Baccarat Basics


Baccarat is a card game that exudes elegance, evoking images of high-rollers in tuxedos and women in posh evening gowns laying down chips as the dealer distributes cards. Its mystique may be intimidating to first-time players, but with a little practice and patience it’s easy to learn how to play.

The goal in baccarat is to correctly predict which hand, banker or player, will have a score closest to nine when all of the pips (the dots on playing cards that represent clubs, hearts, spades, and diamonds) are added up. Aces count as one, and the winning hand is the one with a total closest to 9.

After all bets are placed, the dealer deals two cards to each of the gaming spaces at the Baccarat table-the Player box and the Banker box. A third card is only drawn if the first two cards are of equal value. If either the Player or Banker hand contains an eight or a nine, it’s a ’natural’ and automatically wins. Otherwise, a third card is dealt if the first two cards have a total of 5 or less.

Once the cards are dealt, a number of different rules apply depending on the result. If the Banker has a total of 6 or 7, he/she must hit (take another card) unless it is a ‘natural’. If the Banker has a total under 5, he/she must draw a third card if the Player has a 7 or higher. Otherwise, he/she must stand.

There are several interesting side bets available to players in baccarat, though their odds vary by establishment and platform. For example, the Player Pair bet wagers that the player and the Banker will receive matching cards on the deal. This bet pays 11:1 odds. A Player-Banker Tie bet is also possible, and it offers 8:1 odds.

It’s important to note that no single strategy can guarantee a win at baccarat. While there are strategies that can help a player minimize the house’s edge, no one has ever been able to consistently beat the game on a long term basis.

Baccarat’s popularity has skyrocketed since the advent of online casinos, making it easier than ever for players to try out this elegant and exciting game. But before you decide to put your money on the line, read our tips on how to play baccarat and increase your chances of winning.

While there are a few rules that need to be followed, the most important is to understand the game’s history. Baccarat has a rich heritage with origins that are both exotic and mysterious. The game’s earliest roots are believed to be linked to a pagan ritual that decided the fate of young virgins. The French and the Italians both claim ownership of this fascinating game, and even today, the game’s mystique continues to flourish.