How to play Baccarat

A complete guide to playing and winning for beginners

Want to become a baccarat pro? Read our comprehensive guide on how to play, bet and master 007’s favourite game; no martinis required. This handy-dandy guide will give you insight into what baccarat is, where it came from, and give you all the tips and tools you need to play and bet on baccarat with confidence. Discover why baccarat has been and still is one of the most popular casino card games for over 500 years!

What is Baccarat?

Baccarat is a table casino game played with 8 or 9 decks of playing cards. Players play against the dealer who represents the banker. Bets are placed at the start of each round with players betting on their own hand, the hand of the banker, or on a tie. The way to win baccarat is to have a hand that adds up closest to 9 in value by the end of the game. Face cards Jack, Queen, King, and 10 are all valued at 0 with Ace cards valued at 1.

Each hand starts with two cards and the value of the two cards are added up to a maximum value of 9. If the player’s cards go beyond 9 in value then 10 is taken away from the total amount and the rest of the value remains. Values that are 5 or below draw a third card that they add to the final value of the hand. If the value of the three cards is more than 10 then the player takes away 10 from the total.

The winner is then decided based on who has a closer value to 9 at the end of the game. If the player or banker hand value is 8 or 9 with their first two cards then that is an automatic win. A tie happens when both the player and the banker have the same hand value at the end of the round.

Where does Baccarat come from?

Baccarat is one of the oldest casino games in the world. Its origins date back to its invention in the 15th century by Felix Falguiere in Italy. Baccarat, or baccara, translates from Italian for ‘zero’. The name is to do with the value placed on all the Jack, Queen, King, and 10 cards.

When the popular game made its way to neighbouring France in the 1800s, it was enjoyed by French nobility. Most noteworthy of these, was the king of France himself, King Charles VIII, who became very fond of the game. It was at this time that baccara became baccarat and its popularity grew globally.

This includes being a key inspiration for Ian Fleming in the creation of the secret agent James Bond. Today, baccarat is one of the largest growing casino games and is the #1 most popular card game in Asia. Baccarat brings in over £250 million per year in the Macau region of China alone.

How to bet on Baccarat

The player can choose to bet on their own hand, the banker's hand, or on the round being a tie. The amount of potential winnings are based on which bet the player chooses. Player hand bets have a 1:1 return rate on a win. Banker hand returns at a ratio of 0.95:1 as 5% of these bets are taken by the banker as commission. A player can only bet on either player or banker on initial bets. Tie bets return on an 8:1 ratio. These can be added as an extra bet to a player or banker bet. Below is a handy cheat sheet to remembering the types of bets available:

Type of betRatio of winningsWinnings (based on £5 bet)How to win
Player1:1£10Player hand is closest to 9
Banker0.95:1£9.75Banker hand is closest to 9
Tie8:1£45Both hands are the same value
Player pair11:1£60The player hand wins without a 3rd card
Banker pair11:1£60The banker hand wins without a 3rd card

Bets can also be made on Player pair or Banker pair which show an 11:1 return ratio on successful bets. These bets achieve a win with the original two cards distributed at the start of the round. If a player’s original two cards add up to 8 and the banker’s adds up to 7 then a player pair bet will win at 11:1 original stake. These can both be bet on at the start of each game and can be added as bets to the initial player or banker bet.

Baccarat hand values and what each card means

Baccarat is played similar to a game of blackjack where each card in the deck has a value from 0-9. Face cards 10, Jack, Queen, and King always have a value of 0. Cards Ace-9 have a value of 1-9 with 9 being the highest. Each game starts with two cards and the value of those cards are added together to a maximum of 9. Below is a little cheat sheet to help you remember each card:

2-92-9 face value
Jack, Queen, King0

Once both the player and banker have their two cards, the value of the two cards is added up and that becomes the overall hand value. A hand with a 3 and a 5 will make a hand value of 8. If the value goes over 9 then the total value of the hand is the total minus 10. Once again, we got you covered with a handy little way to remember:

Hand ValueWhat happens nextExample
8 or 9Hand wins and round is over5+4=9, 4+4=8
6 or 7Hand sticks against the opponent value and highest wins3+4=7, 2+4=6
5 or lowerDraw a third card and add value to total3+2=5, King+2=2
10 or overTotal value and subtract 106+5=11-10=1 total value

The Third Card Rule

This rule applies to any hand that has an overall value of 5 or less after the hand is dealt. The player then draws a 3rd card that is added to the hand and the final value of the round. If the value of the hand is over 10 when the 3rd card is added then the total value takes away 10. In a typical game this could look like this:

Player has a 3 and a 2 in their hand equalling 5. The player draws a 3rd card with the value of 8 making the total 13. The final result for the hand is 13-10=3.

This rule also applies to the banker hand. If a third card is drawn then any bets made on player pair or banker pair will be unsuccessful.

A step-by-step guide to Baccarat

Our handy step-by-step guide will get you on the way to becoming a baccarat pro! The guide will go over everything you need to know about how to play and win baccarat.

Step 1: Place your bets

First things first, you need to place your bet. Betting combinations are found in the section above on How to Bet on Baccarat. Bets start for as little as £5 per game. Players can bet on their own hand winning, the banker hand winning, or on the game being a tie. Players can add extra bets on either the player or the banker pair.

Step 2: Playing your cards

Once players have bet, the banker will give out two cards to themselves and the player. The goal of the game is to successfully back the pair that’s combined value is closest to 9. If the player hand wins then all player bets will be paid back in winnings and vice versa with any banker bets. If the banker and player have the same hand value by the end of the game then any bets placed on tie will win. For more info on hand values we got you covered in the section above on Baccarat hand values.

Step 3: Do you need a 3rd card?

If the player or banker’s hand value adds up to 5 or less, then a third card is drawn and added to the final value. If the third card increases the value beyond 10 then the final value will be the total of all 3 cards minus 10. For more info please refer to the section on the Third Card rule above.

The banker follows the same rule as the player and their hand value is calculated the same. At the end of the round, the 3 card values are matched against each other and the value closest to 9 wins. Bets made on player pair or banker pair will not be successful if the hand requires a third card to win.

Step 4: How Player/Banker pair bets work

Spice it up by adding Player or Banker pair bets alongside your initial bet. Pair bets win when the initial two cards given win the game without the use of a third card. A pair bet can win if the chosen hand is between 6 and 9 in value as that will not gain a 3rd card. Pair bets do not need to be on the same side as the initial bet and players can place pair bets for both player and banker.

Top 5 Baccarat Tips For Beginners

  • Start with standard baccarat to practice how to play and get comfortable with the rules.
  • Start with small bets to build your confidence and set yourself a budget.
  • Stick with player/banker bets to start with to get a better understanding of how to bet and win.
  • Try out making player/banker pair bets once you get a feel for how the game plays (keep these small to start with too)
  • Remember that banker bets come with a 5% commission on each successful bet. Betting on the banker is a little safer but might not bring the best return on your bet.

Biggest differences between online and casino Baccarat

Baccarat is a popular casino game and has become a staple of the online casino experience. Here are the biggest differences between the baccarat table and playing online.

Betting amounts - Casino baccarat tables are full of high-roller players who know baccarat. Casino baccarat games can involve large bets. High-roller baccarat tables can also have high starting limits for betting. Online baccarat is more accessible for beginners as it lowers the bet amount to £5. This means you can enjoy a game of baccarat without the pressure of seasoned players.

Speed - Casino baccarat is fast-paced and dealer-focused meaning games are quick and put little focus on the player. Online baccarat puts the pace in the player’s hands meaning beginners can learn how to play.

Environment - Casino baccarat, as the name suggests, is played in person at the casino. Baccarat is a very popular casino game and there is no guarantee that there will be available space at a play table. Online baccarat is played at any time from the comfort of your home. If you are looking for that true casino feeling then live baccarat is also available where players can bet with a live dealer.

Other types of Baccarat

Now that you're a wiz at baccarat, let’s get adventurous and explore some of the popular variations of the game. There are 3 main types of baccarat and the rules of each vary depending on the version played.

Punto Banco- a variation of baccarat where the dealer handles the cards and players place bets at the beginning of each round. Punto Banco is the most played version in casinos as rounds are faster and allow for more bets per sitting. This makes it perfect for low-bet games and short bursts of play.

Chemin De Fer- Chemin De Fer uses the traditional baccarat rule set but allows a player to become the banker. Unlike baccarat banque, bankers can bet on the player or banker side each round.

Baccarat Banque- like Chemin De Fer, a player has the choice to play as the banker. Unlike that version, the player that chooses to be banker cannot bet against the bank during a game. Other players can bet on the player or banker to win as normal. Players can also challenge a banker's bet by matching it. The player who makes a successful challenge then becomes the banker for the next round. They remain as banker until another successful challenge is made.

Baccarat squeeze- identical rules to punto banco but the cards are dished out face down and revealed one at a time by lifting the card up. A great little addition that builds suspense for that final card reveal.

Where can you play Baccarat online?

You can play the best online Baccarat games today on MrQ; the UK’s #1 slot and casino site. Play today for as little as £5 per game and find out why baccarat is one of the most popular online card games in the world. MrQ has the most exciting Baccarat games including authentic Baccarat and No-commission Baccarat. For that live casino experience try out Real Baccarat with Sarati. Now you have the skills and know-how to strut up to that Baccarat table with confidence!


Is baccarat popular?

Baccarat is one of the most popular casino card games today. In Macau alone, it accounts for 88% of all casino activity and it is still the fastest growing online casino game to this day.

Is baccarat old?

Baccarat is one of the oldest casino games played today with over 500 years of history. Baccarat dates back to the 1400s making it older than other popular casino card games including blackjack, poker, and texas hold-em.

Is baccarat easy to learn?

Baccarat is very simple to learn and easy to jump in and play. Once you understand the card values and the three-card rule you have all the tools you need to confidently play baccarat.

Can I play baccarat at home?

Yes! Online baccarat is available now to play on MrQ- The UK’s #1 casino and slots site. Play exciting games including Baccarat and Live Baccarat with Sarati for that authentic casino vibe. If you consider yourself a baccarat pro, why not try out Dragon Tiger for an exciting spin on the traditional game of baccarat.

Is baccarat like blackjack?

Baccarat and blackjack share similar game rules including 2 card hand and minimum and maximum card values. The biggest difference is that in baccarat you cannot go bust if you go over the maximum hand value of 9 as the hand resets to 0 if it goes over 9.

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