The Casinofy Guide to Baccarat Rules
To the uninitiated, Baccarat is pronounced Ba-Ca-Rat, but for those who know, it’s actually Bah-Cah-Rah, with a silent ‘T’. This thrilling casino card game was invented in the 1400s in Italy, where it gained favor with the ‘Who’s Who’ of the casino world, before moving to France, England, and the Americas centuries later. The game, like so many others, is shrouded in mystique, given that it was enjoyed exclusively by the royalty, nobility, and aristocracy of Europe.
Jealously safeguarded by the gentry of Europe, baccarat remained a hidden gem for centuries before it gained widespread appeal with players around the world. In this expose, Casinofy will unravel Baccarat’s most important rules of play for novices, intermediate-level players, and professional baccarat aficionados alike. Whatever your social status, skill level, or playing preferences, baccarat is certainly a game that anyone can easily learn and enjoy at casinos online.
Essential Baccarat Rules
- Play begins with the placement of bets at the baccarat table. Players have 3 options available – the Player Bet, the Banker Bet, or a Tie Bet.
- The raison d’être for playing Baccarat is to pick the hand which scores a Natural, meaning a hand value of 8 or 9.
- Card values in baccarat are counted as follows: Aces =1; cards 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 are counted at face value; 10s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings are valued at 0.
- Players can never ‘Bust’ in baccarat since any hand value greater than 9 will simply have the tens digit removed. In other words, 8+7 = 15 à 5; or 6+6 = 12 à 2, and so forth.
- The maximum number of cards that the Player or the Banker Hand can draw is 3, but the precise rules of play are determined by the values of the Player and/or Banker Hands.
- If the value (hand totals) of the Banker Hand and the Player Hand are equal, the Tie Bet wins.
- The payout on a winning Player Hand bet is even money, or 1:1, and the payout on a winning Banker Hand is also even money, or 1:1 but there is a vigorish that needs to be paid to the house. This is a commission on the Banker hand which gives the casino the edge. It is usually 5%, although there are Zero Commission Baccarat games available too. Tie bets have the most generous payouts at 8:1, but the house edge is unfriendly to players.
Baccarat has interesting roots, and the name is a derivation of the Italian word Baccara which effectively means zero. All 10-value cards in baccarat are counted as zero – that’s why you simply subtract the tens digit whenever the hand total exceeds 9. The game, like so many other casino card games features many variants, and players will find it particularly useful to read the Casinofy guide on How to Play Baccarat, which should be used as an adjunct to this guide on Baccarat Rules.
Other popular variants of the game include Mini-Baccarat (low stakes variant of Baccarat), Midi-Baccarat (for up to 9 Baccarat Players), Chemmy a.k.a. Chemin de Fer, Punto Banco, and Baccarat Banque. While the games appear to be similar in most every way, there are nuanced differences in the way they are played, the betting actions, and their payout potential.
What Audiences Do Baccarat Games Target?
There is a prevailing belief that baccarat is exclusively reserved for casino whales. In Las Vegas and Atlantic City, there can be no disputing the importance of baccarat as a high roller favorite. Indeed, this game is played by many big spenders who fly in from Asia, particularly China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan to place mega-money bets on this game of chance. Truth be told, baccarat is open to anyone who wants to play, with affordable minimums and high maximums to accommodate players of all bankrolls.
The rules of play are fairly straightforward and certainly much easier to grasp than Craps, Texas Hold’em or the strategy-based casino card game of Blackjack. Neither the player or the dealer is the Player Hand or the Banker Hand respectively. You can bet on any of the 3 bet selections in baccarat, any time you want. There are unique rules that apply to the Player Hand and the Banker Hand, and we will explain these in greater detail in the next section. Recall that players are tasked with simply selecting which hand will win. There is no mathematics to it, and there is certainly no crystal ball that will yield the winning result. The outcome is 100% based on chance.
Payouts on Baccarat Hands
Recall that baccarat players can place bets on Banker Hands, Player Hands, or a Tie result. There are different payouts on each option. A Banker Hand pays at a ratio of 1:1, but there is a 5% vigorish/commission that needs to be paid to the casino on winning hands. This effectively reduces the payout ratio to 19:20, 0.95:1.00. In other words, for every $20 that you bet on a Banker hand, you will win $19. If you bet $100, you will win $95, and so forth*.
*You win your initial bet back in addition to the winnings.
The payout on a winning Player Hand is also easily calculated. The payout is 1:1, as alluded to above. If you bet $20 on a Player Hand, you will win $20 in profit plus your original bet. If you bet $100 on the Player Hand and it wins, you will win $100 in profit. With respect to Tie bets, the payout ratio is 8:1. Therefore, if you place a $10 bet, you will win $80 on a winning Tie bet, and if you place a $100 bet on a Tie result, you will win $800. Sometimes, players will be fortunate enough to get payout odds of 9:1 on Tie bets at online casinos.
Third Card Rules for Baccarat Hands
In Baccarat, the maximum number of cards that either the Player or the Banker Hand can have is 3, in certain circumstances. The banker rules are more complex, but players don’t need to learn the rules since the baccarat croupier will take care of it for you. Suffice it to say, if the hand total of the Banker hand is 0, 1, or 2, another card will be drawn. The Banker hand will also stand if the first 2 cards add up to 8 or 9.
Additionally, the Banker hand will stand if the first 2 cards total a value of 7. Things get a little tricky when the Player hand did not draw a third card, then the banker hand will stand if the first 2 cards equals at least 6. When the Banker hand total for the first 2 cards drawn ranges between 3, 4, 5, and 6 and the Player hand draws an additional card, then the Banker hand will stand or draw accordingly. The Player hand only draws if the sum of the first 2 cards ranges between 0 and 5. The Player hand always stands when the total of the cards ranges between 6 and 9.
These are the baccarat rules that players need to understand. Fortunately, these rules are readily available to players at online casinos listed at Casinofy. It’s worthwhile practicing baccarat games in demo mode, to get a feel for the cards before you play for real money. The house edge on the Player hand is 1.24% and the house edge on Banker hand is 1.06%. That means that the Player hand wins 49.2% of the time and the Banker hand wins 50.68% of the time.