An Easy Guide To Playing Baccarat
Let’s kick things off with what’s taken for granted: Learning to play Baccarat is easy. We’re saying this because, in Baccarat, the only choice you’ll have to make (aside from your bet amount) is to guess who will win among the three: BANKER, PLAYER or TIE? We’re not kidding in the slightest as you’ll see in the rest of this article.
Compared to other popular card games like Blackjack and Poker, Baccarat’s game mechanics are simpler, and its “special” rules can be taken to heart in a matter of a few games. You could easily sit down to play some rounds for less than an hour and you’d be on the same level playing field as someone who has been playing Baccarat for 10 years.
This Easy Guide To Playing Baccarat will cover the game’s basics up to the more advanced things to remember when playing the game in its many fun variations! So, let’s get started:
What is Baccarat?
Baccarat (บาคาร่า) is a form of gambling using at least one (usually more; up to 8 decks) standard 52-card deck(s). The game involves the Dealer drawing a pair (2) of cards for PLAYER and BANKER, respectively. The ONLY objective of the player is to predict which of 3 outcomes will be produced upon the end of each Baccarat round:
Which of these end up as the winning outcome is determined by the total value of the cards drawn for them. If either the Player or Banker gets a higher valued pair, the higher valued pair always win in Baccarat. The only exception to this winning condition is if both PLAYER and BANKER get the same value of cards, in which case, TIE bettors would win the round.
The game is usually played in casinos like GClub as Baccarat players are playing against the House, and not against other players. Most land-based casinos offer mini-baccarat tables that can seat up to 8 players at a time. Full baccarat tables may also be offered and may seat up to 14 players at the same time.
The House Edge on Baccarat is considered the lowest at 1% among popular card games like BlackJack and Poker.
There is no universal minimum bet observed for Baccarat. Minimum (and maximum) bets are entirely up to the House/Casino to set.
How Do I Play Baccarat?
Let’s do a recap of what we know so far:
- Baccarat players are playing against the house, and not against other players
- The players’ only objective is to predict which of 3 outcomes will come up after each round
- Higher valued hand of cards always win; except for equally valued hands
Remember when we said baccarat is simple? It gets even simpler as the only real options at play each round are PLAYER and BANKER. While TIE can be a betting option, it’s not likely to be picked by most players, especially beginners, as this outcome is only a handful in a long game of Baccarat – even less if you’re planning to play only a few hands.
All you have to remember now is to bet on either the PLAYER or BANKER.
What are the values of each card in Baccarat?
What each card represents always seem to daunt prospective card game players. Fortunately, the only thing you have to worry about in Baccarat is the written numbers. You can completely disregard the suits.
Here is a table of each card’s value in Baccarat:
|10||10 / 0|
|jack||10 / 0|
|queen||10 / 0|
|king||10 / 0|
|joker||discarded / not-in-play|
The highest number a Baccarat player can get for each hand is 9. Now, you might be wondering: Why is there a 10 in the Card Values? Remember that the value of each of the two cards drawn is added to determine the total value of the pair. For example:
The PLAYER gets a total value of 9
However, only the right-most digit is considered to be in-play in Baccarat. The Total Value for the Banker of 11 is only considered as a 1.
TIP FOR THIS RULE: Treat cards with a value of 10 as 0. Following this tip, we can see the same combination as:
BANKER draws Ace (1) + King (0) = 1 (which is the final value in play)
We suggest referring to this table as we go through this Baccarat guide
BASIC RULES TO WIN
Winning in Baccarat revolves around getting the higher valued hand of cards for that round. Let’s show you an example:
PLAYER: 7 + 2 = 9
Player’s Total Card Value is 9
BANKER: 8 + Jack (10/0)
Banker’s Total Card Value is 8
Bettors who bet on Player win the Round
PLAYER: 5 + 3 = 8
Player’s Total Card Value is 8
BANKER: 8 + Ace (1) = 9
Banker’s Total Card Value is 9
Bettors who bet on Banker win the Round
Seems simple enough, right? Well, there’s more to Baccarat than that!
Baccarat has its own special set of rules requiring the drawing of a third card for the PLAYER, BANKER or both. The point of drawing a third card in Baccarat is to give either the PLAYER or the BANKER a way to come back from a seemingly bad hand.
We have made a table which should make understanding the special rules easier:
|when the first two cards total||action|
|1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 10||draw a 3rd card for player|
|6 / 7||player’s current hand stands – no 3rd card|
|8 / 9||natural – player’s current hand stands – no 3rd card|
|when the first two cards for the banker total||draws when the player’s third card is||stands when the player’s third card is|
|3||1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 9 / 10||8|
|4||2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7||1 / 8 / 9 / 10|
|5||4 / 5 / 6 / 7||1 / 2 / 3 / 8 / 9 / 10|
|6||6 / 7||1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 8 / 9 / 10|
|7||stands – banker does not draw a 3rd card|
|8 / 9||natural – banker does not draw a 3rd card|
|10/ 1 / 2||banker always draws|
Let’s go through some examples to help you understand the rules better:
Player’s first two cards totaled 20 which is effectively a 0 in Baccarat. This allows the player to draw a third card. The third card, being a 9, increases the total value of the PLAYER’s hand to a Natural 9.
Banker’s first two cards totaled 20 which is also a 0 in the game. This allows the BANKER to draw a third card. The third card, being an 8, increases the total value of the BANKER’s hand to a Natural 8.
While both are Naturals in Baccarat, PLAYER’s hand wins as the PLAYER has the higher Natural Number.
Winner of the Round: PLAYER
Player’s first two cards totaled 2 which allows the player to draw a 3rd card. The third card, being a 4, increases the total value of the PLAYER’s hand to 6.
Banker’s first two cards totaled 2 which allows the BANKER to draw a 3rd card. The third card, being a Jack (10), leaves the total value of the BANKER’s hand at 2.
Winner of the Round: PLAYER
Player’s first two cards totaled 10 which allows the player to draw a 3rd card. The third card, being a Queen, leaves the Player’s hand at 0.
Banker’s first two cards totaled 20 which also allows the drawing of a 3rd card. The third card, being an 8, increases the BANKER’s hand to a Natural 8.
Winner of the Round: BANKER
Baccarat Strategies & Tips
Here’s a tip: Baccarat actually pronounced as “Bac-ca-rah” and not “Back-a-rat”. Kidding aside, here are some of the collected wisdom on playing Baccarat:
USE YOUR SCORECARD / ROADMAP
Baccarat tables offer scorecards or roadmaps to help you keep track of the game’s result history. Both land-based and online casinos feature this on their Baccarat tables so don’t be shy to use it.
Caption: This is a physical example of a Baccarat Scorecard given in land-based casinos
Does it have any bearing to the upcoming outcomes? No, but it does tell you what’s the trend of the shoe you’re playing with. Here are some questions you could ask yourself when you’re looking at the scorecard or the roadmap:
- Which side is winning most of the time?
- If that side is winning most of the time, how stacked are the
- Are their streaks I can ride, and for how long?
- How often does the other side come up?
These are but a few simple yet helpful questions to ask when you’re sitting down at the Baccarat table with some rounds played. Looking at the scorecard or roadmap helps you determine what could be the behavior of the game you’re currently on.
You may even chance upon a trend you can ride for the best possible profit from your bankroll!
Caption: The roadmap presented to players on Live Baccarat tables in Online Casinos
ONE-SIDED BACCARAT BETTING
It’s a taken-for-granted observation that both PLAYER and BANKER shift the trend of the scorecard/roadmap in their favor at some point. This phenomenon is approximated to occur 80% of the time during any Baccarat play. This is where the One-Sided Baccarat Betting strategy originates from.
This strategy in Baccarat is encouraged by plenty of Baccarat pros and guides on the internet. This involves your betting on one side almost consistently throughout your time at the table. It may sound overly simplistic – but if executed correctly – could lead you to have a winning edge of 3:1.
How do you know which side to bet on? Take a look at your scorecard/roadmap, of course! Checking the trend on this little but helpful tool with help you determine what’s the trend of your current game. Who knows? You might just ride a wave to profiting every wager you make!
FUN FACT for Baccarat Beginners: It’s an established fact that the Banker in classic Baccarat has a 50.68% chance of winning every hand. Casinos know this that’s why a 5% commission on your Banker bet winnings is placed – and is payable upon leaving the table.
3-IN-A-ROW STOP LOSS
Taking a break isn’t exactly exclusive to Baccarat. Any form of gambling can take advantage of the benefits this tip gives. In the case of a fast-paced game like Baccarat, it’s so easy for players to forget to stop and rethink their strategy.
Learning to apply the 3-in-a-row stop loss mechanism will prevent you from occurring further losses. So, how does this exactly work? Simple:
If you lose 3 times in-a-row, stop betting.
You may think that the House is who you’re playing against in casinos, be it land-based or online. The House does always have an advantage, after all. But in a situation where your Baccarat predictions are turning sour, your greatest enemies are your feelings of anger and/or frustration.
Feelings that result from continuous losses may culminate to what gamblers call Tilting. This is a state of mind in gambling where decision-making is rushed in order to quickly recover or kick-start a recovery of losses at the soonest possible moment. A tilted player is easy prey to the trappings of unhealthy gambling behavior.
Learning to leave the table at low points works well for most people, and it could do you some good if the shoe on your Baccarat table isn’t favoring your predictions.
DO NOT BET ON TIE
Do not bet on TIE. Betting on TIE is almost always a losing decision and we’re discouraging new players to place their hard-earned cash on it.
Here’s a simplified table of the pros and cons why you shouldn’t bet on TIE in a game of Baccarat:
|why you should bet on tie||why you should not bet on tie|
|1. 8x – 11x returns|
1. 14.36% house edge on tie bets
player only has 1.24%
banker only has 1.06%
2. a tie outcome will not make you lose your bet
except when someone bets on tie and wins
3. ties only have a 9.53% chance of appearing
Betting on TIE is one those “High Risk High Rewards” kind of thing. It’ simply not worth it since a TIE outcome will not make you lose your bet. We simply cannot recommend betting on TIE unless you’re a psychic who can predict when this will come out.
Different Kinds of Baccarat
There are several variations of Baccarat existing today. Each one, more or less, follows the rules we discussed in the earlier parts of this guide. You might not end up playing any of these if you don’t go out to different casinos a lot. But learning the differences between the variations against the classic version should give you an idea of how Baccarat has changed over the years.
Here’s a few notable Baccarat variations in-play today:
EZ Baccarat is a favorite in the casinos of Las Vegas. It still follows the core rules of Baccarat with a few added extras – to keep things exciting for Baccarat enthusiasts:
- Nobody wins if the BANKER gets 3 cards adding up to a 7 total hand value (this is called a PUSH)
- There is no 5% commission fee on BANKER bet wins
- Additional betting options are present: Dragon 7 and Panda 8
Dragon 7 Betting Option
This betting option is an additional bet that can be made on top of your choice of BANKER / PLAYER / TIE. Winning on Dragon 7 requires either one of the options to have 3 cards adding up to 7. Wagering on this betting option overrides the EZ Baccarat rule of a PUSH if the BANKER has 3 cards adding up to 7 – giving you a 40x payout.
Panda 8 Betting Option
This is an additional betting option that works the same way as Dragon 7. In this case, however, the 3 cards on any of the primary betting options must total hand value of 8. Betting on Panda 8 gives a payout of 25x.
Speed Baccarat is for the adrenaline junkies of Baccarat. If 40 seconds waiting time is too long, then this is the Baccarat variant for you! This Baccarat variant’s main attraction is its faster-than-usual game pace with just 15-20 seconds allotted for players to place their bets.
Speed Baccarat theoretically allows you to make twice the number of bets you would have made in a classic Baccarat game.
Three Card Baccarat
This Baccarat variation puts more emphasis on drawing face cards (Jack, Queen, King). Three Card Baccarat follows the core rules of Baccarat with a few notable additions:
- Players are dealt 3 cards every hand (as opposed to a minimum of 2 in classic)
- Getting 3 Face Cards is considered the best possible hand
If both BANKER and PLAYER end up in TIE in terms of total hand value, the hand with the most face cards will win. If both have 3 face cards, the round will end in a TIE.
Three Card Baccarat introduces additional layers to the game making it a bit more interesting. We’d recommend playing Three Card Baccarat if you’re looking for a variant with this kind of twist.
LIVE BACCARAT is a platform by which online casino players can play Baccarat through their desktop/mobile phones. Live Baccarat is setup much like a normal baccarat table you’d find in a brick-and-mortar casino:
- Live Dealer
- Baccarat Table (usually a mini)
The main exception being that players are viewing the Live Dealer and
the Baccarat Table through a camera. The rules remain the same all throughout.
A Live Baccarat table’s user-interface may appear daunting at first. But don’t worry, we’re going to explain everything you see on the screen for you!
Refer to the image above for a breakdown of a typical user interface of a Live Baccarat in a Live Casino:
- SECTION 1 Indicates the game currently displayed on screen. In this case, the game being played is a No Commission version of Baccarat.
- SECTION 2 This is the selection to change the camera angle/view of the table and/or the Live Dealer. Most casinos offer multiple angles to view their lovely Live Dealers.
- SECTION 3 This section indicates the current time of the game. It also features a number for a mobile phone a player can call to confirm whether or not the game is indeed happening live. Trust is very important between players and online casinos. This verification is to establish that trust.
- SECTION 4 This lists the other game rooms players can play in. Some casinos even offer a Multi-Play feature where players can play multiple tables at once!
- SECTION 5 This section complements what is indicated in SECTION 3. This number, however, is physically by the Live Baccarat table as opposed to the digital display of the other section.
- SECTION 6 These are the different roadmaps available for users to keep track of the game results. It’s complete with the major versions of an online roadmap such as
- Pearl Road
- Big Eye Road
- Small Road
- Cockroach Road
- SECTION 7 This are the different betting options available for players of this particular Live Baccarat room. Dragging your selected bet amount on any of their designated areas will place your wager – much like in land-based casinos! This is a digital overlay and does not appear on the actual Baccarat table with the Live Dealer.
Live Baccarat is arguably the most popular medium by which Baccarat is played in online casinos. It replicates the feel of land-based casinos have with their Baccarat tables. We’d even go as far as to say that most land-based casinos do not feature sexy Live Dealers 24/7, unlike online casinos, do!
Where To Play Baccarat: Land-Based Casinos vs Online Casinos
Aside from different kinds of Baccarat, there are also different avenues of playing Baccarat – and no, we’re not talking about different casinos. We’re talking about the wave of Online Casinos!
Online Casinos have seen a sharp rise in daily users. The convenience of playing in the comfort of one’s home is appealing to a huge part of the gambling market. And why shouldn’t it? Imagine playing collecting big payouts with nothing but your underwear on – no need to dress nicely for an online casino!
Despite the obvious appeal, a chunk of the gambling market still flock to land-based casinos. In the same token, why shouldn’t they? Land-based casinos nowadays offer way more than just a place to gamble. They’ve turned into hotels, resorts, spas, and even shopping centers with movie theaters!
Both online casinos and land-based casinos offer Baccarat tables. It’s mainly a matter of upping each other in terms of the player experience. We’ve gathered some general denominators that can help you decide where to play Baccarat.
Land-based casinos get an early lead when it comes to the ambiance of playing Baccarat. The casino floor is filled with possibly dozens of other tables playing the same game as you. That’s not even mentioning the flashy and loud sounds of the slot machines going off some steps away. You’ve got free food and drinks going around served by attendants too!
Land-based casinos will deliver everything to your table – so they can keep you playing there. But hey, if that’s right up your alley, then playing Baccarat in land-based casinos are for you.
Online casinos, on the other hand, offer a different kind of atmosphere. Online Casinos are perfect people who are:
Home-bodied people are the kind of people whose life and interests are centered in their home. Online casinos nowadays deliver the joy (and rewards) of gambling right in the comfort of your home. Dressing up in your most comfortable clothes to play your favorite casino games doesn’t sound like a bad deal at all!
Considering the previous target market we cited, how can On-The-Go people be a market for online casinos? Smartphones, that’s how!
Approximately 60-65% of online casino players are playing on their mobile phones. It shouldn’t be surprising as the smartphone market penetration is continuously growing as the years go on. Smartphones have also become significantly more accessible in terms of usability and pricing – further increasing the appeal of smartphones and what they have to offer.
Online casinos have ridden this wave of tapping a previously untapped market. People on public transportation can simply play online casino while commuting to work. Heck, you can even play in the toilet if your WiFi or Mobile data allows you to! Oh, the possibilities of being able to play casino games anytime and anywhere!
The Rewards / Promotions
What rewards and promotions are offered tend to make or break a casino. Prizes are easily visible in land-based casinos with players winning left-and-right. The sight of bright lights going off in slot games, and people walking with stacks of chips to the cashier so they can get their cold hard cash is an experience exclusive to brick-and-mortar casinos.
Land-based casinos also offer additional rewards:
- Free stays at their hotels
- Cash raffles/giveaways
- Luxury prizes such as international trips and luxury gadgets/cars
The ease of being able to physically interact with their winners allow land-based to casinos to promise and deliver on these prizes.
Only a handful of online casinos can promise and, more so, deliver big prizes like land-based casinos can. But that doesn’t mean online casino operators are down-and-out when it comes to rewards and promotions.
The sight of other people winning is replicated by online casinos with a real-time announcement of big winners and blog posts about their biggest winners for the day/week/month.
Physical rewards are not lost on online casino operators. The pleasure of holding your prize is a proven tool to keep players coming back for more. That’s why operators have started establishing on-the-ground assets to deliver physical rewards to their players. These rewards range from knick-knacks such as mugs to more expensive prizes like flagship smartphones!
But what online casinos have an edge over are the number of bonuses they can give to players. With a back-end system running the show, online casinos have the capacity to design promotions such as:
- Welcome Bonus Packages
- Birthday Bonus
- Cash-Backs / Rebates
- Online Casino Tournaments
The success of these online casino promotions are indicative of a market of players who are simply looking to have fun without all the frills.
The VIP Treatment
The VIP Treatment is probably where land-based casinos have a clear edge over online casinos. This is usually reserved for casino high-rollers who get picked up by the casino in luxury cars, provided with not just rooms but suites in the hotels, all-expense paid trips abroad, and exclusive access to high-stakes tables with other high-rollers in the casino.
If what we’ve mentioned already sounds fantastic, we’ll have you know that these are just the surface of what land-based casinos can offer their VIP club members. There is so much more behind the scenes.
So, what do online casinos have? Well, they can pay for all of what land-based casinos offer (except for access to high-stakes tables; you might pay for that yourself). It’s not uncommon for big online casino operators to offer all-expense paid trips to some pristine location on the planet. But much like in The Rewards / Promotions section, not a lot of online casinos can offer these same luxuries for VIPs.
What online casinos usually can offer VIPs are:
- Priority Deposit/Withdrawal
- Personalized Promotions
- Dedicated VIP Manager
- Luxury prizes (trips abroad / gadgets)
- Increased withdrawal limits and cash-backs
There’s a whole lot more both can offer on their own. What we do know, however, is that for you to get into these VIP circles (in both casinos) is that you’re gonna have to pay with your wagers.
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