Last Updated on 09/27/2022
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa
Here at TheGruelingTruth.com, we’ve spent years honing our table game skills. This has enabled us to break down the rules for baccarat into simple steps, as well as providing you with top strategy tips.
In this game, players wager on which hand (player or bank) will have an outcome closest to nine. As baccarat is a game of rules rather than pure luck, it’s possible to improve your chances of winning with a little learning. And as it generally offers a good house edge, the game is extremely popular across the US.
Casino table games have an enduring and timeless glamor. But if you’ve ever watched a Bond film and been flummoxed by the roulette game rules, or rules for blackjack, or baccarat, you’re not alone. Learning how to win online slots has much to do with choosing a game with high RTP, and, let’s face it, luck. Table games rely a little more on patterns and predictions. And although this is still a game of chance, learning the rules for baccarat is vital for play.
The game is believed to have its origins as far back as the 15th century and to have been created by a guy named Felix Falguiere. Back then it used four different dealers, with players wagering against each other as well as the house. As the table game spread and was popularized across the globe, it arrived in American casinos (first, Las Vegas) in the 1950s. From the mid-twentieth century, baccarat took on a new level of fame as the early game of choice for fictional movie spy, James Bond, who played it in seven of the franchise’s blockbusters.
So what are the rules of baccarat in 2022, and how can you improve your chances of making decent money playing it?
If you want to find out how to win at baccarat, you’ll need a strategy and understand the baccarat game rules. And you’re in the right place with TheGruelingTruth.com.
The baccarat table seats between seven and 14 players, depending on the size of the casino and version in play (rules for baccarat can vary slightly). But there will only be two hands and two or three cards dealt in each round: the player’s and the banker’s. A round of play is described as a coup in the game.
Each player has three betting boxes: player, banker and tie, from which they choose. The banker isn’t the house exactly, it’s a term used to describe the other ‘player’ in the mix. Six to eight decks will be used during a game of baccarat. Bettors themselves aren’t dealt hands directly, rather they wager against the player and banker. There will therefore be any number of chips against the player and banker (or against a tie) on any given round of play.
This is where your game begins… Bettors start by putting money either on the player, the banker or a tie. Once all bettors have wagered, the dealer will place a card face up in both the banker and player’s boxes on the baccarat table. A second card will then be dealt, first to the banker and then to the player. At this point the total for each of their hands will be announced. The aim of the game is to receive a sum of 9.
Understanding what each card represents in terms of value is of course vital when learning the rules for baccarat, as this determines the outcome.
Cards carry the following values in this game:
Baccarat was actually named after the face cards’ value – meaning zero in an ancient Italian language, Etruscan. Numbers are at the center of the rules – baccarat relies on a little basic math. But it’s nothing too taxing, so you shouldn’t need a calculator to keep track.
As two cards are dealt first, let’s say that the banker receives a 6 and a King. This equates to a total of 6. Then, if the player is dealt a 10 and an Ace, their total would be 1 and the banker would win the hand as theirs was closest to 9. If the banker were to be dealt a 3 and a 4, with the player receiving a 7 and a face card (Jack, King, or Queen), it would result in a tie.
The caveat to these rules for baccarat is that any score adding up to a number greater than ten drops the first digit. This means a 9 plus an 8 (17) would be counted as a 7. 9 is counted as the highest possible score in the game as only single digits are valid.
So if the player receives a 9 and a 2, and the banker receives a 5 and a Queen, the banker wins. Although the player’s total was actually closer to 9, their hand (11) would actually be counted as 1, which is less than the banker’s 5.
If during this first hand an 8 or 9 is drawn, this is declared a ‘natural’ and the game ends with bets cashed out. But most of the time this doesn’t happen on the first coup. Therefore the following rule for baccarat will apply…
Where the player or banker has drawn a 6 or 7, they ‘stay’. 0 to 5 and they draw a third card, unless the opponent had a natural on the first draw. From the third card onwards, strategy comes into play. The first hand is purely luck as bettors have no way of accurately guessing which cards might be drawn at that stage.
What happens next will depend on what the player draws as their third card.
When the banker’s hand adds up to 7 with a third card, this is called a ‘push’ and the bank hand neither wins or loses.
The third card is the final. After this, scores are added and bets are paid out, before the next coup.
So now you can employ your how to win baccarat strategy at one of our recommended online casinos!
Most casino’s rules for baccarat attribute a percentage payout for bets placed on the banker (around 95% is usual in the US) and double your money for bets placed on the player. The reason one payout is larger than the other is that the banker bet includes a casino commission.
The minimum bet allowed will be stipulated by an individual brand, but around $25 is the kind of ballpark figure you can expect. Those who are new to the game are well-advised to keep bets low at first (unless of course, you have plenty of cash to splash).
Banker, player, and tie each have a house edge attributed to them, the banker being the lowest and tie being the highest. This helps to inform bettors’ decisions when wagering on an option. In a standard game these house edges will be:
While the tie may be the most lucrative bet, it’s also the most elusive – high risk equals high reward.
As with any popular game, alternative versions have been developed. One of the most popular is EZ Baccarat, in which the banker commission is removed. The other major difference in the rules for this baccarat variation is the option of two side bets, Dragon 7 and Panda 8. Gamble on a Dragon 7 in addition to your main bet and you’ll receive a hefty payout if the banker receives a score of 7 on the third draw. Or gamble on the player receiving an 8 to win a Panda 8 bet. Side bets are effectively the wagering equivalent of multi-tasking, upping the ante on your level of risk and profit.
You may also see the game advertised as Punto Banco (meaning player/banker), chemmy, and baccarat Banque, but be assured that the main rules for baccarat are the same whichever of these names are used.
If playing online, you may find a smaller table seating 8 is used. This is classed as mini-baccarat. The game is big in Macau and the Chinese region has its own rules for baccarat, which include players, as well as dealers, handling cards.
While land-based casinos in different countries will offer options commonly associated with that territory, the rules for baccarat in online casinos tend to be standardized. If you chose a US casino, you’ll most likely play the American version as we’ve described.
The rules for baccarat’s first coup are super simple and make the game perfect for a new player. While things get a little more complicated from the third card onwards, once you’ve spent some time at the table, you’ll soon get into the swing of possible outcomes. And you can always keep a note of the rules for baccarat at your side if playing from behind a screen (no-one need ever know!). With relatively good odds it’s no wonder it’s such a popular game online and in land-based casinos across the United States. As such, you’ll find a wide range of choice across digital gambling platforms, with both live dealer video link and virtual versions offered.
The poker rules and hands are not the same as the rules of baccarat, so if you’re already familiar with one, you’ll need to learn how to play the other. Although an existing familiarity with casino card games will of course help when learning the ropes of either – the more experience you have, the better.
Some professional gamblers quit their jobs to become full-time gamblers, playing table games like roulette and blackjack. The amount of cash you could potentially make from this game will depend on various factors, including whether you’ve fully understood the rules for baccarat. You can also check out our online roulette guide for more info on another casino favorite game!
While there are set rules for baccarat, when it comes to wagering dollars and cents, each casino will have its own minimum and maximum thresholds. So you’ll need to check out our online casino guides or refer to the website of the brand you’re using, to find out how little you can wager on a given table game.
The house edge and odds on each game will determine the payouts, as will the amount you’ve chosen to wager. First, find a good online US casino, then check out their individual listings for house edge and odds.
Before working out your strategy, you’ll need to fully understand the rules for baccarat, so you understand how the game works inside and out. You can then choose a strategy based on probable outcomes.