Beginner’s Guide to Baccarat Strategy and Rules

You don’t have to be James Bond to learn how to play Baccarat! Baccarat is a simple, popular game. It’s based on chance – you don’t need any special skills or tactics to win – and affords the house an extremely low advantage of 1.17%, making it popular with players all around the world, regardless of their level. 

Having been popularised by its association with a certain ‘00’ agent, Baccarat is a great option for novice players looking to emulate the glamour of the distinguished European casinos. Our handy Baccarat guide for beginners can teach you the rules of Baccarat, as well as odds and strategy, giving you a solid foundation for when you next step into the casino. 

History

Baccarat was invented in Italy during the 1400s, where it was named ‘Zero,’ the lowest score in the game. It was subsequently exported to France, where it became popular amongst the French aristocracy. Over the years there have been a couple of variations of the game, namely ‘Chemin de Fer’ and ‘Mini-Baccarat’, however, it was the version of the game called ‘Punto Banco’ which really captured the public’s imagination. Baccarat is now an immensely popular casino game all around the world, from Las Vegas to Macau, appealing to both high-rollers and beginners. 

How to Play Baccarat

First off, let’s explore Baccarat rules and gameplay. Baccarat is played between a player and a banker. The aim of the game is to bet correctly on who has a higher points total at the end of the round. Numbered cards have face value, aces have a value of one, and 10s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings have a value of zero.

The way in which Baccarat values cards is slightly different to other card games. If the sum of the two cards reaches two digits, the left digit gets dropped. For example, if a player is dealt with a seven and an eight, their total would be five, not 15, because the left digit gets dropped. In Baccarat, the highest points total you can score is nine.

The player and the banker are both dealt two cards. Depending on the sum total of these two cards, there are numerous Baccarat rules for what happens next:

The winning hand is then calculated. 

Altogether, there are three ways in which you can bet:

Baccarat Odds

Now, let’s take a look at Baccarat odds. Betting on the player gives the house an edge of just 1.24% while betting on the banker provides an even lower house edge of 1.06%. Despite the 5% commission that a winning bet on the banker exacts, it’s definitely the bet which provides the best odds for players. Betting on a tie gives the house an edge of 14.4%. It’s a risky bet, but the potential rewards are enormous!

Tips and Strategy

The truth is that Baccarat is a game of chance, and there’s very little that a player can do to influence the result, except, of course, to bet correctly! 
The best strategy to use when you’re learning how to play Baccarat is to make smart bets. The payout for a tie bet is enormous, but if you bet on a tie too regularly, you could end up getting stung! To finish in the black, it’s best to apply a Martingale or Paroli strategy, minimizing the house edge as much as you can.