A game of baccarat can have several bettors, but the gameplay boils down to one player and the dealer. The player and the dealer each receives a hand containing two cards, and the objective in baccarat is to have the hand closest to nine.
To win real money in online baccarat though, participants must bet on one of three possible outcomes: the player winning, the dealer winning, or a tie. The dealer does most of the work in the game, leaving players to focus on their baccarat strategy.
The following steps show how to play baccarat both in land-based casinos and online casinos:
The dealer calls for all bets to be placed on the baccarat table.
Participants bet on whether the dealer or player will have the hand closest to nine, or if they will tie. Once chips are placed on the table, they shouldn't be moved.
After bets are made, the cards are dealt.
The dealer and the player each receive a hand containing two cards (known as a coup).
The player makes a bet.
Following the initial deal, the player bets on whether their hand or the dealer's is closer to nine, or if they will tie.
Both sides reveal their hands.
If either hand totals eight or nine, it is called a 'natural' and is declared the winner. Learn more about card values below.
A third card is potentially drawn.
If neither hand totals eight or nine, the player and banker can draw a third card if certain conditions are in place.
The player draws a third card if their opening hand is less than six.
If the player's initial hand totals six or seven, they cannot draw another card.
When the player must stand, the dealer can potentially take a third card.
Like the player, the dealer can only draw a third card if their hand total is less than six.
If the player does take a third card, the dealer must follow different rules depending on the value of the card drawn.
- If the player drew a two or three, the dealer draws with 0–4, and stands with 5–7.
- If the player drew a four or five, the dealer draws with 0–5, and stands with 6–7.
- If the player drew a six or seven, the dealer draws with 0–6, and stands with 7.
- If the player drew an eight, the dealer draws with 0–2, and stands with 3–7.
- If the player drew an ace, 9, 10, or face-card, the dealer draws with 0–3, and stands with 4–7.
The dealer announces the winner and distributes any money.
Bets for either the banker or player winning pay out at 1:1, but the banker bet includes a 5% commission. Tie bets pay out at 8:1.
The third card rules can be tricky for new players to follow. The charts below will help you automatically know when the banker must stand or draw a card.
Baccarat Third Card Rule Chart
|If the Player Draws a…||The Banker Must…|
|Draw on:||Stand on:|
|2 or 3||0-4||5-7|
|4 or 5||0-5||6 or 7|
|6 or 7||0-6||7|
|Ace, 9, 10, or a Face Card||0-3||4-7|
Baccarat Drawing Rules
|Banker's Score||Player's Third Card|
In baccarat, the maximum total a hand can reach is nine. If the sum of the cards exceeds this, then players must either subtract ten from their total or drop the first numeral from the total. The dealer must follow this rule too.
If a hand contained a seven and eight card that makes 15. The player can either subtract 10 from 15 or drop the one in 15 to get their new total. Either method provides the same result, so players should choose the option they find easiest.
If the banker and player have the same sum on their cards, this is called a tie. Unless a tie bet has been made, both player bets and banker bets become a push and are returned.
The baccarat tables are one of the most exciting areas in any casino but do require players to follow some simple rules. Most revolve around etiquette and card dealing and are easy to learn, meaning players can quickly join in the fun of any baccarat game.
Superstition plays a big role around the baccarat table, and as a result the number 13 is sometimes omitted from the table. Likewise, in Asian countries the number four (commonly associated with death) is often excluded from the baccarat table as well. In these cases, the number 15 will replace the others.
Sometimes a dealer will invite a player to sit at the table while a game is in session. Baccarat etiquette dictates you can watch the game but should wait until the session is finished before joining.
Players will sit at a specific number around the baccarat table, which contains an area to place chips on player, dealer, or tie bets. Once chips are added to the table, players should not touch them until the round is over.
The dealer will go around the table, starting with the lowest number first or the player that made the highest wager, depending on the type of baccarat game being played. The first and third cards are dealt to the player, and the second and fourth to the dealer. Casinos typically use between six and eight decks of cards at baccarat tables, and all cards are stored in a box called a shoe. Some baccarat tables allow players to touch the cards, but most lay them on the table. Check what the rules are with the dealer before the game starts.
Depending on the size of the casino and level of activity, the layout of baccarat tables can differ. While the gameplay remains identical between the variations, players will find the main differences are in bet limits and number of participants. Here are some of the most common baccarat tables casinos offer:
Most commonly found in casinos in Asia, mini baccarat has grown in popularity due to its low bets. Minimum bets start from $5 and typically reach $25, while maximum bets hover around $5,000. A mini baccarat table has space for six or seven players, and the dealer sits in the center. Because there are fewer players and only the dealer handles the cards, mini baccarat games are more fast paced than other baccarat tables.
As the name suggests, a midi baccarat table sits between the mini and big baccarat tables. Sometimes found in online casinos and high stakes areas in land-based casinos, a midi baccarat table can accommodate up to nine players. Betting limits usually range from $25 for a minimum bet and $10,000 for a maximum bet. Players can handle the cards at midi baccarat tables but bending or crushing cards is prohibited.
Full Size Baccarat
Also called 'Big Baccarat', a full-size baccarat table will always have space for up to 14 players. These tables are for high rollers (bets typically range between $50 and $100,000) and casinos will usually position these off the main casino floor. A full-size baccarat table usually has two dealers and a caller. The two dealers manage their half of the baccarat table, handling bets and keeping track of banker bet commissions. The caller sits in the center of the baccarat table and distributes cards and announces winning hands.
Online baccarat tables feature a much simpler design since users are usually playing by themselves. There's one space, and a player simply clicks the chip value they wish to stake, and on which bet they want to wager on the screen. Players can check for bet limits in the game rules tab anytime in the game.
In traditional baccarat games players used to take turns dealing cards. These days though, casinos are keen to remove any opportunities for players to cheat and the dealer or caller usually handles the deck instead. When players can handle the cards, the caller will sometimes present them on a wooden paddle or pallet.
Players will also find a baccarat score sheet at all tables. These range from simple tracking sheets to record wins, losses, and ties, to complex grids to record frequency of winning hands for players and dealers. Some players argue these are essential for baccarat strategies, and the most common type found is a bead plate. This baccarat track sheet begins in the top left corner and works its way down the rows. Once the first column is filled out, it will start at the top of the next column.
Now that you know how to play baccarat online and in a land-based casino, it's time to discuss baccarat bets. Casual baccarat players can still enjoy the game using the standard banker, player and tie bets; yet the array of side bets baccarat offers gives players greater excitement in the game and potentially more ways to win big money.
Part of baccarat's appeal is the simplicity of its bets. Compared to other casino games, baccarat has a low house edge and a small difference in advantage between the player and dealer. Using the three common bets below, even inexperienced players can potentially win real money in baccarat.
Common Bets in Baccarat
With the three bets below, players can join any baccarat game online or in a land-based casino. With any baccarat bet, players should compare the payout and house edge to determine whether a wager is worth their bankroll.
As you can see, the banker bet has a lower house edge and greater chance of landing than the player bet, which explains the 5% commission casinos add. With less than 10% chance of a tie bet landing and a whopping 14.36% house edge, tie bets are one of the worst a player can make in baccarat.
Side Bets in Baccarat
Side bets offer some of the best and worst payouts in baccarat. In addition to the usual options, casinos will sometimes create unique side bets for their own baccarat tables. These usually offer big payouts but include low odds of landing or a high house edge. Like common baccarat bets, players should check the payouts and house edge of each wager, and whether their bankroll can take the risk.
To help players navigate side bets, we've listed the most popular wagers players can make in any casino worldwide:
|Margin of Winning||Payout|
|3 points or fewer||Bet lost|
|Combined Card Value||Payout|
Baccarat Card Values
Since you already know the maximum value a baccarat hand can have is nine, you're probably wondering what to do with those ten, ace, and face cards. Unlike other casino card games, in baccarat face cards have little-to-no value. An ace is worth one point, and 10, jack, queen, and king cards are worth zero. All other cards are worth their face value.
Baccarat Card Values
How to Win at Baccarat
Like other casino table games baccarat is a game of chance and can share similar strategies, such as martingale, with games like real money roulette. Baccarat games still have an element of logic though, with set rules and cards which players can use to their advantage. With these two approaches combined, players have a unique array of betting strategies available to help them win at baccarat.
Players can't control much of the gameplay in baccarat, but they can control their bets and their approach. Using their score cards, players can track potential patterns occurring in the baccarat shoe and make logical bets based on this information. Learn how you can apply these tactics in your games below.
Most baccarat strategies can be divided between two systems: betting systems and pattern systems. Baccarat betting systems focus on maximizing wins and minimizing losses, particularly during losing streaks. Pattern systems prioritize anticipating the order of cards in the baccarat shoe. Take a look at the following top baccarat strategies to find one that suits your gameplay style.
Baccarat Pattern Systems
New players to baccarat make the mistake of solely betting on the banker. While the banker bet is statistically more likely to win, the difference between the banker or player winning is minimal, particularly when eight decks of cards are in play. With so many cards shuffled into the shoe, there's potential for bettors to hit on a banker or player winning streak.
Baccarat pattern systems generally follow two schools of thought. One, that players and bankers win alternately, creating a 'zigzag' pattern. The second, that players and bankers take turns having winning streaks. The reality is both patterns occur alternately in baccarat; the key to winning is knowing when to change your bets.
With this pattern system, players can use any banker or player streaks to their advantage. This strategy is so simple even beginner players can try it: wait until a new shoe begins, and then bet solely on the banker or player. Bet the same amount on the same person each time. That's it. If you lose three times in a row stop betting and wait for your streak to come around again. Using the example below, let's say you decide to bet $1 on the player every time:
In the first 14 rounds of this baccarat game, you've lost $6 when the banker won, but flat betting on player win streaks has won you $8. This pattern strategy doesn't guarantee any big wins but compared to betting systems it keeps players' bankrolls lasting for longer. When betting on the banker, just remember to account for the 5% commission.
This strategy combines flat betting with the two pattern trends mentioned above. Start the strategy with flat betting and filling out results in your baccarat score board sheet. By the third column, you should have an idea of which pattern to bet on. If it's the zigzag pattern, make alternate bets on the banker and player hands. If it's the streak pattern, keep betting on one side until the streak turns.
If you lose two games in a row following one pattern, simply swap to betting on the other. Like flat betting, this baccarat strategy is easy to implement. However, players may find themselves chasing losing streaks with this baccarat strategy, so remember to have a win or loss threshold in place.
Advanced players commonly use this strategy to reduce the house edge in baccarat. The idea behind this pattern system is that shoes will zigzag between banker and player wins, with double win streaks appearing for both. When a double streak occurs, it signals to players to double down on their bets on the opposite hand winning the next game.
Sometimes winning streaks of three or more can appear in clusters. When that happens, this strategy dictates players should exit the game and wait for the double win streak to appear again before re-entering the game. With so much tactical watching and betting some players may find this baccarat strategy boring to implement, but others may welcome its restrained approach.
Baccarat Betting Systems
Baccarat betting strategies can be broken down into two approaches: positive progression systems and negative progression systems. Players increase their bet size after each win and reduce it after a loss with positive progressive strategies. Negative systems take the exact opposite approach. Positive progression strategies are considered less damaging to bankrolls because they don't encourage players to chase losing streaks.
Either way both approaches require players have a sizeable bankroll to see any results, and it's easy for wagers to spiral out of control with these theories. Players take note, the adage 'only bet what you can afford to lose' is particularly relevant for these baccarat strategies:
Players may recognize this negative progression strategy from roulette and craps. The Martingale strategy states bettors should wager the same amount when they win and double their bet size when they lose. This sounds counter-productive, but the theory behind Martingale is that when a player eventually hits a win, it will more than cover for any previous losses.
This strategy can work in slower-paced baccarat games, but in online baccarat players may well find themselves hitting the maximum bet limit in less than an hour.
Beginner players love this baccarat strategy for its simplicity. Decide on a base amount to wager – the lower it is, the longer your bankroll lasts. When a baccarat game begins, start flat betting. When you win, double the amount you wager each time. As soon as you lose, return to betting the original amount you staked. The idea behind Paroli is if a player successfully doubles their bet on three consecutive wagers, they increase their wins seven times. This baccarat betting strategy won't win players any huge jackpots, but it won't encourage them to make huge losses, either. Let's look at the strategy in action, using a $1 wager again as our base amount:
In total, the player won $9 but they also lost $9. To have any success with the Paroli strategy, we recommend tracking wins on a baccarat score board sheet to recognize when your lucky winning streak may be running out.
Like the Paroli system, the 1-3-2-6 strategy sees players increase their base wager when they win and go back to the original amount when they win. Let's say you wager $5 on the first hand and win – that's $10. You take that $10 and add your original wager of $5 to the second round, making it triple what you bet at the start of the game. If you win that game, you now have $30 ($15 your bet and $15 in winnings). For the third round you only bet two units, which makes $10. If you win, your total pot is now $40. In the fourth round you bet six times your original wager, $30, which means you potentially stand to win $60.
The theory behind the 1-3-2-6 system is that a player never bets more than two units from their bankroll. If the player loses any of the rounds, they start at the beginning. This helps players stretch their bankroll across more baccarat games and prevents them from making big bets on losing streaks.
A reinvention of the 1-3-2-6 strategy, the 1-3-2-4 system follows the same approach, but reduces the final bet by two units. By doing this, the 1-3-2-4 system potentially reduces the amount a player can lose – but it also means it can reduce how much they win, too.
Different Baccarat Games
Baccarat originated in French royal courts in the 1400s, and over the past 600 years players have created several variations of the casino game. Today casinos worldwide offer the most popular forms to players. Here are some of the most common baccarat games players can find:
Also known as baccarat à deux tableaux, this variation is sometimes found in land-based casinos in Europe. The role of banker is auctioned off to the player with the highest stake before the game begins. While the objective of reaching nine is the same in baccarat banque, the gameplay differs slightly. The banker is dealt one hand, the players two – one for each side of the table. Players cannot bet on the banker's hand; instead, they must choose which player hand they think will win.
This variation of baccarat originated from the collective hatred all players have of the 5% commission on winning banker hand bets. The objective in EZ baccarat is still reaching nine, but the game has extra rules to accommodate the removal of the 5% commission. All winning bank hand bets are paid even money, but if the banker's winning hand has three cards equalling a total of seven, the bet becomes a push. EZ baccarat also allows players to make two additional side bets: Dragon 7 and Panda 8. Players will find this fast-paced baccarat game in most online casinos.
Play Free Baccarat Games Online
Free online baccarat games give players the perfect opportunity to practice their skills. Without the pressure of playing for real money, new baccarat players can make mistakes risk-free and build their confidence until their ready to play real money games.
Experienced bettors can also use free baccarat games online to practice strategies and new bets. Try one of Online Gambling's free baccarat games, with no download or registration needed, below.
How do you beat baccarat?
To win at baccarat, players must correctly guess whether the banker's hand or the player's hand is closer to nine. Both sides start with two cards each in their hand, but another card can be drawn if the player's total is less than six.
Is there any strategy to baccarat?
Baccarat is largely a game of luck, but players can influence their betting by using baccarat strategies that incorporate pattern or betting systems. These strategies are designed to help players maximize on their bets by anticipating any card patterns in the baccarat shoe.
How do you read a baccarat board?
There are various baccarat boards available, but the most common is a beadplate. Players start in the top left corner of this baccarat score board and work their way down the column. In each cell they list whether the banker or player won that round. Once a player fills out all the rows in that column that move to the next column on the right and work their way from the top to the bottom.
Is baccarat a game of skill?
Baccarat is mostly luck, although players can influence the results somewhat by making smart bets. Given the dealer controls most of the gameplay and players cannot choose which cards they play, there are limited opportunities in baccarat for players to influence outcomes using skill.
What is the best bet in baccarat?
The banker bet wins most often, with a probability of 45.87%. However all winning banker bets incur a 5% commission, so players should take this into account when betting in baccarat.
What are the odds of winning at baccarat?
Players must correctly guess which hand is closest to nine to win at baccarat. If you include tie bets, the banker wins at baccarat 45.87% of the time, and the player 44.63%. The odds of the player and banker winning is 9.51%.
How do you cheat on baccarat?
Past posting, when players add chips to their bet after winning a hand, is a simple cheat in baccarat. However, this cheat requires players have a good sleight of hand, and that the table is busy enough to distract the banker and other players. Players should not try this cheat, as casinos have cameras and staff on hand to monitor any cheating at their tables.
Do casinos cheat in baccarat?
Casinos are not known to cheat the baccarat tables; these usually offer high- or no-limits bets for their high roller players, which they wouldn't want to lose. Given the stakes at these tables can hit the thousands or millions though, it's not surprising some players question whether casinos cheat the baccarat tables at times.
Can you win real money playing baccarat?
Yes, players can win real money playing baccarat at online casinos and land-based casinos. Baccarat has a low house edge, and almost even odds between the player and the banker, making it one of the best casino games to play for real money.
How do you deal baccarat?
In baccarat, both the banker and player have two cards per hand. The banker will deal the first and third card to the player, and then the second and fourth cards to themselves. Once the cards are turned, the player can ask the banker to deal a third card if the sum of the player's hand is less than six.
How do you play Dragon in baccarat?
In baccarat, players can make a Dragon Bonus bet that offers sizeable returns on a hand winning by a certain margin. Players make this bet before the game starts by adding their chips to the marked area on the baccarat table. The biggest payout, 30:1, occurs if the non-natural hand wins by a margin of nine points. Natural hands pay out even money in the Dragon Bonus bet.