Baccarat - How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat (pronounced with silent "t") is a casino card game. It is essentially a betting game since the participants do nothing but bet on which of two sides is going to win. The word is rooted in the Italian word "baccara" meaning zero, perhaps due to the high number of cards valued at zero in the game.

VERSIONS. Baccarat is found in two versions in casinos. There is Big Bac which can be played by up to 14 players and is reserved for high rollers. And there is Mini Bac for regular players and can have up to 8 participants.

DECK & DEALING. Baccarat is usually played with 6-8 decks from a shoe. Big Bac has 3 dealers, Mini Back just one.

GOAL. The objective of Baccarat participants or bettors is to bet on who is going to win, the side called PLAYER or the one called BANK. These names are only for convenience. The side who gets a total card score closest to 9 wins.

CARD VALUES. Cards 2-9 have face value. Ace is counted as 1. But 10 and court cards are 0. If cards total two digits, the second digit is dropped, so 12 becomes 2.

BETTING. Bettors can bet on either Player, Bank or Tie. If you bet on the Bank, there is a small commission taken from it. This is to compensate for the advantage the Bank side has over the Player side. If not for this, bettors would just bet on the Bank every time and win in the long run.

PLAY. Each side is dealt two cards each. The dealer turns up all the cards and totals them. If either Player or Bank has a "natural" (a 2-card total of 8 or 9), play ends the that side wins. If both sides have naturals, the one with a higher score wins. If the score is the same, it is a tie.

If neither side has a natural, this is what happens: The dealer always turns first to the Player cards. If the Player cards total 0-5, the Player must draw a third and final card. Should the Player have 6-9 instead, the Player side must stand.

If the Player stands at a score of 6-7, the Bank must draw if it has 0-5 total and stand if 6-9 total. The Bank must always draw with a hand of 0-2 unless the Player possesses a natural.

For a Bank 2 card total of 3, it must draw unless the Player got a 3 card total of 8. Then the Bank has to stand.

For a Bank 2 card total of 4, it draws if the Player got a 2-7 total after a third card. Otherwise Bank stands.

For a Bank 2 card total of 5, it draws if the Player got a 4-7 total on its third card. Otherwise Bank stands.

For a Bank 2 card total of 6, it draws if the Player got a 6-7. Otherwise Bank stands.

On total score of 7-9, Bank always stands.


This may seem a bit complicated. But here is the cool thing with baccarat: you do NOT have to know anything about the game to play it. The dealer will supervise everything and you just have to bet on which side you like!