Baccarat Guide for Beginners

Published: 6 May 2020

Written by: BryanL

baccarat guide for beginners image

Baccarat, along with roulette, blackjack, poker and craps, is considered one of the big five casino table games.  Yet, it has often been approached with some reservation by an average table game player.  Our baccarat guide for beginners is there to reduce any gambling anxiety that you might have and give you a few hints on how to play and win. 

History of baccarat

For a long time, baccarat has been associated with the upper classes, glitzy casinos and James Bond-style setups.  Although some records indicate that baccarat was first introduced to France in the 15th century by soldiers returning from the Franco-Italian War, it was only in the 19th century that the game became the preferred vice of the French nobility.  As gambling was illegal in France at the time, the game was played in the salons and private gambling rooms of the wealthy. 

Over the years, various versions of the game came about to streamline the gameplay.  These included the original three-person baccarat banque game, the modified two-person chemin de fer, as well as the widely popular baccarat punto banco, which took off in the Havana casinos in the 1940s and remains the most popular version of the game today.

Rules for Playing Baccarat Successfully

To pull off a successful round of baccarat, you need to familiarise yourself with the basic rules of the game.  Although at first, it all might appear a bit overwhelming, the rules guiding baccarat punto banco gameplay are pretty straightforward and can be summed up as follows:

  1. You have three bets that you can exercise. Two are either on the banker’s or the player’s hands, with the remaining one being on a tie.  You win when your bet is placed on one of the resulting outcomes.
  2. To commence the game, both the player and the banker get dealt two cards.
  3. Occasionally, the banker or the player will also receive a third card. However, neither of them can autonomously decide to draw a third card, as the rules of the game determine this.  For online baccarat, the third card is dealt out automatically by the game, when it becomes necessary.   
  4. All the face cards and the ten count as zero, aces are worth one and the remaining cards hold their face value.
  5. When tallying the values of the cards, you’ll only take into consideration the final digit of a number (e.g. 11 counts as 1, or 17 counts as 7).
  6. Whoever gets their score closest to nine will win the round.

Betting on a Player or a Banker

While it might appear that both the banker and the player hold equal chances of winning, the banker’s cards statistically carry a slight advantage over the player’s ones, due to the rules governing the third card.  The third card rules are rather complex and are fully automated on an online game of baccarat.  Due to these rules, the banker is expected to win more hands in the long run. 

However, there are perks to bet on the player too.  All the winnings that a player collects will go to you.  Alternatively, should you bet on a banker, five per cent of your winnings will need to go to the bank.  In the end, you can have a mixed approach, switching you bets from banker to player and vice versa.     

Betting on a Tie

The primary advantage of betting on a tie is that it carries a substantially larger payout since most baccarat games pay eight to one on a tie.  Sadly, only about ten per cent of hands in baccarat do result in a tie.  To put it statistically in perspective, betting 100 hands on a tie will result in you winning just ten of these.  Of course, statistics are not failproof, and you could walk away with 90 wins for 100 bets placed.  Ultimately, due to its variable nature, it’s not recommended to put all your bets on ties, although including them occasionally could improve your punting outcome.  

Baccarat’s image as the bogeyman of the casino industry is mainly due to its more niche appeal by the players.  But, with the game now a staple in most inhouse and some online casinos, it has become more accessible to the masses.  We hope that you have found our guide helpful and wish you luck on your first baccarat game. 

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