Baccarat Explained: A Guide to Learning the Rules and Strategies for Winning

how to play baccarat and win

  • Have you always wanted to learn how to play Baccarat?
  • Want to leave your friends in awe with your Baccarat expertise?
  • Are you looking to improve your Baccarat win rate at online casinos?

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, you are in the right place.

Unlock the Secrets of Baccarat: Master the Rules and Strategies for Maximizing Your Winnings

In this article, we will discuss the following:

Prefer to watch a video instead of reading the article? Learn to play Baccarat in less than 3 minutes with professional card player Tiffany Michelle!

How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat really is one of the most simple casino games out there. With just two hands, two cards, and three betting options, we promise you can pick it up in no time at all.

First things first, you’ll need to know what each of the cards is worth in Baccarat. Again, like the game itself, this is really simple – cards 2x to 9x are worth face value, 10x to Kx is worth 0, and an Ax is worth 1.

The worth of each card in Baccarat.

Now that’s sorted, let’s look at the sequence of a Baccarat hand – broken down into four simple steps.

  1. Before any cards are dealt, you must bet on one of three winning outcomes to start the game. That is, the Banker’s bet will win, the Player’s bet will win, or the Tie bet will prevail. These are the three betting options in a standard game of Baccarat.
  2. The dealer will flip over four cards in total. Two cards for the Player’s hand and two cards for the Banker’s hand. Remember – the Player hand does mean the hand you have to play. You’re more than welcome to back the Banker’s hand or the Tie!
  3. The Dealer will then tot up the totals and determine the winner. Whichever hand totals closest to 9 (without going over) will win, or in the less likely event of a tie, the tie bet will win.
  4. If you bet on either Player’s bet or Banker’s bet and it’s a tie, your stake will usually be returned to you. If you bet specifically on a Tie bet, you’re paid out, usually at odds of 8:1, but this may vary according to the online casino and variant of Baccarat you are playing.
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But hold up, there’s something else you need to know! Like in Blackjack, there are circumstances in which the Player’s Hand or the Banker’s Hand will see either an additional card being drawn or a winning hand being declared at the first step.

When the Player’s hand is below 5, a third card is drawn, and the Banker’s hand must abide by the following rules:

And finally (this is the last bit to remember, we promise), the following rules apply that primarily apply to the Player’s Hand:

  • Player or Banker has a natural 8 or 9 = Hand Over
  • Player hand totals 0-5 = Draws an additional card
  • Player hand totals 6 or 7 = Stand
  • A hand may only reach the maximum of 9. Therefore, if a hand reaches 10+, it is recalculated by dropping the 1. For example, Player’s Hand = A♠+2♥ = 3, draws again +9♣ for a total of 12, the 1 is dropped, meaning the final score is a 2.

Don’t worry if this all seems a little complicated at first! It’s surprising how quickly you pick it up, but in any case, your online dealer will work all this out for you.

How about we look at a famous example hand and break it down? Enter Bond, James Bond.

Example Baccarat Hand – Bond vs. Onatopp, 1995.

There’s no better way to learn Baccarat than by watching someone else play, and what better example than the two hands played between Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond and Famke Janssen’s Xenia Onatopp in the 1995 film GoldenEye?

Taking his seat in the iconic Casino de Monte Carlo, the tuxedoed Bond joins the action with Georgian fighter pilot ace Onatopp having won the previous hand. She deals him two cards and herself two, and the following action ensues in hand 1:

  • Bond sits down and declares he will bet the Banker’s hand.
  • Onatopp takes the player’s hand and flips her cards to reveal A♣ + 7♥ = 8.
  • Bond receives the Banker’s hand and lands 5♠ + 2♦ = 7.
  • Onatopp has won this one.

Not practicing sensible bankroll management (which we always recommend), Onatopp raises the stakes and hand 2 ensues:

  • Onatopp plays the Banker’s hand and flips a 5♦ + J♠ = 5.
  • Bond, playing the Player’s hand, declares he needs another card (as per the rules) and is dealt a 6♣.
  • Bond reveals the initially dealt hand was a Q♥ + K♥ = 0, meaning with the 6♣ added, he has a total of 6 and has beaten Onatopp.

See, that was actually pretty simple, wasn’t it? And all done in time to grab a well-earned martini (shaken, not stirred).

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The Best Bets in Baccarat

Now that you know how to play Baccarat, as well as all the rules of Baccarat, let’s focus on the how to get more chances to win part.

Whether you are a high roller or not, the basic Baccarat strategy doesn’t change:

You should always bet on the Banker.

Here’s why:

Although most Casinos apply a commission to this bet (~5 percent), this is the best bet in the game.

The secret is in the house edge.

  • The house edge of the Banker’s bet is 1.06 percent
  • The house edge of the Player’s bet is 1.24 percent
  • The house edge of the Tie bet is…it doesn’t matter

You have so few chances to hit the Tie bet that it should only be incorporated as a bit of fun and not as part of a coherent strategy.

That’s all there is to it – really!

Sit at the table, put your money on the Banker, and wait until it’s the right time to cash out the money you have won. And don’t forget to apply all the basic bankroll management tips every beginner should know.

The Best Online Casinos for Playing Baccarat

IMHO, Baccarat fans are spoilt for choice with some amazing casino sites to play at – you can find a full list of them here.

The Best Baccarat Site for US Casino Players

Our current American favorite is FanDuel Casino, a great site that regularly offers bonuses and promotions to start you off on your Baccarat journey.

They have a fabulous new players’ offer that can help you give your bankroll the boost you need to play lots and lots of online Baccarat games.

If you sign up for a free account via this page, you receive up to $1000 to play Baccarat with their Play It Again bonus! Keep in mind this allows you to play with no risk for the first day up to $1000 – making it a great way to start.

The Best Baccarat Site for UK Casino Players

Like the US, the UK has some great online casinos to choose from, with a number of them offering brilliant Baccarat games and generous bonuses.

Sky Casino is an operator we really like, providing a wide range of dedicated Baccarat tables, both with and without live dealers.

The current bonus, Deposit £10 and Receive £60, can be taken advantage of by signing up as a new player – it’s a great way to get going!

The Best Baccarat Site for Canada & Rest of World Casino Players

Players based in Canada and elsewhere in the world also have the option of playing at some great online casinos for Baccarat. Our number 1 choice is Jackpot City Casino and Jackpot City Casino Ontario (specifically for Ontarians), which you can check out using the links below.

How to Play Baccarat and Win FAQs

This article was first published in 2023. Last update: December 2023.

baccarat explained

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