There is a bunch of exciting theories on how baccarat made its way to casino tables. According to one of them, this card game originated from Italy, with its history starting more than 500 years ago. The game got the name of “baccara” which translated as “zero” from an Italian dialect. The game didn’t become truly popular until the 1800s when it was brought to neighboring France. In France, baccarat conquered the hearts of the French aristocracy. That was the turning point in the long history of this fascinating card game. From then on, baccarat spread all over the world like wildfire, adding a new quality to the lives of millions of gambling fans who learned how to play baccarat.
If you’re uneasy about learning the rules of baccarat, you should abandon your fears. Baccarat is surprisingly easy to master. If you’re intimidated by blackjack or poker, baccarat will be a nice choice for you. Once you’ve wrapped your head around its simple gameplay, you’ll be able to play baccarat with your eyes closed. If you're still conflicted about giving baccarat a try, take a look at the baccarat game rules and see how simple they are!
Baccarat is an easy-to-learn card game which is played with six to eight standard card decks. Online baccarat is a one-player game. If, however, you're playing baccarat at a land-based casino, you might find up to 9 players around the table. Let’s see how the game is played.
- Like in pretty any casino game, in baccarat you need to place your bet first. When playing baccarat, you can only choose one betting option. This may seem odd to roulette fans who are used to placing more than one wager on different outcomes. With baccarat, it’s all different. You can choose from 3 types of bets. You can bet on the Player, the Banker or the Tie. In baccarat, the dealer is called the Banker, so by betting on the Banker, you’re betting on the Dealer’s win.
- After accepting bets from the players, the Dealer deals the cards. The Banker gives two cards face-up to each Player and two cards face-up to themselves.
- The players calculate their initial hands. In baccarat, cards are counted similarly to blackjack. Jacks, Queens, Kings and 10s are worth 0 points. Ace is worth 1 point. As for cards 2 through 9, they are counted as their numerical values.
- Then the players check their hands for a natural win. Sounds like a “natural blackjack”, right? This is another stark similarity between the two legendary card games. A natural win is a baccarat term for the hand of 8 or 9. If the Player or the Banker hits a natural win, the game stops there. No more cards are dealt, and all players can get their bets back.
- If neither the Player, nor the Banker has a natural win, the game continues. Like in blackjack, players can take an additional card or pass. (In blackjack, these moves are called “Hit” and “Stand”.) However, the trick is that the Player is not always allowed to take an additional card. Whether or not the Player can take an extra card is determined by their hand total. For example, if your hand totals 6 through 9, you’re denied the opportunity to take another card. You’re only allowed to hit if your hand totals 0 to 5. Now what about the Banker? Just like the Player, the Banker is allowed to hit only with a total of 5 or less. The total of 6 or 7 means that the Dealer stands.
- Now let’s see what happens after the Player has taken an extra card. That’s where things are getting a bit tricky. Bear with us! If the Player’s third card is a 9, 10, Jack, King, Queen or Ace, the Banker must draw if they have a 0-3 total score and stand if they have a 4-7 total score. If the Player draws a 6 or 7, the Banker must take another card on a 0-6 score and stand on 7. If the Player’s third card is an 8, the Banker must draw on 0-2 and stand on 3-7. If the Player draws a 4 or 5, the Banker draws on 0-5 and stands on 6-7. Finally, if the Player’s third card turns out to be a 2 or 3, the Banker must take an extra card on 0-4 and stand if their total is 5-7.
- Once the Banker has made their move, the hand totals are calculated once again. The participant with the hand total closest to 9 wins the game.
Card counting in baccarat
Few gamblers know that you can actually apply the card counting technique when playing baccarat. This strategy is not exclusive to blackjack and can work for baccarat players as well. Like in blackjack, you don’t need to memorize the cards. You just need to keep the track of the cards dealt from the shoe. Your goal is to determine who is more likely to win - the Player or the Banker. For obvious reasons, the Tie outcome is not taken into account.
Here is how card counting in baccarat works:
- If the Banker deals an Ace, 2 or 3, you need to add +1 to your count.
- If a 4 is dealt, you need to add +2.
- If a 5, 7 or 8 is dealt, you need to subtract -1.
- If a 6 is dealt, you need to subtract -2.
- If the Banker deals a 10, Jack, Queen or King, you don't need to do anything because these cards are worth 0 points.
If you see that the running count is rising, you should bet on the Player. If, on the contrary, the count is decreasing, the Banker is more likely to win, so you should start betting on the Banker. But this is not all, though. You can’t take action based on the running count alone.
Like in blackjack, there is the running count and the true count. To find the true count, you need to divide the running count by the number of decks left in the shoe. Suppose, your running count is 40. The number of decks left in 2. By dividing 40 by 2, we get the true count of 20. If the true count exceeds 16, this is a sure sign that you need to start betting on the Player.
Described above is the standard card counting system. On the Internet, you can come across other card counting techniques, including more complicated ones. Unfortunately, card counting in baccarat isn't as effective as in blackjack. By leveraging this method, you can only ensure a small profit. This technique doesn’t have the power to generate consistent profits for baccarat fans.
FAQ on how to play baccarat
- Are baccarat rules hard to learn?
- Absolutely not. If you’re adamant to learn how to play baccarat, you’re sure to master the rules of baccarat in under 30 minutes. To some gamblers, baccarat resembles blackjack - although these are the two completely different card games. Blackjack is considered to be a skill-based game, while baccarat is basically a guessing game. If you find blackjack a little too challenging, baccarat is likely to fit you like a glove. Before risking real money on this game, be sure to get enough practice playing in free demo mode.
- What is the best bet in baccarat?
- In terms of the lowest house edge, the best bet in baccarat is the Banker bet. This betting option comes with a 1.06% house edge. (For comparison, the Player bet offers a 1.24% casino advantage.) In terms of potential winnings, the highest-paying bet in baccarat is Tie. This bet has a staggering 9 to 1 (or 8 to 1) payout. The catch is that a tie is a very rare outcome in baccarat. It has an obscene house edge that exceeds 14%. Despite the undeniably attractive payout, you should avoid this bet unless you have a massive bankroll that can take you through an exhausting losing streak.