How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is one of the most popular table games in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. It is also a favorite for online casino players. Baccarat is a relatively simple game. While its players say it is full of superstitions, the game is pure luck. The bettor chooses whether the banker or player will win. There is also a tie side bet. Some casinos have more than one side bet. Once the bets are made, the dealer puts the cards out and determines the winner.

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Baccarat rules

Baccarat uses a shoe with standard 52-card decks. These shoes are often previously shuffled at live casinos. At online casinos, the software usually shuffles after every hand, except at live dealer where it plays like stadium baccarat. That is a form of an electronic table game.

Players make a wager either on the banker or player. An optional tie side bet is offered. Players are not required to bet every hand. You can sit out if you do not like the feeling of the next hand or wish to take a break. 

Once the bets are established, the dealer places two cards up for the player and two up for the banker. There is only one player hand, regardless of the number of people at the table or bets on it. 

The goal of baccarat is to get as close to nine points as possible. Aces are worth a point. Number cards are worth their face value. Tens and face cards are worth zero points. 

There is no busting in baccarat like there is at blackjack. If a hand goes over nine points, the first digit is removed. For example, a player with two sevens has four points, not fourteen. 

How a baccarat winner is determined

The hand closest to 9 wins at baccarat. If either the player or banker are dealt an 8 or 9, the hand ends. This is called a natural. If there is no 8 or 9 on the first two cards, there is a procedure to determine what happens next.

The player hand acts first. If the player has a 6 or 7, the hand stands. If it is five or lower, the player hand hits one card. 

If the player has a 6 or 7, the banker hand draws a card, unless it has 7. The banker hand always draws on 0, 1, or 2. If the banker hand is a 3, 4, 5, or 6, the action depends on the card the player drew, not the point value of the opposing hand, based on the list below.

  • Banker hand draws on 6 if the player drew a 6 or 7
  • Banker hand draws on 5 if the player drew a 4, 5, 6, or 7
  • Banker hand draws on 4 if the player drew a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7
  • Banker hand draws on 3 if the player drew an 8

If the banker has a higher point total than the player, the banker bet wins. There is usually a 5% commission on a banker win. Some casinos have no commission baccarat that adds a push hand to remove the commission from the game, like a three-card seven. The house edge on the banker bet is 1.06%. 

If the player hand is higher than the banker, the player bet is paid even money. There is no commission. The house advantage on the player bet is 1.24%. 

If the player and banker tie, both bets push. There is a tie side bet on a baccarat table. The payout is usually 8/1. That payout has a 14.36% house edge. The advantage drops to 4.85% if the tie pays 9/1. Online casinos usually pay 9/1 on a baccarat tie. This is one of the advantages of playing baccarat online as opposed to a casino. 

Stadium and live dealer baccarat

Stadium and live dealer baccarat are the same type of game offered by different forms of casinos. At a live casino’s stadium baccarat, there is a dealer and seats for ten or more players. Some stadium seating accommodates dozens of patrons. An online casino’s live dealer baccarat is based on the same concept. 

Real cards are used with a live dealer. Players make bets on a screen. The cards are dealt as normal, just like at a live table. Most online casinos offer live dealer baccarat. You can find stadium baccarat in many major gaming markets. 

Buying into the game

There are several ways to buy into a baccarat game at a casino. High limit players may have a marker or front money. In this case, the player lets the supervisor know how many chips they would like. Chips may be brought from other tables. The player can also buy into the game with cash by placing it on the felt.

At an online casino, an account is funded electronically. We cover the types of online casino deposit methods here. Once your account has money in it, the chips move automatically to the game when you open the window.

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How to make a bet

To start a hand of baccarat, place a bet on the banker, player, or tie. You can bet the tie with one of the other wagers. The chips go in the corresponding circle on the felt. The lowest minimum bet we have found at a live baccarat table is $10. Most are at least $25.

At a stadium or video baccarat game, insert cash or a ticket into the bill acceptor. It will display your credit amount. Touch the level of chips you would like to bet and touch the circle the number of times needed to equal the proper amount of the wager. The minimum bet for stadium and video baccarat is usually at least $5. 

At an online casino, choose your favorite denomination of chips. Click the circle related to the amount you want to bet. When the bet is made, click deal. The online baccarat minimum bet is usually $1 for video versions and $5 for live dealer.

Cashing out your winnings

With some luck, you can leave baccarat a winner, or at least with some chips. At a live casino, ask the dealer for a color-up to get chips in larger denominations. This helps the casino keep change at the table and makes it easier to carry your winnings to the casino cage. If you took out a marker or front money, you must return it to the casino, at least up to the amount borrowed.

At a stadium or video baccarat game, simply click the cashout button. A ticket is printed. You can use it on other machines, take it to the cage for cash, or convert it at a kiosk.

At an online casino, you can withdraw your chips or keep them for another time. If you plan on playing again soon, it is best to keep the money on the site.