How to Play Baccarat | Beginners Guide 2024

Posted by Joseph Ellison

Since it’s widely known as 007’s favorite game, baccarat has built a reputation for intimidating new players. Fear not – this casino classic is one of the simplest and player-friendly games you can find. Besides, our experts are here to teach you how to play baccarat online like a pro!

In our guide, you’ll find the basics of baccarat, top tips to help hone your strategy, game variations & more! 

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When you’re ready to try your hand at baccarat, check out the top-recommended US online casinos:

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How to Play Baccarat

Live Dealer Casino Icon

Sit Down

The first step to playing baccarat is to find a table with a spare seat. You’ll then have to place your bet on the banker, yourself as the player or a tie.

hand passing a playing card

The Deal

Two cards will be dealt to both you and the banker. The value of both hands will be revealed. If either of the hand totals 8 or 9 points, it wins the game and no more cards are dealt.

three green playing cards

Third Card Rule

If neither hand is valued at 8 or 9 after the first two cards, a third card can be dealt with the player going first. The rules of baccarat for the third card are somewhat complex, so we’ll take a closer look at them later.

Baccarat Rules: The Basics of Baccarat

Play Free Online Baccarat: Baccarat Tutorial

Free online baccarat is the best way to learn how to play baccarat in a casino environment. Online casinos feature free versions of their games for promotional reasons. Visit one of our recommended casino sites, such as Wild Casino or Bovada. Navigate to the table games section, then click on the baccarat game icon. Once prompted, choose to play the free online baccarat version, which is marked “Practice” in the prompt.

If you have more questions, take a look at this baccarat tutorial video.

How to Play Baccarat | How to Play Online Casino Games from Gamble Online on Vimeo.

How to Play Baccarat and Win

Manage Your Money Green Icon

Counting Baccarat Card Values

The hand with a card value closest to 9 wins. To determine the value of any hand, add the card values together. If the value is 10 or more, subtract 10 to get your card value.

Here are a few examples:

  • For a 3, 5 hand, the hand value would be 8 because 3 + 5 = 8.
  • For a 7, 8 hand, the hand value would be 5 because 7 + 8 = 15, then minus 10 = 5.
  • For a 9, 10 hand, the hand value would be 9 because the 10 card has a value of 0.
  • For a 9, ace hand, the hand value would be 0 because the ace has a value of 1, so 9 + 1 = 10, then minus 10 = 0.
an open book with a check mark on one page and an x on the other

Third Card Rule

a dealer stands behind a baccarat table covered in cards and chips

Once the initial two cards have been dealt, if there is no instant win, the ‘coup’ (game) continues per the drawing rules, with the player going first.

Player’s Rule

  • If a player’s hand totals between 0 and 5 points, the player will be dealt a third card.
  • If a player’s hand totals either 6 or 7 points, they stand.

Banker’s Rule

If the player ‘stands’ – i.e. has only two cards – the banker proceeds with the same rules the player had: drawing a third card if they had 0-5 points, or standing if they had 6 or 7 points.

If the player drew a third card, there are more complex rules:

Dealer’s Total Points Rule
2 or less Banker draws a card
3 Banker draws a card, unless player’s third card was an 8.
4 Banker draws a card, if the player’s third card was a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7.
5 Banker draws a card, if the player’s third card was a 4, 5, 6 or 7.
6 Banker draws a card, if the player’s third card was a 6 or 7
7 Banker stands.
a green band of cash

Baccarat Payouts

Banker bets in baccarat are the most likely to payoff. When learning how to play baccarat online, you must understand they have a house edge of just 1.06%. However, the payouts reflect this. Banker bets are typically paid out at a rate of 19:20.

For player bets, the house edge rises to 1.24%. These bets are paid out at 1:1.

We do not recommend betting on a tie because the house edge is nearly 15%. Casinos will try to entice you with a 8:1 or 9:1 payout.

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Baccarat Side Bets

Baccarat variations often offer risky side bets with high payouts. We recommend never placing side bets as the house edge is simply too high to make them worthwhile. If you are set on placing them, be sure to manage your bankroll accordingly.

Top Baccarat Strategy

man in shirt and tie with bag of money

Bet on the Banker

Though it seems counterintuitive to bet against yourself, banker bets payoff the most often in baccarat. Though the payouts can be slightly lower, they are always a sound bet.

white four leaf clover icon

Avoid Risky Bets

Side and tie bets have high house edges, meaning the casinos have a large advantage. Though they’ll try to tempt you with large payouts, we recommend steering clear of them.

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Manage Your Money

All successful gamblers know how to manage their bankroll well. In baccarat, that means playing games with stake sizes to suit your budget, never chasing losses and knowing when to stop.

Common Baccarat Game Variations

Here is a breakdown of the most common baccarat variations you’ll find at US online casinos.

Punto Banco

Punto Banco is the most common version of baccarat found in online and land-based casinos in the US.  The odds, strategy, and gameplay described in this guide apply to real-money Punto Banco. 

Chemin de Fer

Chemin de Fer is a French version typically faster than a round of Punto Banco. 

In each round, one player at the table is designated as the banker. This responsibility rotates around the table. At the start of the game, the banked places a bet which must be matched or exceeded by all the other players.

The player with the highest bet becomes the ‘chief punter’ and represents all the players. The banker and the player are dealt two face-down cards each. If neither has an 8 or 9 total value, the chief punter can choose to take a third card or stick with the hand they have.

If the banker wins, they collect the wagers from all players and keep their position for the next round. If the players win, the banker must return their original stakes plus an equal amount.

Live Dealer

Live dealer baccarat uses video streaming technology to connect you to a real-life dealer working in a casino setting. The live dealer rules are the same as you’d find in a land-based casino; you can even communicate with the dealer using the live chat feature.

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If you want specific recommendations, here is how to play baccarat at a casino online. You’ll find some of the best online baccarat options at the following sites!

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How to Play Online Baccarat FAQs

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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