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How to Play Baccarat

charlotte paisley
Written By Charlotte Paisley 10 min read

Baccarat is one of the most-played online casino games. Due to its simple rules and great odds, it’s an ideal table game for both beginners and experienced players. Read on and learn how to play baccarat within 10 minutes.

What is the Objective of the Game?

The object of baccarat is to bet on the outcome of a two-card hand dealt to the player and banker. Players aim to predict which hand, player or banker, will have a total closest to nine without exceeding it, or if it will be a tie.

Card Values and How to Add Up Points

Baccarat is typically played with 8 decks of cards, sometimes 6. Cards are dealt from a dealing shoe.

Each card has a point value. Numbered cards (two to nine) are worth their face value - so if you draw a three, it is worth three points. Face cards and 10s are worth zero points in baccarat. The Ace is worth one point.

The sum of the card values determines the hand's total. 

If the total is 10 or more, only the last digit of the total is considered. For example, a 7 and an 8 equal 15, so the hand value is 5. In the case of a 10 or 20, the total hand value equals 0.

card values baccarat

How is Baccarat Played?

The easiest way to understand how to play baccarat is by looking at how the game is played in steps. 

Let's have a look at how a round works and how the cards are dealt.

  1. Betting Phase: The dealer invites players to place bets on whether the "Player" or the "Banker" will have a hand closest to nine or if they will tie. 

    A tie, when neither the banker nor the player wins or loses, pays out 8 to 1. 

    There are also other betting options (a pair) that we will explain later.

  2.  Initial Card Deal: The dealer will call: “No more bets” and draw the cards. 

    Cards are dealt face-up to the "Player" and "Banker." Each receives 2 cards. The values of these cards are added.

  3. Revealing Hands: Both the "Player" and "Banker" reveal their cards, and their values are calculated.

  4. Potential Third Card: Depending on the initial hand values, the dealer decides whether a third card will be drawn for either the "Player" or "Banker," following predetermined rules. 

    We’ll explain below which hand values trigger a third card draw and what these predetermined rules are.

  5. Announcing the Winner: The dealer determines the winning hand by comparing their total values. The hand closest to 9 wins and winning bets are paid out accordingly.

Understanding Third Card Rules

In baccarat, a third card can be drawn for either the "Player" or the "Banker," but the circumstances under which this happens depend on specific rules

Below we'll describe the conditions for drawing a third card.


These rules add a level of strategy and complexity to the game, but don’t worry, they are predetermined and followed strictly by the dealer. Players are not involved in the decision-making process.

The Player’s Hand:

  • If the initial total of the first two cards is 0-5, a third card is drawn automatically.
  • If the initial total is 6 or 7, the "Player" stands and no third card is drawn.

The Banker’s Hand:

The rules related to the Banker drawing a third card are more complex and depend on the "Player's" third card (if drawn) and the "Banker's" initial total.

To make it easier to understand when the banker must stand or draw a card, we’ve created the chart below:

Player Draws a…
The Bank must...

Draw with:Stand with:
2 or 30-4
4 or 50-5
6 or 7
6 or 70-6
Ace, 9, 10, or a Face Card

Types of Baccarat Bets

In online baccarat, several types of bets are available, each with its own payout, odds and characteristics. Here's an overview of the most common bets:

Player Bet

You bet on the "Player" to win. If the "Player" does win, you're paid even money (1:1), meaning a $10 bet wins $10.

  • Odds of winning: 44.63%
  • House edge 1.24%

Banker Bet

You bet on the "Banker" to win. If the "Banker’s" hand wins, you're paid even money (1:1) minus a small commission (usually 5%).

  • Odds of winning: 45.87%
  • House edge 1.06%

Because, statistically, the Banker will win slightly more hands, a common baccarat strategy is to always bet on the Banker. That’s also why casinos charge a 5% commission on winning Banker bets to maintain their house edge.

Tie Bet

You bet that the "Player" and "Banker" will tie. Tie bets offer higher payouts (typically 8:1 or 9:1), but they are less likely to occur.

  • Odds of winning: 9.51%
  • House edge: 14.36%

Pair Bet

You bet that the first two cards dealt to either the "Player" or "Banker" will be a pair. Pair bets have varying payout odds depending on the specific pair (e.g., Player Pair or Banker Pair).

Player pair

A player pair bet in baccarat is a wager on the player's initial two cards forming a pair, such as two 7s. This bet usually pays out 11:1.

Banker pair

Same as “Player pair” only here the banker’s initial two cards are to form the pair.

Perfect pair

A perfect pair bet in baccarat is a wager on both the player’s and banker's initial two cards forming a pair, such as two 6s. This specific outcome offers a higher payout.

Big Bet

You bet that the total number of cards dealt between the "Player" and "Banker" will be at least 5. This bet often pays even money (1:1).

Small Bet

You bet that the total number of cards dealt between the "Player" and "Banker" will be 4. This bet usually pays even money (1:1) as well.

Natural Win Bet

You wager that the winning hand will be a natural (a two-card hand totalling 8 or 9). This bet offers varying payout odds based on the specific natural hand.

Dragon Bonus Bet

An additional bet that pays based on the point difference between the "Player’s" and "Banker’s" hands, offering various payout odds depending on the spread.

Although online baccarat games may also offer side bets with different names and rules, these are the standard bets you'll commonly encounter.

The Baccarat Table

baccarat table

Learning how to play baccarat without understanding the layout of a baccarat table is practically impossible. We'll explain below.

Typically, a standard baccarat table accommodates up to 14 players, with specific markings and areas for placing bets on Player, Banker, or Tie bets.

Once chips are added to the table, an etiquette rule comes into play: players should refrain from touching their chips until the round concludes.

Depending on the online baccarat casino or level of activity, there can be various table layouts. These include full-size, mini, and midi baccarat tables, each with its own gameplay dynamics. 

The choice of table can impact the pace and style of the game.

Online RNG baccarat tables often feature a much simpler layout as players play by themselves, interacting with a virtual interface. There’s a single space where players click on their desired chip value and select their preferred bet.

Players can check bet limits easily, typically found in the game rules tab, and anytime during the game.


Baccarat is a game steeped in tradition and superstition. To ward off any potential bad luck, the number 13 is sometimes omitted and replaced with the number 15 on the table layout.

7 Tips for Playing Baccarat

  1. Understand the Rules and Strategies: Before diving into online baccarat, make sure you fully understand the game's rules and various strategies. 

    Familiarize yourself with the basics of betting, the card values, and the third-card rule. Learning about strategies like the Martingale or the Paroli system can also give you an edge.

  2. Manage Your Bankroll Wisely: Effective bankroll management is crucial. 

    Set a budget for your gaming session and stick to it. Avoid chasing losses by betting more than you can afford to lose. 

    Also, consider using a betting strategy that suits your budget, such as flat betting or setting win/loss limits.

  3. Bet on the Banker: Statistically, the Banker bet has a slightly better advantage over the Player bet in baccarat. 

    While both bets have a house edge, the Banker bet's commission (usually 5%) is offset by its higher winning probability.

     Consider focusing more on Banker bets for better odds.

  4. Play “No Commission Baccarat:” “No Commission Baccarat” is a variation of the classic card game Baccarat which still pays out even money (1:1) but without any commission deducted.

    The drawing rules for the Player and Banker remain the same but the elimination of the commission fee lowers the house edge by approximately 1.24%.

  5. Avoid the Tie Bet: The Tie bet may seem tempting due to its high payout, but it also has a significantly higher house edge, making it a riskier choice. 

    It's generally advisable to steer clear of the Tie bet unless you're feeling exceptionally lucky.

  6. Play Mini or Midi Baccarat: Mini and Midi baccarat versions often have lower minimum bets compared to full-size baccarat tables. Playing at these tables can help you stretch your bankroll and play more conservatively.

  7. Practice and Start Small: When learning how to play baccarat, it's best to practice with smaller stakes to get a feel for the game and the specific online platform you're using. 

    Many online casinos offer free baccarat games or low-stakes tables, allowing you to hone your skills and strategies without risking substantial amounts.

Congratulations! Now you know how to play Baccarat. 

It's important to practice responsible gambling, enjoy the game, and be prepared for both winning and losing streaks. 

Always gamble within your means and seek entertainment value rather than relying on baccarat as a source of income.

Remember that baccarat is a game of chance and no strategy can guarantee consistent wins.

Baccarat FAQ

What is the objective in baccarat? chevron-down-icon

The objective in baccarat is to bet on which hand, the Player’s or Banker’s, will have a total closest to nine without exceeding it, or if it will be a Tie.

Is playing baccarat hard? chevron-down-icon

No, learning how to play baccarat is easy. Players only make two decisions: what to wager on (Player, Banker, or Tie) and the bet amount. There are no complex strategies or additional choices involved.

What is the house edge in baccarat? chevron-down-icon

Baccarat is known for having a relatively low house edge compared to many other casino games. Betting on the Banker has a slightly lower house edge than betting on the Player or a Tie.

Is baccarat a game of skill or luck? chevron-down-icon

Baccarat is primarily a game of luck, as players have no control over the cards' distribution. However, understanding the rules and strategies for betting can help improve your odds of winning.

What is a "Natural" in baccarat? chevron-down-icon

A "Natural" in baccarat occurs when the first two cards dealt to either the Player or Banker form a total of 8 or 9. If a natural is obtained, that hand wins automatically and no more cards are drawn.

What are “Third card rules” in baccarat? chevron-down-icon

Third card rules in baccarat dictate when an additional card is drawn. It's based on the total value of the first two cards for the Player and Banker. Specific conditions trigger a third card, adding complexity and strategy to the game.

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