How to Play Baccarat


The Game of Mr. Bond

Baccarat is a card game which is almost two hundred years old, but it became popular in 1953, with the novel Casino Royale, which is also the first James Bond novel. It is the official card game of Mr. Bond and high-stakes players all over the world, and considered as the most sophisticated casino game available. This is mostly because of the high payouts it offers, unlike poker or blackjack; you can win hundreds of thousands of dollars anytime during the game. It is believed that baccarat and the blackjack evolved from the same game, which is probably Basset.

Baccarat is not a card game based on complete luck, using strategies and tactics will actively increase your winning odds, depending on the variation. The hand valuation is same for all varieties of baccarat, but the rules (and payouts) differ according to the version you are playing. Let’s take a closer look to both and give information about baccarat odds and baccarat strategy.

Baccarat Hand Valuation

Whether it is punto banco, mini baccarat, chemin de fer or baccarat banquet you are playing, the hand valuations stay the same. In baccarat, each card has a value. All cards from ace to nine counts as for their numeric values; with ace being 1. (Suits and colors do not matter.) The picture cards (kings, queens and jack) are null, they have no value. Also, joker cards are not used in the game. The important thing to remember is that each baccarat hand can consist of a singular value only. The highest possible outcome can be nine, and if the sum exceeds over 10, only the rightmost digit counts. For example, if you get an eight and a nine, the total is 17. But it counts as 7 (the rightmost digit) in baccarat. If you get a nine and a King, the total is nine again. If you get an eight and an ace, that is the best hand you can get, because the total is nine.

Baccarat Rules

While the rules differ by the variation you are playing, the goal (and the hand valuation) stays the same. In baccarat, each side tries to get a card total of nine, or a higher total than the other player. Baccarat requires at least two people to play, and both of them play against each other, not the casino. (The croupier is there for dealing the cards and announcing the winner only, the casino gets a commission from each winning, which is around %5.) Each side gets two cards in the beginning and the goal is to reach a total of nine, as we mentioned above. This part of baccarat is very like the blackjack game, but instead of 21, you are trying to get 9. But unlike blackjack, a hand can end with a tie in baccarat.

Each player can ask for a third card (depending on the variation). For example, if a player gets an eight and a Queen in the first dealing, his total is 8. If the player gets an ace as for his third card, the total reaches nine and he wins that round. While the basic rules are like this, each variation of baccarat involves different drawing systems. For example, in punto banco, both sides are required to draw more cards under certain conditions, especially the banker.

Baccarat Strategy

Baccarat strategies differ by the variation you are playing. For example, in punto banco, using a strategy is very hard because that version is based completely on luck. Drawing rules are very strict and eight decks of cards are used in punto banco, which makes card counting impossible (and non-profitable). It is possible to follow some basic strategies in other variations such as chemin de fer and baccarat banquet. The most basic (and common) strategy is that standing if you have a total of 6-7 and asking for a third card if you have a total between 0-4. Since each hand consists of only two (maximum three) cards and at least eight decks are used in the game, calculating baccarat odds is nearly impossible, even for computers.

Baccarat Bet Types and Payouts

In baccarat, you can bet on three things:

  • The Player: You can bet on the player that he has the higher hand. Pays 1 to 1.
  • The Banker: You can bet on the banker that he has the higher hand. Pays 1 to 1, but there is a %5 commission as we mentioned above.
  • Tie: You can bet on both the player and the banker has the same total in their hands. Pays 9 to 1. (In some casinos, 7 to 1.)

As you can see, betting on a tie awards the maximum payout. The main difference from other card games is that even the player can bet on a tie, instead of his hand. This is not possible on other card games, including blackjack.

How to Win At Baccarat

Baccarat is an easy-to-learn but hard-to-master card game. As with other card games, practice makes perfect – it is recommended to play on digital baccarat tables to master the game before risking real money. Play baccarat online for practice, it won’t cost you a dime (unless you want it to) and make you a better player for free. You can use your mobile devices and play anywhere you want, you don’t need to be in a casino to practice the game. When you think that it is time to play real money baccarat, you can prefer online casinos and play live baccarat games too; their payouts are usually higher than the classic versions.