How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is one of the oldest casino games and it is played the world over. Baccarat does have a reputation for being a game played by “high rollers” however you don’t need to have a huge bankroll or be incredibly intelligent to play baccarat. In fact, the game is as simple as flipping a coin and choosing heads or tails. The rules of baccarat are important, however, and new players should familiarize themselves before playing to ensure the best experience.

Getting Started

Baccarat has an image of being a game for high rollers because the table is usually positioned in a separate area of the casino and many times the area is roped off. The game “appears” to be for high rollers and that’s how it has gotten its reputation. The players are often dressed formally and the table minimums are usually very high. A baccarat table is about the same size as a craps table and as many as 14 people can play at a single table. Each table is managed by three casino dealers. Each player has the option of betting on either the player or the banker, including the player dealing. In most cases the dealer will bet on the banker.

The deal rotates to each player around the baccarat table. This is very similar to the way the dice rotate from player to player around the craps table. If a player does not want to deal then they can pass the shoe to the next player. While the baker is winning the dealer does not change. The dealer places two cards on the table face down and then the player will look at the cards and give them to the dealer again. At this point, the player acting as dealer will turn over the cards on the table and the casino dealer will announce the totals. In some cases, an additional card will be dealt depending on the totals of the first cards. Once the winners have been identified they will receive their payout and the money will be collected from the losers. The player acting as dealer is only responsible for turning the cards over and has no financial responsibility to others playing.

The Basics of Baccarat

Most baccarat games use eight decks of cards. Each card has a point value. Aces are one point, face cards are 0 points, and cards 2-9 have pip value. When a new shoe is introduced the dealer turns over the first card. This card will determine how many cards the dealer will burn from the deck. In the case a 10 or face card is turned over then the dealer will burn, or remove, 10 cards from the top of the deck. The cut card is a card that is placed 16 cards from the bottom of the shoe (where the cards are stored). When the cut card appears then the dealer will play one more hand and end the game. At this point, a new shoe will be introduced into the game.

Now that you know how the game is played, it’s time to get started. The game starts when the players decide who they want to bet on. Players may choose to bet on the player, the banker, or a tie. In some cases, but not often, you can bet on a player pair or a banker pair.

After the players have made their bets then the dealer deals two cards to the player and to the banker. Looking at the right digit of the cards’ total gives the score for the hand. For example, if an 8 and 6 are dealt to the player then the sum of these two cards is 14 and the score would be 4. Scores in baccarat are always between 0 and 9 and busting does not exist.

A third card may be dealt in some situations and there are rules that determine when and if a third card will be dealt. In one case, if the player has a score of 5 or less then an extra card may be dealt. If the score is between 6 and 9 then the player must stand. The second rule, and overriding rule, is that if either the banker or player has a score of 8 or 9 then both players must stand and a third card is not an option. This is the most important rule to keep in mind because none of the other rules can override this rule.

If the player stands and the banker has a score of 5 or less then he will take a hit. If the player takes a hit due to his score then there are additional rules that will apply to whether the banker must stand or can also take a hit.

Winning and Losing

The scoring of the cards has already been addressed and the scoring system never changes. The best hand in baccarat is a 9 and the worst hand is a 0. However, it’s interesting that the worst hand, a 0, is called baccarat. So, while you might enjoy playing baccarat you will never want your hand or the hand you are betting on, to be baccarat!


Baccarat – casino card game using eight decks of cards with two cards being dealt to the “player” and two to the “dealer.” Scores are between 0-9, and 9 is the best.

High roller – A player with a large sum of money to gamble with.

Dealer – The individual employed by the casino to deal out the cards.

Shoe – The box where the cards are stored and dealt from.

Pip – The face value of the cards 2-9.