How to Play Baccarat?
Along with roulette and blackjack, baccarat is a part of the unbreakable trio of the most popular table games. Baccarat is relatively easy to play, making it an excellent choice for new players and casino veterans alike. You don't have to be a master of casino games to try your luck, as most actions are performed automatically by the live dealer. However, if you really want to maximize your chances of winning each game and play like a real pro, there is no doubt that you need to learn and understand the game. With this article, you will learn how to play baccarat in no time. Read on!
In this article, you'll learn
- Baccarat Rules
- Card Values
- Tips and Tricks
Baccarat may seem very confusing at first, but overall it is one of the easiest games found in online casinos. The objective of the game is to predict which hand will have a value closest to nine. There are no game decisions required from the player in live baccarat because all outcomes are determined automatically. At the beginning of each round, players can wager on one of three outcomes:
- Player — betting that the Player’s hand will win.
- Banker — betting that the Banker’s hand will win.
- Tie — a bet that both hands will have the same value.
Players can also choose to place their chips on optional side bets, such as the P Pair and the B Pair bets. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the name of the hand, Player or Banker, does not correspond to you, the player, and the house. Players can wager on either hand for a chance to win a payout, the only difference is that 5% commission is taken from wagers on the Banker’s hand. In fact, wagering on the Banker can be strategically advantageous, as it carries a house edge of 1.06% compared to the Player house edge of 1.24%.
Live baccarat is usually played with eight 52-card decks. The game presenter will begin the round by dealing two cards to each of the two hands, and the hand with a value of nine or closest to it will win the round. If both hands have the same point value, Tie bets are paid out and the Player and Banker bets push (return to the player).
Baccarat Card Values
- Cards two through nine take their face value.
- Aces are worth one point.
- Kings, queens, jacks and 10s are all worth zero points.
Note that the final values must be between zero and nine. When the total value reaches 10 or more, the tens digit is dropped, and only the remainder is in play. For example, if a hand consists of two nines (a total of 18 points), the hand will be valued at eight (18-10=8).
If the Player or Banker is dealt a hand of eight or nine with the first two cards, it is called a ‘natural’, and no additional cards will be dealt. If the Player or Banker receive a hand of zero to seven points, then the Third Card Rule is consulted to determine whether another card will be dealt. The player will always go first.
Player Third Card Rule
- If the sum of the Player’s first two cards is between zero and five, then a third card will be dealt.
- If the sum of the Player’s first two cards is six or seven, the Player stands.
- If the Player has a natural (eight or nine), no additional cards will be dealt.
Banker Third Card Rule
Whether or not the Banker receives a third card depends on the Banker’s first two cards' point value and the Player’s third card, if one was dealt.
- If the Banker’s hand totals to zero, one or two, a third card is dealt regardless of the Player’s third card.
- When the Banker has three points, the Banker receives a third card unless the Player’s third card is an eight.
- When the Banker has four points, a third card is dealt unless the Player’s third card is zero, one, eight or nine.
- At five points, the Banker receives another card unless the Player’s third card is zero, one, two, three, eight or nine.
- At six points, the Banker receives another card only if the Player’s third card is six or seven.
- If the sum of the Banker’s first two cards is seven, eight or nine, then the Banker stands.
After all cards have been dealt according to the rules above, the round will conclude and the hand with a value closes to nine wins.
How Are Bets Paid?
In total, there are three main bets that players can place in live baccarat:
- Player — is an even-money bet, with a payout of 1:1. The probability of a Player win is 44.62%.
- Banker — will pay 0.95:1, to account for the 5% house commission. The probability of a Banker win is 45.85%. Without factoring in the Tie, the odds of a Banker win jump to 51%.
- Tie — if the two hands tie, players who wagered on Tie will enjoy a payout of 8:1. The probability of hitting a Tie is only 9.53%, bringing the house edge up to 14.36%. For this reason, it is always advisable to avoid betting on a Tie, since the house advantage increases considerably.
In addition to the three main bets, live baccarat tables may feature optional side bets for a chance at greater payouts. Here are the most common baccarat side bets and their respective payouts:
- P Pair — Pays 11:1 if the Player’s first two cards are a pair.
- B Pair — Pays 11:1 if the Banker’s first two cards are a pair.
- Perfect Pair — Pays 25:1 if two identical cards (suit and value) are dealt to either the Player or the Banker. Pays 200:1 if two identical cards are dealt to both the Player and the Banker.
- Either Pair — Will pay 5:1 if either of the two hands has a pair.
- P Bonus and B Bonus — These two bets depend on whether the hand is a natural or not and by how many points a non-natural hand wins. NN=non-natural, N=natural, NT=natural tie, the number designates the number of points by which the player won. NN9 (30:1), NN8 (10:1), NN7 (6:1), NN6 (4:1), NN5 (2:1), NN4 (1:1), N (1:1), NT (push).
Several baccarat variants are now offered at physical casinos, as well as on online gambling platforms. The most popular baccarat variants are:
- Lightning Baccarat — In Lightning Baccarat, a 20% fee is applies to every wager placed. After betting closes, a Lightning round will occur where one to five random cards will be selected and assigned a multiplier of 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x or 8x. If your wager wins and the one or more of the cards are among the Lightning cards, then your payout will be multiplied by the corresponding multiplier.
- Baccarat Squeeze — The only difference in Baccarat Squeeze is how fast the live dealer will reveal the cards, depending on the wagers placed. The hand with the lesser total wagers will be revealed quickly, and the second hand will be squeezed. If total wagers are equal or the highest wager total is on Tie, then the dealer will quickly reveal the Player’s hand and will squeeze the Banker’s second card, as well as any additional cards dealt to both hands.
- First Person Baccarat — First Person Baccarat can be enjoyed without a live dealer, where players are pitted against the RNG algorithm. First Person Baccarat offers the three main bets in addition to six optional side bets: P Pair/B Pair, Perfect Pair, Either Pair and P Bonus/B Bonus.
- Baccarat No Commission — Unlike most baccarat tables, Baccarat No Commission will not deduct a 5% commission from every Banker wager. Instead, wagers on Banker will pay 1:1 unless the Banker’s hand wins with six. In this case, Banker bets will pay only 0.50:1.
Baccarat Tips and Tricks
There are several practical tips that you can use to help you make responsible gambling decisions and take your baccarat gameplay to the next level.
- Master the rules — It is a reminder that may seem superfluous, but it is very important if you really want to improve your chances of winning in baccarat. Baccarat is a simple game but tends to create a lot of confusion around the difference between the bets. Many players assume that, as a player, they must wager exclusively on the Player’s hand to get the most of the game. That is not always the case, so make sure to familiarise yourself with the game’s rules before playing!
- Choose the right variant — Baccarat is now available in several variants. Each of these variants has specific rules, some of which significantly impact the probability of winning and the house advantage. Take these parameters into consideration to choose the most advantageous variant for you.
- Bet on the Banker — Betting on the Banker's hand offers the greatest statistical advantage. A common baccarat strategy involves placing more of your wager on the Banker; however, keep in mind that most baccarat tables charge a 5% commission on Banker bets.
- Avoid betting on Tie — Unlike bets on the Banker's hand, tie bets are the least likely to hit (side bets aside). The house edge on a Tie is significantly higher, so it’s best to avoid this wager (especially if you are new to baccarat).
- Manage your bankroll — As with all games of chance, bankroll management plays an essential role in your baccarat gameplay's success. In short, it's all about setting limits before you start playing and sticking to them. Losses are inevitable; thus, you must establish your bankroll and stop playing when your entertainment budget is drained. Never mix personal finances with online gambling and make sure to always make responsible gambling decisions.
Before you dive in and place your first wager on baccarat, we recommend trying out the game in a free-to-play demo version. This game mode is available to registered EnergyCasino users and allows you to practice playing baccarat entirely for free. All wagers and winnings are virtual, making demos the perfect playground for new players and those interested in perfecting their baccarat strategy. When you’re ready to advance to live gameplay, head to our Live Casino to explore our portfolio of premium baccarat tables from Evolution and LiveG24. See you there!