Baccarat is a game of elegance and random chance. Often set off in a private area of the casino and requiring a dress code, this game has existed in one form or another for centuries. While its unbeatable nature and traditional high cost prevent it from becoming a household word, it has built up a fanbase that includes royalty, billionaires, and even the occasional celebrity.

Even if you’re just a normal person with a below-average income, you can still enjoy baccarat thanks to various online casinos. This article is meant to prepare you for the experience, proving rules for the most popular versions of the game.

Basic Rules

No matter which version of baccarat you play, there are a few rules that remain constant. Games are contested between the player’s hand and the banker’s hand, and the following outcomes are possible: player, banker, or tie.

Each card is assigned a point value, and these include the following:

  • 2 through 9 – worth their face value
  • 10, Jack, Queen, King – worth 0 points
  • Aces – worth 1 point
  • Jokers – not used in the game

In order to determine the value of a hand, add the cards together and take the value of the right digit. For example, a hand with a 5 and 9 would be worth 14(since the right digit in 14 is 4). If the cards were a 2 and 6, then the value of the hand would be 8. Due to this method of keeping score, the highest value of a hand in baccarat is 9.

Punto Banco

In this version that’s most common throughout the US, UK, Canada, and assorted other countries, the banker plays both hands in accordance with set drawing rules. One hand is designated for the “player,” while the other is assigned to the “banker.” As mentioned earlier, participants can choose to wager on a win by either side or a tie.

During a coup (or round of play) each hand receives two face-up cards from a shoe of 4, 6, or 8 decks. If either side has a total of 8 or 9 at this stage, they are declared the winner. If they both do, then it’s declared a tie. If the coup is not over, then the drawing rules are consulted.

If the player has a total of 6 or 7, then he takes no additional cards. If he has 0 through 5, then he receives another card.

If the player didn’t receive a third card, then the banker applies the same drawing rules. If, however, the player did get a card, then the banker obeys the following guidelines:

  • Banker draws a card if his total is 2 or less.
  • If the banker’s total is 3, he draws an additional card (unless the player’s third card was an 8).
  • If the banker’s total is 4, and the player’s third card was a 2 through 7, then he takes another card.
  • If the banker’s total is 5, and the player’s third card was a 4 through 7, then he takes another card.
  • If the banker’s total is 6, and the player’s third card was a 6 or 7, then he takes another card.
  • The banker stands on a total of 7.

The winning hand is then determined, and payouts (if any) are issued. Player bets usually pay even money, while a 5% commission is taken out for banker bets. In the case of a successful tie bet, payouts are 8 to 1, and the wagers for player and banker roll over to the next coup.

The following is a list of the house edge, which varies depending on the number of decks used in the shoe:

  • Eight Decks – Banker 1.06%, Player 1.24%, Tie 14.36%
  • Six Decks – Banker 1.06%, Player 1.24%, Tie 14.44%
  • One Deck – Banker 1.01%, Player 1.29%, Tie 15.75%

Baccarat Chemin de Fer

Still popular in France, this is the original version of the game. Six decks of cards are used, and players take turns being the dealer/banker. This player wagers whatever amount they see fit, and then each player is given the opportunity to “go bank” or match the bet (although only one may do so).

If no player single-handedly matches the wager, then each participant is given a chance to make a smaller bet. If these wagers do not match the banker’s bet, then onlookers can also contribute in order to increase the total. In the case of player wagers that exceed the bank, the banker has the option of matching the new total or having the excess amount discarded.

The dealer receives two face-down cards, and so do the punters (acting as a group). The player who made the highest wager (or “went bank”) represents the group. The hand ends if either has an 8 or 9. Otherwise, the player may choose to take a third card. The banker, after seeing the player’s adjusted total, may also choose to take a third card. The hands are then compared to determine a winner.

In the event of a player win, each bettor gets back their wager plus a matching amount from the banker. The role of the bank then passes to the next player. If the banker wins, he receives all player wagers and keep his position in the following round. When a tie occurs, wagers remain the same for the subsequent round.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this baccarat overview. While the game isn’t for those with poor nerves or faltering bank accounts, it remains one of the more interesting casino experiences. Even if you don’t plan on playing regularly, I suggest any gambling devotee try it at least once.