For Real Money or Not: Here’s How to Play Baccarat


Baccarat is a card game that is commonly played in online casinos or their traditional brick-and-mortar counterparts. It is a popular form of gambling, which has quite a long history and story behind it. The game is thought to date back to the 19th century, although even this point is disputed, as some experts believe that baccarat was first played as far back as the 15th century by soldiers who had returned from the Italian wars.

It also has strong associations with powerful people, as the French nobility were believed to play it during the Napoleonic era. Regardless of when it was first played, it has become an immensely popular game with gambling aficionados and relative novices who enjoy card-based games of skill and luck. In many casinos, there will be the option to play baccarat for free without risking real money.

This is often introduced by online casinos to allow inexperienced players to sample this form of gambling and build their skills and strategies before playing at real money tables. Regardless of whether you wish to play for real money or simply play for fun, this article will be of benefit to new players. In it, there is a brief discussion of the basic rules of the game and card values, along with basic strategies and ways to approach the game.

The Basics


The basic rules of the game are as follows. Players are comparing cards that the “banker” (i.e., the casino) and the “player” has at each round of betting and guess who will have the better hand. There are only two sets of cards that are dealt (for the banker and player) but the game itself is commonly played by around fourteen people. This is because the people gambling do not hold the cards themselves, they are just betting on the cards that are dealt on the table.

The ideal hand to have is a combination of cards that give a final value of nine. In baccarat, this is the highest possible hand score for reasons that will be explained later. All bets are placed before the cards are dealt. If the gamblers bet on the banker and the banker has the highest score (i.e., nine, or closer to nine than the player’s hand) they will win. The same applies if they bet on the player’s hand and this proves to have the better points total.

The only other option for a win is to bet on a “tie” outcome where both the banker and the player have the same total value in their cards. The odds of this occurring are less likely than either the banker or player winning, but as a result, the pay-out is larger if this occurs and is predicted. You can read more comprehensive baccarat rules here.

Card Values


The values of baccarat cards differ from other card-based games and require a brief explanation. Cards that are numbered from two to nine represent their standard values (i.e., a four of spades would count as four). However, all the face cards (Jack, Queen, and King) count as ten points and an Ace counts as one point. Remember that the highest possible score is nine in a baccarat game.

Because of this, if two cards are drawn and the value exceeds nine, the second digit of the total is then used to determine the number. For instance, if a King and a Jack are drawn, the total score is twenty which then becomes zero by using the second digit of the sum. If a six and a nine are drawn, the total is fifteen, which then becomes a total of five.

Progression of Play

In baccarat, the cards played are held by the bettor in what is known as a shoe. A first card is drawn for the player and a card for the banker. A second card is then drawn for both the player and the banker. All bets are played before the cards are revealed and, traditionally, the person who bets the largest amount takes control of the player cards, examines them, and then passes them to the dealer who reveals both the player and banker cards to the gamblers.

At this point, there is a decision as to whether a third card will be dealt for either the player or the banker (or both). If either or both sets of cards add up to eight or nine the hand is declared to be a “natural” and no further cards are added. If both the player and the bank have eights or nines (i.e., the same total value), then the game is pronounced a tie. If the hands are six or seven, no further cards will be added.

A third card will only be drawn if the points total of either the player’s and/or banker’s cards is five or less, however, the decision to draw a third card for the banker is based on the outcome of the player’s third draw, if applicable.

Ways to Bet


There are essentially only three ways to bet in baccarat. You can gamble that the player will have the best total, the banker will have the best total, or the game will be a tie with both hands having the same final value. Due to what is known as the “house edge”, it is often wise to bet on the banker having the best points total.

Practice Makes Perfect

As should become apparent from the above explanation, the rules of baccarat are reasonably complex. Practice at the game is required to become competent and to improve your chances of being successful by understanding the basic card probabilities involved. In short, it can be extremely beneficial to play baccarat for free first until you get used to the pace and rules of the game in practice.

When Playing for Real Money


After getting some experience playing baccarat at free or practice tables, you may eventually decide to play baccarat real money. The knowledge and strategies you have gained from practicing will ensure that you play for real with confidence and understanding. However, it is vitally important to remember some key points when playing for real money.

Firstly, as with any casino game, if you are drinking, you should drink in moderation. This will ensure that you are less likely to make impulsive decisions or have your judgement hampered by excessive alcohol consumption. In addition, you should also set up a gambling budget before you even start to play. This will allow you to plan your entertainment without betting more than you can comfortably afford to lose.

It may even help to prolong your fun at the baccarat table, as you are less likely to bet larger sums early on in the gaming session. As a final point, remember that gambling is a source of fun and excitement and should be treated that way. If you find that you are not enjoying your session or become tired, then take a break and consider playing again when you are refreshed or feeling more positive.