Master the Rules of Baccarat
A winning hand relies heavily on luck, but you can’t go into the game counting on this alone. You’ll fare much better when you understand the baccarat rules.
The aim of baccarat is to accurately predict whether the player hand or the banker hand will have the highest value and win the round or whether it will end in a tie. The hand closest to nine is deemed the winning hand.
You can work out the hand value using the table below.
|2 – 9||Face value|
|10, Jacks, Queens, Kings||Zero points|
If the player hand totals 10 or more, we remove 10, so a score of 15 becomes five, or eleven becomes one.
What exactly “Baccarat” means
The word “baccarat” comes from the Italian “baccara”, meaning zero. The card game was initially named Baccara because the face cards and 10s are worth zero points. It became popular in France and adopted the French spelling, Baccarat.
Types of bets in baccarat
Although baccarat is essentially a game of chance, understanding the types of bets you can place is vital to your success and enjoyment. There are three main bets – a banker bet, player bet, and a tie – but you can also place several side bets to spice things up.
Your understanding of baccarat bets and rules also enables you to decide on a strategy when you’re ready to up the tempo and get your game face on. Strategies like the Martingale System, Fibonacci Strategy, or Paroli System can increase the possibility of a welcome boost to your bankroll.
1. Bet on a player
In a player bet, you back the player hand to win. A winning player hand pays out 1:1.
2. Bet on a banker
Backing the banker to win is a Banker bet. This also pays out even money for a win, but the house takes a 5% commission, so the actual payout is 1:0.95.
Because standard baccarat bets are so straightforward, players enjoy throwing in side bets to create a bit more excitement. Pairs betting is one of the more common side bets.
- Player pair
A player pair is a bet that the player’s first two cards will be the same. The payout for a win here is 11:1.
- Banker pair
A wager on the banker’s first two cards to be the same is a banker pair bet and yields the same odds for a win as a player pair.
- Perfect pair
A perfect pair is a bet that the first two cards dealt to either the player or banker are the same value and suit.
A tie bet is a wager that the banker hand and player hand are the same value. This bet pays out at 8 to 1.
5. Big hand
The player and banker can receive three cards each in a baccarat round. In a big hand bet, you wager on a total of five or six cards being dealt in the round.
6. Small hand
In contrast to a big hand bet, when you wager on a small hand, you bet on the minimum number of cards, which is four, which are dealt in the round.
7. Minimum/maximum bets
There are two types of baccarat tables. Most players will only ever encounter the mini-baccarat table, but high rollers and VIP players may get a seat at a big baccarat table.
The mini table seats up to seven players. Big tables are usually reserved for VIP areas and can seat up to 12 or 14 players.
The difference between tables is the number of people and the minimum stake limit. Mini tables have a more realistic minimum for casual players, but the requirement is higher at big tables catering to high rollers and professional players.
Other Baccarat side bets:
There are many side bets to choose from.
1. 3 Card Wins
This is a wager on either the player or banker hand to win in three cards.
2. 3 Giving 8
A 3 Giving 8 side bet wins if the banker hand totals three after two cards are dealt, the Player hand is between zero and five requiring a third card, and that third card is an eight.
Here, you bet on whether the total number of cards for the round will be four, five, or six.
4. 5 Treasures
This consists of five other side bets that must all win for the 5 Treasures bet to win. The side bets are Fortune 7, Golden 8, Blazing 7’s, Heavenly 9, and Cover All.
5. All Red/Black
This is a bet on the player hand consisting of all red cards or black cards. The baccarat odds for this bet is different for each colour, with reds paying out 22:1 and blacks paying out 24:1.
6. Banker Streak
You can place a Banker Streak side bet after a Player win or a tie, and it pays out if the Banker wins at least four consecutive hands.
7. Big and Small
Big and small side bets are wagers on the number of cards dealt for a hand. A Big bet wins if either the player or banker hand or both has three cards, and a Small bet wins if each hand consists of only two cards.
8. Big Tiger
A wager on the banker to win with a points total of six in a three-card hand. Any other total results in a lost bet.
9. Bad Beat Baccarat
Bad beat refers to the one-point winning margin of each side bet that makes up Bad Beat Baccarat. The five side bets are:
- Three-Card 9 beats Three-Card 8
- Natural 9 beats Natural 8
- 8 beats 7
- 7 beats 6
- Another margin of victory of 1
10. Contrast Bonus Baccarat
This pays out if all the player cards are one colour and all the banker cards are the opposite colour.
You wager on a hand value being an even or odd number.
12. Golden Frog
Golden Frog is a simple bet on the outcome of a hand. These are the side bets in Golden Frog.
- Any 8 beats any 6
- Two-Card 9 beats Two-Card 7
- Three-Card 9 beats Three-card 1
- Three-Card 9 beats Three-Card 7
13. Kill the Ox/Tiger
This side bet pays out 30:1 if either the player hand is a three-card six that ties or loses, or the banker has a three-card seven and ties or loses the hand.
14. Ox 6
This bet wins if the player hand wins the round on a three-card six.
15. Small Tiger
A Small Tiger bet wins if the banker hand totals six with two cards and wins the round.
16. Royal 9
A Royal 9 hand consists of a face card and a nine. This side bet is a wager on the player hand, banker hand or both having a Royal 9.
17. Side Totals
You bet on either the banker or the player hand to total a specific number of points from 0 – 9.
The Tiger side bet pays out if the banker wins with a total of eight in three cards.
19. Tiger Pair
You win if either the banker’s or player’s first two cards are a pair or if both hands together yield a pair in the first two cards.
20. Dragon Bonus
A popular bet where you back either the player or banker hand to win by a natural (a two-card hand of 8 or 9) or more than four points.
21. Dragon Dragon Progressive
This wager is on a combination of all the cards in the round. Baccarat payouts start from three of a kind out of four cards, with six of a kind winning the jackpot.
22. Duo Bao
Duo Bao baccarat allows you to make several poker side bets on the combined game cards. Six of a kind pays out the most, followed by a royal flush, with three of a kind having the lowest odds.
An Egalite bet is a wager on a tie between the banker and the player hands. It differs from the tie bet in the base game as you allocate a specific value.
24. Either Pair
You bet on either the banker or player hand having a pair in their first two cards.
25. First Two Banker/Player Cards Same Suit
In this side bet, you wager on either the banker’s or player’s first two cards being the same suit.
26. Jackpot Baccarat
This wager is on the first four cards dealt in the game to create one of several poker hands.
27. Lucky 6
Lucky 6 pays out when the banker hand totals six.
28. Lucky Nines
Lucky Nines pays out on the number of nines in the first four cards dealt.
29. Lucky 99
You win this side bet if either hand gets a natural nine.
30. Panda 8
Panda 8 is a bet on the player’s hand, totalling eight in three cards and winning the round.
31. Dragon 7
This side bet wins if the banker hand totals seven in three cards and wins the round.
The odds and payouts
This table summarises the odds, payout and house edge for the most popular baccarat bets.
The house edge is the percentage of all bets that the households back as profit. With a house edge of just 1.06% in its base game, baccarat is one of the casino games most favourable to players.
The basic gameplay and objective remain the same across all baccarat versions, but you may encounter some rule variations.
- No or low commission – Some online casinos reduce the 5% commission on banker wins, and some remove it altogether.
- Dragon Tiger – Instead of dealing two cards to the banker and player, each side receives one card. You place a Dragon bet, Tiger bet or bet on a tie, as well as several side bets.
Baccarat has developed over the years, yielding several popular variants. The best-known of these are Mini-Baccarat, the most common version; Chemin de Fer, a French version; and Punto Banco, a Cuban version that accommodates up to 14 players.
After two cards, if the player or banker hand totals eight or nine, they both stand. The player also stands on a hand of six or seven, but if the player hand is five or less, a third card is dealt. The following table indicates when the banker should hit or stand.
|Banker’s Score||Player’s Third Card|
|H = HIT S = STAND|
How to play baccarat – Breakdown of a round
It’s time to put your knowledge of baccarat rules to the test. This is how you can expect a round of baccarat to play out.
- Fund your balance
Some casinos may have demo versions of baccarat, but the real test comes when you play with money. Ensure that you have sufficient funds in your casino account to give yourself a fighting chance.
- Place your bets
Ease yourself in by placing a straightforward player or banker bet, and leave the side bets until you are more familiar with the basics.
- The Dealer will now deal the cards
The game doesn’t start until all bets are in. The dealer and each player receive two cards, and the total of your cards determines your next play.
The one I bet on got “Natural”!
A natural is a two-card combination totalling eight or nine, with nine beating a natural eight. A natural nine wins the hand outright, and you can check your payout on the table in step number five.
- Dealer counts the dealt cards
Now the dealer totals his cards and depending on his and the player hand, he may take a third card to determine the game’s outcome.
Finally, the dealer pays out based on your bet. Baccarat payouts vary according to the type of bet.
Keep in mind that the dealer will take commission as well
Remember that Banker bets are subject to a 5% commission which you settle when you cash in at the table. The house also keeps back a small portion of all bets, so you’ll never find a 100% return to player rate.