difference is a commission paid to the house because the banker bet has a slight edge over the player bet. To keep the flow of the game moving a successful banker bet will pay 1 to 1 and the dealer will keep track of all the commissions owed. The 5% commissions will only be paid when players either leave the game or when the shoe of cards has come to an end.

A successful tie bet will pay out 8 to 1 on the wager. The tie bet isn’t recommended when you play baccarat because the house holds an edge of over 14% over you with this bet, a standard baccarat betting strategy. The house edge on the player bet is usually around 1.24% and only 1.06% on the banker bet, depending on the number of decks in the shoe. So mathematically it’s advantageous to always bet on the banker, but that’s not an overly fun way to play baccarat.

It’s nice to hit an 8 to 1 payout, but the chances of a tie occurring are much less than 8 to 1 odds. The more you play this bet the higher the house edge over you. Any ties that do occur will be a push for the other banker and player bets, regardless of whether anyone bet the tie or not. In the event of a tie the option to leave the bet for the next hand or increase the amount is also available.

Setting Bet Limits

Baccarat is a fast game with lots of action. It’s important to realize what stakes you should be playing at so you can get as much enjoyment out of your buy-in as possible. Setting limits for loses and wins should be an important part of your baccarat strategy before you sit down. That way you can play the game anytime you want and it will always be an enjoyable way to spend some free time and extra cash.