Baccarat (pronounced bah-cah-rah) is a highly entertaining casino game that is beloved worldwide, from the high stakes rooms of the Monte Carlo and the gambling halls of Las Vegas to playing at home at your favorite online casino or on the go with your mobile device. Baccarat has been popular for centuries among all classes, and has even appeared on the silver screen in the famous James Bond film and book series. However, before you decide to get in the game and indulge in your own high roller fantasies, we recommend you check out Planet 7 Online Casino’s Super easy Complete Baccarat Guide.
This handy manual will teach you everything you need to know about a game that offers thrills at the flip of each card. If you are a beginner, it will teach you how to play Baccarat, or if you simply wish to become better at the game, you can follow its useful strategies and betting tips. Baccarat offers many angles for even the most experienced of gamblers to tackle. No need to be intimidated however, this guide is concise and has an easy-to-follow format; it functions as the perfect instructional for players of all levels. The Easy Baccarat Guide covers everything from Baccarat rules to the game’s unique history and advanced tips, and even wows with some exciting Baccarat trivia. So join us to learn more about the exciting world of Baccarat!
1. A brief history of Baccarat
The game of Baccarat is one of the most well known casino games in existence today, but its exact origins are difficult to trace. Many historians disagree on where it first started, and variations of the game have been popular since the 19th century. Some sources claim that the game was invented in Italy some 500 years ago based on an Etruscan legend known as “nine gods”. It tells of a virgin whose fate was determined by the throw of a nine-sided die. If she threw an eight or nine, her status would be elevated to priestess, but throwing lower than six would banish her to the sea. These same sources claim that French soldiers adopted the game from Italy after returning from the Franco-Italian War during the reign of King Charles VIII in the late 15th century. Whatever the reality is, there is little doubt of the game’s immense popularity today.
By the 1800s, Baccarat as we know it was popular throughout much of Europe. It was a game for the aristocracy, and enjoyed among French royalty. There is even a town in France called Baccarat, famous for its crystal and glass making, which was first funded by King Louis XV in 1764. The word Baccarat comes from the Italian “baccara”, and refers to the number zero.
The French developed a version called Chemin de fer, named after the new railroad system popular at the time. In England, Baccarat became Punto Banco, and interestingly enough, it was this version of the game that would make its way to the Americas before the turn of the 20th century. After its introduction to Las Vegas in 1959, the game went through a shaky rise and fall in popularity in the U.S. It wasn’t until a more modest version of the game was developed that it managed to make waves among the casual gambling community.
Today, multiple varieties exist, yet all roughly follow the same set of basic Baccarat rules with minor differences.
2. Types of Baccarat Games
Whether played in land-based or online casinos, Baccarat is immensely popular. Before we discuss how to play Baccarat and its various betting strategies, let’s have a look at the most common versions of the game. If you’re impatient you can learn to start playing Baccarat online now to get the first-hand experience! If you’re keen to learn more, read on.
2.1. Punto Banco – This version of Baccarat literally translates to “player-banker”, and is the most common version found in casinos in America, Britain and in parts of Europe. Often simply referred to as Baccarat, in this version of the game the casino banks during rounds and plays hands based on standard rules using eight decks of cards in a shoe. Most online casinos utilize this version of the game.
2.2. Chemin de fer – This version of Baccarat is popular in many casinos throughout Europe, particularly in France. The key difference is that players play against one another instead of the dealer. The role of banker rotates in a counter-clockwise manner from player to player. Each player also has the option to draw or stand on five, unlike in Punto Banco (player must draw). Chemin de fer is typically seen as a more formal version of the game. It is played on a large table holding up to 14 players and includes gambling accessories such as the palette with which players are moved their cards and chips.
2.3. Baccarat en Banque – This version of Baccarat is popular mostly in Europe, and uses three decks of cards. The drawing rules for Baccarat en Banque vary from casino to casino, but are similar to Chemin de Fer. The key difference is that the role of the banker is designated to a single player before the start of each round instead of every player taking a turn as banker. Deux tableaux (two tables) is another name used for this version because of its table set up.
2.4. Three-card Baccarat – This version of Baccarat is most popular in casinos in Macau and Asia. A single 52-card deck is used. Both player and banker receive three cards per round with the highest possible hand being three face cards. Likewise, it follows the standard rules of Baccarat. If both the player and banker have a hand with the same number of points, the hand with more face cards wins. Otherwise, it is a tie.
2.5. Mini-Baccarat – This version of Baccarat follows the rules of Punto Banco, and follows every aspect with one exception: the use of a single croupier. Similar to blackjack, players do not touch the cards. The reason for its popularity in the United States is its low table limits and ease of play.
3. Baccarat table set-up
Baccarat is unusual for a casino table game because it can be played on two types of table. One is a conventional horseshoe design table that uses a single dealer or croupier who controls the game. This is common in provincial casinos that have opted to spread a more informal version of game. Top-tier casinos however, tend to go for a big, kidney-shaped table design, which uses up to three dealers. Players sit in armchairs and take turns dealing the cards themselves. This type of table uses numbers for the seats of the punters or players, which are also designated on the table.
Although American casinos do utilize the formal “full-pit” version of the game, its “cousin”, Mini-Baccarat has become most popular version. Large table Baccarat is seen as a more exclusive version of the game, popular among high rollers. It is not unusual to see maximum wagers up to $5,000 in full-table Baccarat. Some casinos allow for bets of $15,000 a hand or more. See diagrams 1 and 2 below.
4. How to Play Baccarat
Baccarat might seem like a complicated game, but it is without a doubt one of the best casino games for beginners due its ease of play and low house edge. Generally, it requires no skill as players simply bet on the outcome of two hands between the player and the dealer.
To play Baccarat, two two-card hands are dealt from a shoe. One hand is dealt to the dealer, known as the banker, and another is dealt to the player. The values of the two cards of each hand are added together, with the object of the game being to achieve a total as close to nine as possible.
Baccarat hand values:
- Tens and face cards = zero value
- Aces = value of one
- Cards two-nine = face value
There are only three possible outcomes for each round (or coup) in Baccarat: player wins, banker wins or tie, also known as égalité. When neither hand dealt to both player and banker has a value of eight or nine, a third card must be drawn (see rules below). If both the player and the banker end up with the same total, the round is determined a tie and neither hand wins.
The way to count the value of a hand in Baccarat is simple. According to the rules, the value of the two cards for each hand are added together. If the value of the first two cards dealt exceeds nine, 10 is subtracted from the total in order to determine the hand’s true value. Another way to accomplish this is simply by dropping the right integer.
For example, if a player is dealt a five and an eight, the mathematical value of the hand is 13, but by subtracting 10, the true value becomes three. If the dealer is dealt a six and a four, the mathematical value is 10, but by subtracting 10, the true value becomes zero. A hand value of nine is called a natural or le grande and is the highest possible hand in Baccarat. A hand value of eight is also called a natural or le petit, which is the second highest possible hand. The rules for the drawing of a third card depend on the tableau or Baccarat table rules.
4.1. Baccarat rules for drawing – tableau
It is impossible to “bust” or go-over the highest value. In Baccarat, no decisions are made by the player or the dealer for how cards are played. If a winning hand is not reached in the initial draw, the dealer must draw a third card for both hands based on the rules. The player hand is always dealt first.
Rules for drawing a third card:
|Player’s Hand||Third Card Draw Rules|
|6 or 7||Must Stand|
|8 or 9||“Natural” (both hands stand)|
|Banker’s Hand||Third Card Draw Rules|
|3-6||Depends on Player’s Third Card|
|8 or 9||“Natural” (both hands stand)|
The table above depicts that if the banker’s first two cards total 0, 1 or 2 a third card is drawn. If its two cards total seven it must stand. The only other possible totals are 3, 4, 5, or 6 and the decision to whether or not a third card is drawn is determined by the player’s third card.
The following table depicts the rules for when the banker must draw based on the player’s third card:
First Two Cards Total:
When Player’s Third Card Is:
When Player’s Third Card Is:
|8-9||NATURAL (Player cannot draw)|
Essentially, Baccarat is a guessing game, on which hand will win. This is why it is such a great game for beginners. The rules do not need to be memorized; either it is up to the dealer to control the cards, or a player need simply consult the tableau listed at each Baccarat table to understand the play progression.
Baccarat is the only table game in the casino where you need no special knowledge of the game in order to take advantage of its low casino odds. You can sit next to a Baccarat player who has been playing for 30 years, and have the same advantage to win even if you are a total beginner.
5. How to bet in Baccarat and Baccarat odds
Baccarat has two of the lowest house edges you’ll find among any of the games in a casino, which is what makes it a good game to play. It is also unique because the player can choose to bet on the dealer’s hand despite the hands in front of them. Below are the odds for the three Baccarat bets.
- Banker bet: This bet pays even money at 1:1. The house edge on the banker bet is 1.06%, but the player must pay a 5% commission to the dealer on each winning bet. This might seem unappealing to some players, but the banker bet actually has a good statistical advantage to win.
- Player bet: This bet also pays out even money at 1:1. The house edge on the player bet is 1.24% (this essentially has the same odds as the banker bet because of the commission paid to the dealer).
- Tie bet (égalité): The house edge on the tie bet is 14.36%. This bet has one of the highest house edges in the casino, and we do not recommend it, despite the potential high payout. This bet usually pays out at 8:1, however for some casinos it is 9:1, in which case the house edge drops down 4.85%. In the case of a tie, without a tie bet placed, this is a “push” and the player may collect their initial wager or must leave it on the table as per the rules of the table.
6. Baccarat bankroll tips
Although the game of Baccarat is simple to understand, utilizing the proper bankroll tips and betting strategy will maximize your time at the table to earn consistent wins. Here is a comprehensive list of the best bankroll tips for Baccarat.
6.1. The truth about patterns
Many Baccarat tables keep track of the outcome of each round. By tracking previous round outcomes for wins on banker, player or tie, some gamblers believe that they can spot hot or cold streaks within the game and that these can influence the outcomes of future rounds.
However, this strategy is insubstantial at best. The outcome of each game is in theory the same as determining the result of a coin toss. Each result is a separate event, so it is near impossible to predict future results based on prior events for a standard game of Baccarat, at least one that uses an eight-deck shoe. The truth is that you should not place trust in superstition or believe that pattern tracking will help you gain any sort of advantage, because the odds nevertheless remain unchanged.
6.2. Bet on banker
When sitting down at the Baccarat table, you might ask yourself, “Which bet is better to make, banker or player?” Since all wins for betting on the banker is taxed a 5% commission by the casino, it might seem like a poor option for the new gamblers. Statistically, however, the banker bet is by a fraction of a percentage a safer bet to make despite the modest commission. The banker bet has a lower house edge, and therefore the statistical payout is significant given a longer period. Over time, the banker bet will typically win 50.68% of the time versus 49.32% on the player bet. Although it might not seem like a lot, this fraction translates to a larger percentage of gain over the long term.
6.3. Skip the tie bet (usually)
Those that have played Baccarat with regularity will surely tell you that the tie bet is one of the worst that any player can make in a casino. For casinos that utilize the 8:1 payout, the tie wager might seem tempting, but the house edge for that bet is a whopping 14.36%, which is worse than some slot machines!
On average, this means that you have roughly a 9% chance of pulling it off successfully. We will not argue that the payout is lucrative, which is precisely what makes it so appealing. Unless you are psychic, we recommend that you stick to the banker/player bet. They offer a much lower house edge (some of the lowest in a casino). We should note, however, that if you are lucky enough to find a Baccarat table that pays 9:1 on the tie bet you should play on it. The house edge for a tie bet that pays out 9:1 is just under 5%; a decent bet to make.
6.4. Keep your plays brief (beginner)
This aspect of the game cannot be overemphasized, and it is one that can be overlooked by even the most seasoned gamblers. Baccarat players more often than not experience short winning streaks followed by a drop that can turn into big losses. The reason for this is that Baccarat is different from all other table games that you will find at any casino. For instance, games like Poker or Blackjack require a degree of skill that will ensure that a player remain in the game to not suffer insurmountable losses.
Baccarat, on the other hand, relies on predetermined rules, which neither player nor dealer can influence. In other words, the player requires no amount of skill. There are no long, lucrative upswings. Gambler should treat Baccarat more like a sprint than a marathon. If you catch a break, and perform well, you should cut loose when your chips are up. Greed will eventually come back to bite you if you don’t have a betting strategy. As mentioned before, Baccarat is a sort of coin toss. It’s not to say that no amount of strategy will help you, but the longer you remain in the game, the greater your chances of walking away from the table empty-handed. Switch between your banker and player bets or tables if you have to, but if you are a beginner, the smart play is to keep it short.
6.5. Know your tables
Most casinos will collect a 5% commission on their banker bets at the Baccarat tables. Although this is standard practice at the most popular casinos or online, do not assume that all casinos adhere to the 5% rule. There are instances of casino operators utilizing Baccarat tables that collect 10% or even as much as a 25% commission on wins for the banker bet. Furthermore, this fact might not be listed at the table on which you choose to play! It is always a good idea to go over the table and commission requirements for each Baccarat table that you visit. The same goes for the tie bet. There are some casinos that will only pay out seven or six to one on the tie bet.
6.6. Less is more
Punto Banco, the most popular form of Baccarat, utilizes eight standard decks of cards in a shoe during gameplay. Playing online is the exception to the rule, because all aspects of the game rely on computer software and the use of random number generators (RNGs). There are varieties of Baccarat that use less than eight decks in a shoe, and if you are able find a Punto Banco table that has this option, we recommend playing on it. Furthermore, if you have an affinity for numbers, you can forget what we said earlier about keeping your playtime short. Card counting is a legal technique that can be utilized. The most skilled players have been known to “break the bank” using a combination of techniques including card counting and edge sorting on tables that use only four to six decks of cards in a shoe. Perhaps the most famous case is that of Phil Ivey, a professional gambler who took the house for almost $20 million playing Baccarat at two of the world’s most renowned casinos, Crockfords and The Borgata.
6.7. Playing baccarat online vs. at land-based casinos
This is a question of personal preference, but by the time you finish reading this paragraph, we might just persuade you to switch to online casinos. Many people enjoy the experience of going to a traditional brick and mortar casino because of the atmosphere. There is a certain buzz on the casino floor, hot with gambling action; especially if it is at a prestigious establishment like Caesar’s Palace in Vegas or along the Cotai Strip in Macau. This is precisely why land-based casinos are so much fun to visit!
However, online casinos offer many things that land-based casinos do not. For instance, the privacy of your home is the number one reason people prefer to play online. Playing at your leisure for a chance to win real money without ever having to step foot out your front door is an enticing aspect of online gambling. And wouldn’t you know it, the best online casinos offer a great selection of some of the most popular casinos games that you can find at any land-based casino, including Baccarat. You can choose to play with a live dealer if you need some human interaction or at an online table game where you deal the cards. Some online casinos also offer virtual and augmented reality sync capabilities that allow you to hook up a VR headset to certain games that let you feel like you are in a real casino!
This and many other features of playing casino games online is what makes them so universally popular. The sky is the limit! Perhaps the number one thing that makes the best online casinos standout from classic casinos are bonuses and rewards programs. For instance, Planet 7 Online Casino offers spectacular weekly bonuses, free games, holiday promotions, VIP packages as well as the Player Rewards Club option for returning gamblers. Players can also choose to practice their Baccarat skills before they play for real money. How many casinos can you think of that will let you waltz in and start playing their games free, no questions asked? Planet 7 does. It’s the best way to improve your gambling technique and up confidence in your game. Start by choosing to play Baccarat today free at Planet 7 Online Casino. All you have to do is register for a free account, which takes a matter of minutes, make a secure deposit with the Cashier, and start playing to win real money on all your favorite online casino games, including Baccarat.
6.8. Manage your bankroll
Perhaps the most sensible and important aspect of being a successful gambler is to effectively manage your bankroll. It is the best way to ensure your longevity as a gambler. Never invest more than you are willing to lose when you gamble. This is achieved by setting a loss limit. If you are having an off night, this limit will ensure that you do not chase your losses. The simplest way to enforce it is by utilizing the 5% rule. This requires that you designate only 5% of your total gambling budget on all bets. As you get lucky and your bankroll increases, so will your wager amounts. If your gambling budget decreases, your wagers will become smaller. The 5% rule is the best strategy when it comes to managing your bankroll, and guarantees that you do not decimate your bankroll in a single session.
7. Baccarat for advanced players and betting strategy
So now that you understand the basics of Baccarat, and even have a little bit of trivia knowledge, it’s time to get into the “nitty gritty” of Baccarat betting, particularly betting strategy for advanced Baccarat players. In a nutshell, there exist various forms of betting systems in the world of gambling, casino games and sports betting. You might have even heard of the Martingale, Fibonacci and Paroli betting systems, but in essence, they all boil down to three main categories: flat, positive and negative progression betting systems. The method in which these three systems are deployed depend solely on the player. They can be neutral, aggressive or defensive. The three main betting categories are as follows:
- Flat betting – $25 bet amounts are made consecutively regardless of previous outcomes. The bet amount remains unchanged.
- Positive Progression – A $10 base bet is made. After each win, the bet amount is doubled with the maximum bet amount set at $80. If the $80 betting limit is reached, the betting amount of $80 is continued until a loss. After any losing wager, the bet amount is dropped back down to $10. In other words, the bets made for a winning streak would be as follows: $10, $20, $40, $80, $80, etc. until a loss occurs.
- Negative Progression – Functions the same as the positive progression bet with a $10 base bet. The key difference is that the bet amount is doubled after each loss with a maximum bet limit of $80. If the $80 bet limit is reached, $80 will continue to be wagered until a wins occurs. After a win, the bet amount is dropped back down to $10. The bets made for a series of losses would be as follows: $10, $20, $40, $80, $80, until a win is reached.
7.1. Application of Baccarat betting categories
By using a computer model to record and compare the outcomes of 750 rounds of Baccarat for the three aforementioned types of betting using a $2,000 bankroll for each, the data revealed that flat betting had the highest statistical advantage of retaining one’s bankroll. In the model, bets alternated between player and banker in seven round segments. Positive progression betting had the highest statistical likelihood of losing one’s bankroll. Negative progression betting had the highest risk of losing for the first 250 rounds, but once the bankroll increased from $250 to $2,000, the negative progression betting system had a paralleled percentage of risk compared to flat betting.
The key difference was that the total profit amount for negative progression betting was much higher than flat betting. In other words, while flat betting is the safest option, it has the poorest chance of winning. It is because of this factor that we recommend negative progression betting for the long term for the advanced Baccarat player. Though it might seem counter-intuitive, with a considerable bankroll, predetermined length of play, and alternating bets during sessions, it becomes a useful betting strategy, which yields profit for the game of Baccarat.
7.2. TAT Betting System
The aforementioned negative progression betting category works most effectively when it is utilized in conjunction with Trend Anti-Trend Betting also known as the TAT Betting System. It requires that a player alternate bets, always betting on the opposite of the previous bet for each following round (player, banker, player, banker, etc.). The key factor in TAT betting is that it goes against the more popular custom of increasing ones bet amount after a win, and instead uses a negative progression system. It must be noted that the TAT betting system works best in Baccarat with a sizeable bankroll, and an extended period of play, which is why it is an advanced Baccarat betting strategy.
8. Baccarat tipping etiquette
Lastly, despite the version of Baccarat you decide to play, whether at the large table versions of Chemin de fer at the Monte Carlo or the Ritz Club in London or the modest Mini-Baccarat tables of Vegas, when playing, it is important not to forget about Baccarat tipping etiquette.
For starters, it is important to be mindful of a Baccarat table’s minimum and maximum betting limits; these will influence your bet amounts as well as the amount of money that you can potentially win when you hit that lucky streak. These are always listed at each table and can vary greatly depending on the casino that you choose to visit. The most important factor, in addition to the average 5% commission charged by the casino for banker bet wins, is tipping the croupier once you cash out of a game.
Baccarat, particularly the large table versions, are held in high esteem by high rollers and even more modest versions of the game place emphasis on the skill of the dealer. Out of courtesy, it is only fair to tip the croupier if you’ve had a fortuitous night playing Baccarat, therefore the question lies on how much one should tip. The 5% commission for wins on the banker bet can be substantial to the house especially if you are playing for high limits. However, this commission does not necessarily go to the dealer, but is either pocketed directly by the casino or is pooled among croupiers. We recommend tipping 1-5% on the overall amount that you take away from the table.
Pro tip: Casinos like it when you gamble, in fact, the more you are willing to wager and tip, the more you will receive in return such as complementary rooms, food drinks, show tickets, and much more!
9. Baccarat Glossary
Banker – a designation for one of the hands a player may bet on. Banker bets collect a commission of 5%, and are not associated with the house. Banker bets pay out even money.
Coup – a round of play in the game of Baccarat. Each coup or round has three possible outcomes: the Player wins, the Banker wins, or a Tie.
Croupier – the person in charge of the Baccarat table. The croupier is the one person who must fully understand the rules of the game.
Cut-card – a piece of plastic the size of a standard playing card used in shuffling the cards in a shoe. The cut-card (placed in front of the seventh to last card) signifies the last coup of a shoe.
Égalité (tie) – a designation for one of the hands a player may bet on. It pays out 8:1 or in some instances 9:1.
Le grande (natural) – hand value of nine, the highest hand in Baccarat.
Le petit (natural) – hand value of eight, the second highest hand in Baccarat.
Natural – refers to a hand value of nine or eight, the highest and second highest hands in Baccarat.
Palette – a long wooden stick croupiers use to move players their cards during the large table versions of Baccarat
Player – a designation for the second hand a player may bet on. Like the banker bet, the player designation does not have to have an affiliation with the player.
Run – a side bet option utilized in some versions of Baccarat that allow players to bet on a series of hands
Skill – a joke used to indicate that a player has a good run
Suivez – in the game of Chemin de fer a player may choose to re-bet against the opposing player simply by saying the word “suivez” – the French word for follow
Tableau – the fixed set of drawing rules in Baccarat that dictate all actions of the game based on the hands dealt from the shoe.
Upcard – a card turned face up
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