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How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is a game that’s all about chance. It may be the game associated with James Bond, but, at heart, it is a pretty simple game that’s perfect for beginners. You don’t really need to go in with any strategy or skill as the outcome is based on random chance. What’s more, Baccarat provides some of the most favourable odds of any casino game.

Here, we will take a look at how to play baccarat, baccarat rules, and the layout of the table - along with all the different variations; so that you can see if this is the game for you.

The Basic Rules of Baccarat

Baccarat is very simple - you just need to bet which of two hands (the player’s and the banker’s) will be closest to 9. However, it’s important that you know and follow all the rules before getting started - so let’s begin.

Betting on the Game

Firstly, the rules of baccarat state that all bets on a particular hand must be placed before the round begins. Only once the bets are on the table will the game kick off - with two cards dealt to two distinct hands - the Player hand and the Banker hand. In online baccarat, there is a betting window where you can pick which betting options you would like to place for the coming round.

Your aim in baccarat is to predict which of these hands you think will ultimately reach a total closest to 9. As such, you can bet on the Banker's and the Player's hands - or bet on a tie.

Calculating the Hand Total

So - how is the value calculated? Well, when working out hand totals, tens and face cards hold no value at all, aces have a value of one, and all other cards are worth their face value. However, if a hand's value is over 9, the total will be adjusted by subtracting 10 from the total. So, if the hand is 7 and 8, the total should be 15 - but because it is over 9, 10 will be deducted, giving it an overall value of 5.

Then, we have the third card rule. Specific house and game rules will determine whether or not the Banker or Player hand is eligible to draw a third card, but the dealer will decide this - so you won’t have to worry about that. However, no hand gets more than three cards.

If you correctly predict a winning Player hand, you’ll receive a 1:1 payout. However, if you correctly predict a Banker win, you’ll get a 1:1 payout. Winning bets on a tie will provide an 8:1 payout.

How To Bet on Baccarat - The Third Card Rule

As simple as it is, Baccarat can seem a little more complex when we start bringing in the possibility of a third card. However, the good news is, this has nothing to do with you as a bettor - the dealer is in charge of this and will be the one to work out whether or not a third card is needed. You can simply sit back and watch, but it’s always a good idea to grasp the rules to know what to expect.

First, let’s look at the player’s hand. If the player’s hand totals 0 to 5 or equals 10, a third card is usually drawn. However, if the total is 6 or 7, this is a stand - and no third card is drawn. Totals of 8 or 9 are referred to as 'naturals,' and again, no third card is drawn.

To summarise:

  • 1,2,3,4,5,10: Draw a 3rd card
  • 6,7,8,9: Stand

The rules surrounding the banker’s hand are similar but slightly more tricky as it also depends on the player’s hand:

  • 7,8,9: Always stand
  • 0,1,2: Always draw
  • 3,4,5,6: Depends on player’s hand

One more thing to note is that there is no winner or loser in the event of a tie. If the initial two cards add up to 8 or 9, then this is considered a "natural" and is automatically a winning hand. However, if both hands are naturals of equal value, then this will be a tie. If neither hand contains a natural, third cards may be drawn to determine the winner.

Our Top Tips to Follow When Betting on Baccarat

Like any other casino game, you should have some idea of how you should play the game - as such, here are our top tips to follow when betting on baccarat.

The tie bet isn’t a great option: House edge plays an important part in casino games, and while the baccarat game has a relatively good house edge for player and banker bets, it has been calculated that the house edge for a tie bet is about 14.4%. This is a much higher house edge than other options - putting you at a disadvantage and making it an unwise choice.

The banker is your best bet: Statistically, the banker wins roughly 45% of the time, so probability leans in favour of the banker; however, this is not guaranteed.

Disregard all tie bets: Players often avoid the tie bet based on the higher house edge for this specific bet.

Manage your budget: While standard baccarat bets have a great house edge, its win/loss ratio makes it much like betting on the toss of a coin. There’s no guarantee of winning or losing - so you should have a budget and stick to it.

The Baccarat Table and Layout

Baccarat looks complicated because of its table layout - especially with three main versions of the game, but understanding the table setup is very important if you want a smooth gaming experience. Here, we’ll look at the baccarat table layout so you can play the game with confidence.

One Game: Three Tables

Whether you're playing baccarat online or at a physical casino, knowing the different types of tables is important - as misunderstanding the table can lead to costly mistakes. It may look intricate, but a baccarat table is straightforward, and no matter what variation you play, there are common elements across the board.

Features Common to All Baccarat Tables

So, let's start with features found on all Baccarat tables. Each player position will have numbered spots, and the table can accommodate up to 14 players - depending on the baccarat version. Of course, this can change when playing in online baccarat lobbies. Most tables avoid the number 13 so it is possible to find number 15.

Each player position has its own special area for chips - usually three: one for the Player bet, one for the Banker bet, and the other for the Tie bet. However, if the game offers side bets, there will also be positions for these as well.

All tables will also include:

  • A discard tray for used cards
  • A chip tray for house-owned chips.
  • A shoe that holds the playing cards.

Mini Table Layout

This layout may be the most familiar if you’re used to playing baccarat online. It resembles a blackjack table with a dealer on one side and can seat up to seven players on the other. Again, all player positions will have areas for Banker, Player, and Tie bets. The dealer will deal cards to positions representing the Player and Banker.

In land casinos, Mini Baccarat tables usually have a commission section where the dealer collects any commission from winning Banker bets. This isn’t necessary online - although these tables can have a visible commission section - this is only for aesthetic purposes as the game automatically collects commission from winning banker bets.

Big Table Layout

As the name suggests, Big Table Baccarat uses a bigger table than Mini Baccarat. This table is racetrack-shaped with a small semicircle cutout where the caller stands. Some versions of the game will have one caller and two house dealers, so having a big table is a must. However, although the table is on a much grander scale, the layout remains very much the same - with player positions marked for bet placement.

Midi Table Layout

Then we have Midi Baccarat tables, that fall between Mini and Big tables. These can seat up to 9 players plus a caller - and games at this type of table usually have relative betting limits.

The Reason For The Different Baccarat Table Layouts

So, why are there different size tables in Baccarat? Well, the answer is simple - they all serve the same function, to play baccarat. However, the most common version of the game (particularly online) is Punto Banco - and this can be played at any table size; the only effect it has on the game is how many players can join in.

There are other versions that require larger tables due to their higher player count - and in land casinos, you’ll find that games with higher betting limits are usually played at Big Tables, while those with lower limits are played at Mini Tables.

Online Baccarat Tables

So, how to play Baccarat online? Well, If you are playing online Baccarat, then the table layout is displayed on the screen, and it very much resembles the traditional table. You simply interact and perform the same actions using the buttons on your screen.

Baccarat Variations

Baccarat, like most casino games, has lots of different variations of the game. While the main rules and objectives of these games stay the same, each has its unique aspects, keeping it fresh and interesting. If you are looking for a scaled-down version of the game and you’re a beginner looking for simplicity, then Mini Baccarat games could be a good option. If you’re familiar with baccarat, you might be looking for a more interactive experience, such as Chemin de Fer. If you’re looking to take on the role of the banker, then Baccarat Banque is a great option. However, the most popular, fast-paced, and straightforward game is Punto Banco.

Other popular options include online live dealer baccarat and Baccarat Squeeze - and these are just a few of the options out there. These all come with their own rules and unique elements catering to all types of players.

So, hopefully, you know more about baccarat, how to play baccarat online - and how to place your bets at the table.


What are the basic rules of baccarat?

Baccarat is a card game where you have to bet on the outcome of two hands: the Player's or the Banker's hand. The goal is to bet on the hand with a value closest to a total of 9. Face cards and tens count as zero, and aces as one. Others are at face value. If the hand total exceeds 9, then you subtract 10 to get the value.

How do you play and win baccarat?

How to play and how to win in baccarat is straightforward. You take your place at the table and decide whether you want to bet on the banker’s hand, the player’s hand, or a tie. The dealer will then deal two hands - one to the player and one to the banker. The banker draws a third card if they decide one is needed. If you bet on the hand with a value closest to nine, you will win a payout of 1:1. If you correctly bet on a tie, it’s a payout of 8:1.

What is the objective of baccarat?

The objective is simply to predict which of the two hands, the player's or banker's, will have a value closer to nine.

Is Baccarat a game of skill?

Baccarat is a game of chance rather than skill. You practically have no influence over the outcome as the cards are dealt randomly. Although some players try to improve their odds with a baccarat strategy, ultimately, whether you win or lose depends on chance.