How to Play Baccarat
Written 13th November 2019
Here at 21.co.uk we have provided you with all of the knowledge needed to understand and play Baccarat Online.
What is Baccarat?
Baccarat (pronounced Bah-Cah-Rah), is a popular card game of French and Italian origins playable in almost every online casino and land-based house worldwide. Despite appearing serious, elegant, and often intimidating to new players, it is, in fact, a game of few complexities and fairly simple to play once you grasp the basics - it also offers one of the lowest house edges of all the casino games.
Is Baccarat a Game of Skill?
Baccarat can be played by anyone requiring no skill for players to get involved. It's a game of pure luck based on chance. Once you have learned the basics of game play you're ready to get involved.
How Do You Play Baccarat Card Game? The Basics:
🂡 All games of Live Baccarat start with players making bets. After all bets have been placed, two hands are dealt made up of two cards in each hand - these are called the Player Hand and the Bank Hand.
🂡 Players’ objective is to guess which of the two hands will be closest to a total of 9.
🂡 Each player can place a wager on the Bank Hand, the Player Hand, or on the tie bet.
🂡 Face cards and 10’s hold a value of 0 and aces count as 1. All other cards hold their face value.
🂡 Should the hand value exceed 9, the total is adjusted by subtracting 10.
🂡 There are rules set by the house to determine whether or not the Bank and Player hands receive a third card draw. (there’s a maximum of 3 cards available for each hand.)
🂡 Players who wager on a winning Player Hand receive a 1 to 1 payoff.
🂡 Players who wager on a winning Bank Hand also receive a 1 to 1 payoff but must pay a 5% commission. (This is negated if playing No Commission Baccarat.
🂡 The payoff odds for a winning tie-bet are 8 to 1.
How Do You Win at Baccarat? The Objective:
Regardless of the number of players at the table, only two hands are ever dealt in a game of Baccarat: the Bank Hand and the Player Hand. Before the cards are dealt, you must place a wager using chips (also known as checks) on which hand you believe will hold a total closest to 9. You wager on either:
🂡 The Bank Hand
🂡 The Player Hand
🂡 A Tie
NB - You could wager on any combination of the above, for example; a bet on the Bank Hand and another on the Tie.
What Are The Odds of Winning in Baccarat?
Baccarat is one of the games that gives the best opportunity of a 50 50 chance of winning against the casino. In actual fact the house always has a slight advantage with a winning hand 45.8% of the time, slightly higher than the Player's hand at 44.6%. Ties have a much lower probability at 9.6% but reward 8x more. Players will often bet on the house but the game is still a game of chance and there is no way to be certain which hand will win next.
Should You Always Bet Banker in Baccarat?
Betting on the banker is largely considered to be the safest bet due to the marginal chance being greater than the player. As the saying goes, "If in doubt back the banker!
Winning in Baccarat - Payouts
A Player Hand
In most Baccarat games, both online and in house, a winning bet on the Player Hand pays out a 1 to 1 payoff. For example, if you placed a £10 wager on the Player Hand, you would receive £10 winnings.
A Bank Hand
Similarly, a winning bet on the Bank Hand pays out at 1 to 1, however, a 5% commission is taken usually taken by the casino. This works out at an equivalent to a 19 to 20 payoff, meaning if you wager £10, you would win back £9.50.
A winning Tie bet commonly pays out at 8 to 1, which means if you win, you will receive both 8 winning chips and the single chip you wagered on the Tie. For example, if you had bet £10 and it won, you would take back £80 winnings and retain the original £10 stake. If there is a Tie, any bets placed on the Bank or Player Hand becomes a push, meaning neither hand wins or loses. After a Tie has occurred, you can remove or add chips to either wager, switch wagers, or just remove your chips and not bet.
Baccarat Card Values
A game of Baccarat is usually played with 8 decks of cards (some games are played with only 6) which, like most casino card games, are dealt from a dealing shoe. Each card holds a numerical value and suits boast no relevance in Baccarat.
The values are as follows:
🂡 Ten’s and picture cards (Jack, Queen and King) are all valued at 0.
🂡 Aces hold a value of 1.
🂡 2’s up to 9’s each hold a numerical value equal to that of their face value.
The highest total a hand can hold in Baccarat is 9. (A hand cannot ‘bust’ if it exceeds the maximum total). If the numerical value of any of the hands bypasses the total of 9, there are steps players can take to adjust the total of the hand.
🂡 Drop the first digit on the sum.
🂡 Subtract 10 from the total.
For example, if the sum of a hand totals to 15 you can either drop the first digit (the 1 in 15) or subtract 10 (15 minus 10) to reach the adjusted total of 5.
How to Card Count in Baccarat
The idea being counting cards in baccarat is allowing you to understand when it's favorable to place your bet on the player for the slightly increase return. With the smallest difference between the banker or the player winning the hand counting the cards from the shoe can help you to make the right decision. To card count in baccarat you will need to be played a six-deck or eight-deck version of the game. As you're dealing with smaller numbers counting cards in baccarat doesn't mean you need to be a mathematical genius.
Baccarat Card Counting Method
🂡 For every ace, two or three that is dealt you count 1.
🂡 Count 2 for every four that is dealt from the shoe.
🂡 For a five, seven, or eight being dealt from the shoe count minus 1.
🂡 When a 6 is dealt count minus 2.
🂡 Finally count 0 when every King, Queen, Jack Ten or Nine is dealt from the shoe.
Count as along as the game continues from a single shoe for the count. The higher the count the better odds are of the players hand winning. Once the count hits 16 it's better to place your bets on the player. Whilst lower than 16 it's best to bet on the banker. Tie bets are for the riskier players - but beware the chance of winning is significantly lower.
Monitoring the cards means you know when there are less fives, sixes and eights in the in the show which means the house edge will favour the player. Vice versa, when there are less aces, twos, threes and fours the house edge favours the banker.
See? Not too hard is it?
Types of Baccarat Tables
In land-based casinos, there are three different sizes of tables you may find:
🂡 Full-Size Punto Banco Baccarat
The general rules of playing remain the same across each of these variations; the differences are found in the number of players, how the cards are dealt, and the minimum and maximum betting limits.
Full-Size Punto Banco
Known commonly as ‘Big Baccarat’, the full-size Baccarat tables are usually located in a high-limit pit or even a dedicated Baccarat room, and can generally accommodate up to 14 players at a time. The betting limits are usually much higher, often boasting the highest across the whole casino, with some Las Vegas casinos wagering a minimum bet of $100 and maximum bets of up to $100,000. Traditionally, it is the players who handle the cards; the biggest bettor on each hand type gets to turn over the respective cards under the supervision of the three staff dealers. This table type is there to cater to the high-end players (i.e high-rollers or sharks) and tends to tolerate the occasional players who bend, crush and tear cards whilst attempting to peek at them before turning them up. In the event of this happening, a fresh card deck would be introduced.
Mini-Baccarat presents a low-stakes version of the Big Baccarat game. In land-based casinos, the tables are usually located on the main casino floor with the rest of the common table games, and can generally accommodate up to 6 or 7 players at a time. The minimum and maximum betting limits are much lower than that of its larger counterpart, usually starting at around the £5 - £15 mark as a minimum with the maximum bet amount landing around a limit of £5,000. Unlike in Full-Size, the players are unable to handle the cards so they are dealt by a single dealer. Because of this rule, Mini-Baccarat games are generally played through much quicker than the Big Baccarat version.
Midi-Baccarat tables have enough space to accommodate up to 9 players and are only staffed by one dealer. Like Big Baccarat, the players handle the cards, however, Midi-Baccarat tables do not tolerate players bending, tearing or crushing cards. In land-based casinos, Midi-Baccarat tables can be found either in the main casino or in a high-limit room, due to the nature of the betting limits - they usually stand between those set in Big Baccarat and Mini-Baccarat games, with a minimum of around £25 up to a maximum of £10,000. This variation is not as fast paced as its mini counterpart, however, it does boast a higher amount of hands dealt per hour than that of Big Baccarat.
Baccarat Third Card Rules
Sometimes one of the hands will require a third card to complete it. Often, the third card rule can confuse players and can often cause some to avoid playing Baccarat as a result. It’s important to note that Baccarat is not like Blackjack games where players must be able to memorise when to stick and when to hit, in Baccarat you’re not given playing options. There is a set of standard house rules which determine when the Player and Bank hands require a third card.
Player Hand Third Card Rule
The Player Hand requiring a third card to complete it depends on the total of the initial two cards.
🂡 If the value stands between 0 and 5, the player hand draws another card.
🂡 On a total of 6 through 9, it stands.
No difference is made regardless of what the two Bank Hand cards total or whether or not the Player Hand is “beating” the Bank Hand when it comes to the Third Card Rule.
If the initial cards of either the Bank Hand or the Player Hand already total 8 or 9, this is called a ‘natural’ and if this should occur, neither hand has the ability to draw a third card. For example, if the two base cards of the Player Hand are a 5 + 4 or a 6 + 2 they are classed as a ‘natural’ and would have to stand.
Bank Hand Third Card Rule
The Third Card rule for the Bank Hand is a little less simple than the Player Hand, however it isn’t necessary for you to remember these rules as there is a member of the dealing team, known as the Caller, who is there to determine when it’s necessary for either one or both hands to receive a third card.
The rule for drawing the third card for the Bank Hand is based on a three-point criterion:
🂡 The total of the initial two Bank Hand card.
🂡 Whether the Player Hand has stood or drew a third card.
🂡 What value the third card of the Player Hand is.
The rules for determining whether or not the Bank Hand will draw a third card are as follows:
🂡 Rule 1. Bank Hand draws if the two-card total is between 0 and 1.
🂡 Rule 2. It stands if the initial two cards of either the Player Hand or the Bank Hand strikes a natural (8 or 9).
🂡 Rule 3. Stands if the two cards total 7.
🂡 Rule 4. Bank Hand stands if the two initial cards total 6 and the Player Hand did not draw a third card.
🂡 Rule 5. When the Bank Hand’s first two cards total 3 through 6 and the Player Hand draws a third card, the bank hand can only draw depending on what the value of that third card is.
|Bank Hand Initial Two Cards Total||Bank Draws Only When Player Third Card Draw is:||Bank Stands Only When Player Third Draw Is:|
|3||0 to 7 and 9||8|
|4||2 to 7||0, 1 and 8, 9|
|5||4 to 7||0 to 3 and 8, 9|
|6||6 and 7||0 to 5 and 8, 9|
Although it isn’t necessary for you to learn these rules, we suggest you should familiarise yourself with the third card system. If you don’t and rely on the Caller, you’re less likely to notice if the dealer makes a mistake. The Player Hand rule is simple to remember; the Bank Hand is a little more complicated but it’s easy to jot down and refer to it during a game until you’re more familiar.
Play Online Baccarat at 21.co.uk
We’ve given you the full rundown of all the basics you need to know before playing Baccarat here at 21.co.uk - now it’s your turn to hit the tables. Will you wager come out on top? If you don’t feel like Baccarat is your thing, don’t worry. We have a huge variety of online and live casino games ready for you to play, from online roulette to online blackjack. Or if you fancy a change from table games, we also have a brilliant range of slot games in our repertoire - we recommend starting with a fan favourite such as Rainbow Riches or Cleopatra.