How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is a game that doesn’t require many bells and whistles to play and win. It’s a straightforward game based on luck. If you’re looking for a classic casino table game that you can bet on, and enjoy simple entertainment, there aren’t many better options than baccarat.

There are a few details you’ll need to learn before you become a pro. But even those are pretty easy to grasp. By the end of this guide, you’ll be cruising the best baccarat casinos and hopefully raking in some lucky wins.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

  • Baccarat rules
  • How to bet in baccarat
  • How to win in baccarat


Anne Ifeanyi

Last Updated:


Table of Contents

Basic Rules of Baccarat Gameplay

The objective of online baccarat is to get a hand total as close to 9 as possible. The first thing to note about this game is that it is a two-hand game – you either bet on the Banker hand or the Player hand.

Don’t get the wrong idea. The Player hand doesn’t mean your own hand or cards that are dealt to you. The baccarat table layout comes with a Player side and a Banker side, and the dealer deals two cards to either side. All you have to do is bet on which hand will get a total closer to 9.

The obvious simplicity of this game stems from the fact that you don’t have to do anything except place your bets. The dealer handles all the actions on the baccarat table, whether you’re playing live dealer baccarat or software-based baccarat.

Baccarat Card Values and Points

There is a distinct way of allocating points that characterises this game:

  • Number cards from 2 – 9 are taken at face value
  • Tens and picture cards (Jack, Queen, and King) are all worth 0
  • Ace is valued at 1

Let’s take a practical example to better understand how cards are valued. Consider the following cards dealt in a round of baccarat:

  • Player hand (2,6)
  • Banker hand (3,9)

Here the Player hand wins because it has a hand total of 8. The Banker hand totals 12 but is only valued at 2 since all tens are worth 0.

Let’s take another example:

  • Player hand (10,7)
  • Banker hand (2,4)

Here the Player hand wins because it totals 17 but is valued at 7, while the Banker hand totals 6.

What are Natural Winners in Baccarat?

In baccarat, a “natural” refers to a situation where the first two cards dealt to either the Player or the Banker total 8 or 9. These are the two highest possible totals for the first two cards, and when either hand achieves a natural, no more cards will be drawn for that hand.

If either hand gets a natural, the game round will end with a natural win. If both the Player and the Banker have a natural, then the higher total wins. In this case, a natural 9 beats a natural 8.

Drawing a Third Card in Baccarat

Where a natural win doesn’t occur, there’s the possibility for a third card to be drawn in this game. Luckily, there are clear rules for when this is possible:

For the Player:

  • A third card is drawn if the value of the first two cards is 0 – 5. The Player hand stands on a total of 6 or 7.

For the Banker:

  • Bank always draws on a total of 0 – 2, except where there is a natural Player win.
  • Bank draws on a total of 3 if the Player’s third card is 0 – 7 or 9.
  • Bank draws on a total of 4 if the Player’s third card is 2 – 7.
  • Bank draws on a total of 5 if the Player’s third card is 4 – 7.
  • Bank draws on a total of 6 when Player’s third card is 6 or 7.
  • Bank always stands on 7.

You don’t have to memorise these like you would basic strategy in blackjack. It’s left for the dealer to take these actions according to the rules.

How to Bet in Baccarat – Player, Banker or Tie

There are three betting options in baccarat – Banker bet, Player bet, and Tie bet.

As we’ve explained earlier, the Player hand and the Banker hand are the only two hands on the baccarat table, and you can wager on either of these getting a closer hand to 9.

The Banker bet has a house edge of 1.06% plus a 5% commission on winnings. This is a really low house edge, making it one of the best table games at online casinos. Casinos take the said commission because this is the most favourable bet for players.

The casino’s advantage on the Player bet is 1.24%, making it the second-best option. There’s no commission on your winnings here.

Each of these bets pays 1:1. With the commission on the Banker bet, the payout becomes 0.95: 1.

The Baccarat Tie Bet

The Tie bet is the third betting option available in this game. The game ends in a Tie if the Player and Banker have the same points.

The Tie bet is a poor betting option for several reasons:

  • There’s a very low possibility of a tie occurring
  • This bet has a high house edge of 14.4%
  • The payout rate of 8: 1 (or 9: 1 in some cases) is a lower reward compared to the risk (house edge)
  • Even if a tie occurs and you haven’t bet on it, your bet is a push (you get your stake back)

Side Bets in Baccarat

Baccarat has a range of side bets that may apply to certain tables. Side bets in baccarat are bonus bets that spice up the gameplay a bit, allowing you more ways to bet than the standard Player or Banker bets.

In baccarat, there are dozens of these kinds of bets. Below are the most common ones:

Either Pair

This is a wager that the first two cards dealt to either hand will be a pair, such as two 7s or two kings. This bet typically pays 5:1.

Perfect Pair

This is a bet on one of the hands, achieving a pair of the same suit. It pays out more than a standard pair bet, usually at 25:1.

Big and Small

A big bet is a bet that the total number of cards dealt to both the Player and the Banker will be 5 or 6. A small bet is a bet that the total number of cards dealt to both the Player and the Banker will be 4.

All Red/All Black

A bet that all cards dealt in a game round will be of a particular colour, either all red (hearts and diamonds) or all black (spades and clubs).

Unlucky 8

This is a wager that the Banker or Player will lose with a total of 8 points. The payout is 8: 1.

Dragon Bonus

This side bet can be made for either the Player or the Banker and pays out when the chosen side wins with a natural or wins by a margin of at least 4 points. The bigger the margin of victory, the larger the payout.

Royal Match

A bet that the initial two cards in either the Player or Banker hand is a King and Queen.

Super 6

A bet that the Banker hand will win with a score of 6. In variations of baccarat where this bet is available, a winning Banker bet usually pays 0.5:1 when the Banker wins with a score of 6. Betting on the Super 6 side bet will pay 12:1.

How to Win at Baccarat

Winning in baccarat is as easy as placing a bet at an online casino. The standard baccarat bets come with pretty low house edges, so it’s not a game designed to dry out your pockets. There are, however, several ways to approach the game to increase your chances of winning.

  • The Banker bet offers the highest winning possibilities, so it’s a great idea to stick to this bet.
  • The tie bet is an unprofitable betting option that you should avoid.
  • Side bets have some really massive rewards in terms of payouts. However, they are incredibly high risk as well. If you’re looking to win in the long run, it’s advisable to steer clear of side bets.
  • Take advantage of baccarat betting strategies.

If you don’t want to play baccarat for real money just yet, you can play free online baccarat games instead. They are available at the best IN online casinos, allowing you to enjoy this game at no cost. You can get in a bit of practice and build your confidence before placing real bets.

How to Play Baccarat FAQ

Can you beat the casino in baccarat?

Like most casino games, the house always wins in the long run. Although you can’t beat the casino, you can increase your chances of winning by betting smart. For instance, stick to the Banker bet, as this one wins most of the time.

Which is the best bet in baccarat?

The Banker bet is your best bet in baccarat, with a 1.06% house edge. Despite the 5% commission on winnings, this is your best chance of winning.

Can I play baccarat online for free?

Yes, you can play baccarat for free. Many top baccarat online casinos make this game available for real money or in free-play mode.

What is the Player hand in baccarat?

The Player hand is one of the two hands available in this game. It is one of the card hands dealt on the baccarat table and doesn’t refer to specific cards dealt to individual players like in blackjack. You can simply bet on the Player hand if you believe it’ll get the better total. Otherwise, go for Bank.