How To Play Baccarat: Beginner’s Guide

by Bojan • April 2, 2021
how to play baccarat

The irresistible charm and elegance of baccarat still attract millions of players. As an iconic card-guessing game, baccarat combines straightforward rules with exciting gameplay. Yet, the mysterious nature of James Bond’s favourite game intimidates some casino fans. It’s a natural reaction to fear the unknown, and those players probably don’t know how to play baccarat or don’t understand the rules.

To help them grasp the basics, we prepared a comprehensive baccarat guide. From the game’s history to its primary betting options, you’ll find everything here. So, without further ado, let’s check what you need to know about baccarat.

Eight Quick Facts About Baccarat

  • The origins of baccarat are shrouded in mystery, but most traces point to 14th century Italy as the home of this card game.
  • In Roman languages (Italian and French), the word baccarat translates to “zero.”
  • Face cards in baccarat have a value of zero. All other cards hold their face value.
  • In baccarat, the goal is to predict which side will come closer to 9, the Banker or the Player.
  • Banker, Player, and Tie are the primary bets in baccarat. Depending on the version, side bets can also be on the menu.
  • The lowest house advantage on baccarat bets comes with the Banker bet (1.06%).
  • The Tie wager in baccarat holds the highest house edge of 14.36%.
  • The sum of two cards giving 8 or 9 is known as a “natural.” Unlike blackjack, you cannot go ‘bust’ in baccarat.

The History of Baccarat

According to most experts, the origins of baccarat go back to 14th century Italy. Even though there’s not much evidence to support the claim, many agree that higher social statuses used to play baccarat with tarot cards.

In the 18th and 19th century, the game’s popularity exploded in France. Soon after, it spread across the globe, with more and more players trying to learn how to play baccarat.

During the 1950s and 60s, baccarat’s popularity skyrocketed due to James Bond movies. For instance, the movie Dr No from 1962 with Sean Connery playing the game cemented baccarat’s place in popular culture. Other films from the franchise also featured baccarat, together with other casino games.

With the arrival of online casinos, baccarat also jumped on the bandwagon and joined the virtual gambling world. Likewise, the recent adoption of mobile gambling resulted in baccarat’s availability on smartphones and tablets.

How To Play The Baccarat Card Game

Now that you know more about baccarat’s development, it’s time to see what makes it so appealing to players worldwide.

As we already said, baccarat is essentially a card-guessing game. The goal is to predict whether the Banker or the Player, two sides in the game, will come closer to number 9. Like the number 21 is in blackjack, 9 is the holy grail of playing baccarat.

Nowadays, US online casinos offer several baccarat types. But if you want to understand how to play baccarat, game variations will not make much difference. No matter if you join a table of Punto Banco, Chemin de Fer, Mini-Baccarat, or Super 6 Baccarat, the fundamentals remain the same. In any version, you’ll choose from three primary bets: Banker, Player, and Tie.

By placing the chips on one of these three fields, players will try to predict the round’s outcome. Once the players put the wagers, the dealer provides two cards for the Banker side and two for the Player. The side that comes closer to 9 wins the round. So, if someone asks how to play baccarat and win, there’s the answer.

Of course, this can be easier said than done. For instance, combinations where the sum of your two cards is 8 or 9, the so-called naturals, are pretty rare. Let’s remind you that 10s and face cards (J, Q, K) hold zero value. Other cards stick with their face value, while the Ace has a value of 1.

Now that you know more about baccarat basics, it’s time to see how the game behaves in action at the best online casinos in the US.

How To Play Baccarat Online

The online and land-based baccarat share the same premise, but there are a couple of differences between these two playing options.

It all starts with generous casino bonuses and promotions that modern gambling sites offer. Also, online casinos have no floor space restrictions. Thus, they can offer an unlimited number of baccarat tables with multiple game variations. Also, you don’t have to be a high-roller to find a seat at an online table. For example, Mini-Baccarat accepts low-stakes bets.

If you were wondering how to play baccarat at a casino in Las Vegas or Macau, you should bring with you a sizable amount in your pocket. Remember, there’s no demo mode in brick-and-mortar venues. On the other hand, online casinos will let you try the games for free. With no risk to your bankroll, you can play free baccarat and experiment with various strategies.

Online baccarat can be fast-paced and exciting. The software will do most of the work, and your only task is to click on the bet you wish to place and select the amount for wagering. That said, experienced players emphasise the importance of having a baccarat strategy.

How To Play Baccarat: Strategy and Money Management

Like in almost any casino game, money management holds the key to success. In other words, players should follow several rules and principles to avoid heavy losses.

For example, always set win/lose limits to control spending while playing baccarat. Likewise, players should never go all-in. Although Hollywood depicts this wager as a heroic act, this is not recommended in real life.

So, what would be a good strategy for baccarat; how to play the game? First, stick to the Banker bet because this wager is more likely to win than lose. To be more precise, the RTP on the Banker bet is a whopping 98.94%. Admittedly, casinos charge a 5% commission on winnings collected on this wager, but the potential returns are still excellent.

Also, players should avoid placing bets on the Tie. This wagering option pays out 8:1, but the odds are far from being in your favour. Moreover, the Tie bet comes with a 14.36% house advantage.

If you want to stay longer at the table and learn how to play baccarat properly, you could also try strategies such as Martingale, Paroli, or Fibonacci. These methods could take your game to the next level, adding discipline and structure to your bets. Nonetheless, baccarat is a game where luck has the final say, and no strategy can guarantee massive winnings.

Final Thoughts

Engaging and exciting, baccarat has a habit of winning you over and turning new players into lifelong enthusiasts. After all, the game wouldn’t survive for centuries if it didn’t provide lots of enjoyment.

So, if you want to know how to play baccarat, the best course of action is to visit an online casino and start from there. Free baccarat will let you test the waters and grasp the basics with no risk to your hard-earned money. Soon, you’ll be ready to join the high-rollers and bet on the Banker, Player, or Tie.