Baccarat

Complete online baccarat guide covering rules, strategy and history.

Baccarat Top Tips

  • Play games with as few decks as possible to increase your odds of winning.
  • Never bet on tie, where the house edge is five times more than it is for the banker and player bets at 5%.
  • Previous games will not affect the current game. The same result can occur hundreds of times in a row.
  • The banker bet carries a slightly lower house edge than the player bet, making it the best bet in the game.

Baccarat (or Punto Banco as it’s sometimes called) is, contrary to popular belief, one of the easiest casino games to play, despite its reputation of style, elegance and sophistication.

The aim of both offline and online baccarat is to draw a two-card or three-card hand that totals closer to nine than the banker’s hand. Card skills aren't required — the player merely chooses one out of three eventualities and then watches as the cards are dealt and winning bets are paid. The primary bets in the game are the banker (banco) or player (punto).

The winner is the player whose baccarat score is the closest to nine, achieved by simply adding up the card values, with nine being the best hand. The baccarat score is the last number of the total value of all the cards dealt. For example, if a nine and an eight are dealt, the total value is 17 and the baccarat score is therefore seven (just drop the value of the tens digit). So, in this case, 9 + 8 = 17, and when the tens digit is dropped, the baccarat score is 7.

While baccarat might seem confusing at first, it’s actually one of the easiest games to play in a casino. To play baccarat you must bet on either the player winning, the dealer winning or a tie (sometimes called a standoff). As there are no other decisions to be made, this game can actually be played at optimum strategy without understanding the rules.

Variations

As with most casino games there are variations of baccarat. One of these is “Chemin de Fer”. This is the original version of the game, which is played mainly in France and was made famous as James Bond’s game of choice. One other not so popular variation is Baccarat Banque, which is sometimes referred to as European Baccarat. Given this tendency for the game to evolve in different regions, it’s no surprise that baccarat is one of the most popular games the world over — especially with Asian gamblers and high-rollers.

More than five hundred years old, baccarat’s true origin is surrounded by myth. As legend tells it, a gambler named Felix Falguirein invented the game with a deck of tarot cards based on a popular legend of his time and exported it from Italy around Europe. However, it’s just as likely that the game originated in France.

Despite its 500-year history, baccarat wasn’t introduced to the United States until the 1950s, where the game rules were slightly tweaked to create the Punto Banco variation that’s so popular today.