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Learning to Play Baccarat

Where to Play Baccarat at a US Online Casino

Baccarat is one of the more popular casino games for US players and not only will you find a Baccarat or Mini Baccarat game at most casinos across Vegas to Atlantic City, but they are also widely available at most US online casinos. The game was originally intended to be played by high limit players, and was often surrounded with posh decor, a friendly concierge and was located in a separate pit. The stigma associated with Baccarat is no longer limited just for the high rollers, with many American Baccarat players taking a stab at the mini version online. Mini Baccarat is played the same as your standard game except players have the option to place smaller bets.

If you’re new to Baccarat we suggest you try learning the game first at one of our listed USA approved online casinos before you take that trip to Vegas. Online casinos allow players to play for free or with real money, and it will at least allow you to reach a better understanding of the rules and structure of the game first before you hit the real tables.


How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is normally played with either 6 or 8 full decks of cards and really is one of the easier games of chance to play. Players will be given three options when placing a bet, to bet on the banker, the player or a tie. Every player will have the same betting options at the table which means any number can bet on the player or the banker. The goal isn’t to compete against the other players but to win your bet by betting on the correct outcome of the cards. At a US casino, Baccarat can be played with as many as 14 players per table.(When learning to play Baccarat you should also be aware of the different Baccarat betting systems and why they won't help you)

To begin play, the dealer will ask each player to place their bets. Remember you only have three options to make. When making your bet, ensure that you have an understanding of both the payouts for that bet and the odds at winning. Make sure you bet within the limits posted at the table, although many of the US online casinos will allow you to bet on Baccarat for as little as $1/round. Once you have decided how you will be betting simply place your chips on the player, banker or tie.

The dealer will than deal two separate hands, one for the player and the other for the dealer. The highest hand wins unless a tie occurs with both hands having equal value. When a tie takes place neither banker nor player wins. The highest possible hand in Baccarat is a nine, which is normally referred to as a natural.

Hand Values in Baccarat

Baccarat uses card values as well as a counting system. All cards numbered 2 through 9 are counted with face value, and Aces will have a value of one. Any face card or 10 will automatically be counted as 10 points however the 10 will be deducted from the hand. Once a hand has been dealt the dealer will add or subtract the cards based on the rules for drawing, as outlined below. The object of the game is to have a hand closest to nine. As an example if the bankers hand was 3, 5, J the hand would be counted as 3 + 4 + 10 = 17 -10 = 7. If the hand value equals 10 or more, 10 will automatically be subtracted from the total. As an example this would be a hand like 6 + 6 + 4 = 16 – 10 = 6. For more information on odds and hand values please see our Baccarat Odds article

Baccarat Drawing Rules

Just like Blackjack, the dealer will have rules for drawing additional cards based on the outcome of the hands. If the player or banker has a total hand value of 8 or 9 the dealer is forced to stand.

Drawing Rules for Player

There are only two rules that play for the player bet. These are as follows;

  • If the player hand equals a 6 or 7, the player will stand however the banker will then be forced to hit on 5.
  • If the player’s hand equals 5 or less the player will be forced to hit. If a player receives a third card than the below rules will apply to the banker.

Banker Draws When Player Has Third Card

  • Banker receives a third card if total value is between 0, 1, 2
  • Banker’s hand has a value of three, the banker will then draw only if the players third card is valued between 1 – 0. If however the banker has an 8 they will stand.
  • If the Banker’s hand is a 4 and the Player’s hand is between 2 – 7 the Banker will draw
  • If the Banker’s hand is a 5 and the Player’s hand is between 4 – 7 the Banker will draw
  • If the Banker’s hand is a 6 and the Player’s hand is between 6  – 7 the Banker will draw
  • If the Banker’s hand is a 7 and the Player received a third card, the Banker always stays.

Bets on Baccarat and House Edge

  • The Player Bet – The player bet wins when the Player’s hand his closer to nine than the dealer. Player bet pays 1:1 with a house edge of 1.29%
  • The Banker Bet - The Banker bet wins when the Banker’s hand is greater than the player. Players should note that the Banker bet has a 5% commission fee on wins. In a US land based casino, the commission fee is typically monitored and paid for after the session has come to a complete. During an online game, the US casino will deduct it from the winnings automatically. This bet has a house edge of 1.01% and pays 1:1.
  • The Tie Bet – The Tie Bet is when you bet that both the Player and Banker’s hands will tie. This is the absolute worst hand you can bet on in Baccarat and comes with a hefty 15.75% house edge. The house edge is high but the payoff is also 8:1 to compensate the risk.
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