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How to Play Baccarat

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How to Play Baccarat

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Baccarat is one of the most appealing and glamorous casino table games. We’ve all seen a spy movie in which a tuxedoed star holds a martini and places bets while chatting up a femme fatale. But you don’t have to be a master of espionage, movie star, or professional card player to play baccarat—you don’t even have to visit a casino.

How Baccarat Works

Much of the appeal of this table game comes from learning how to play and learning how to bet baccarat. At its most basic level, new players have clear choices in their wagers, but as they gain experience and understanding of baccarat, their enjoyment and ability to plan multiple rounds of betting grows.

At a fundamental level, baccarat is a game in which a player plays head-to-head against the banker to assemble a hand that scores as close to nine as possible. In addition to the player who actively plays against the dealer, participants in each round have the option to bet on the player, the banker (not to be confused with the dealer), or a tie.

This simplicity allows new players to get comfortable and begin playing with real money when ready.

The dealer

In baccarat, six to eight decks of cards are shuffled together to form a large deck that the banker and players use to assemble their respective hands. In live dealer games, the dealer is an actual human who will deal the cards to the player and banker. The dealer is also responsible for determining if a third card will be dealt to their hands. The dealer is not an ally of the player or the banker. They are simply there to determine if and when additional cards are dealt.

The banker

The banker is a set role at the baccarat table and is largely regarded as the opponent of the player—especially since participant bets are placed for the player or the banker—however, the banker does not respond to the player’s hands or positions, but instead follows set rules to determine if they will stand or draw more cards. These rules make the banker a more predictable bet, though that usually also means a lower payout (under the Banker payout line there is a 5% commission fee on all Banker wins).

The player

The player is the position at the baccarat table that is opposite the banker. The player also follows set rules to determine their decision to stand or draw more cards. A bet on the player’s hand is a more volatile choice—as such, it generally results in a slightly larger payout.

In each baccarat round, there is only one player. Other players at the table, referred to as “participants” do not actively draw cards, but still have the opportunity to bet on the player’s hand, the banker’s hand, or a tie.

Baccarat Rules

At the baccarat table, a player and a banker receive cards from a dealer. Participants at that table wager on which hand will win, or they may also choose a tie. The banker and player positions will attempt to assemble the hand which comes closest to a total of nine.

Baccarat hands - how cards and points work

As the player and banker receive their cards, each card is assigned a numerical value. The ace is worth one point, cards two through nine are worth the number on that card, and the 10 and face cards are all worth zero points. These point totals are similar to blackjack, but it is important to note that in baccarat, these hands do not “bust” or lose if they go over nine. Instead, hands that score 10 or higher subtract 10 from their total. So, a score of 10 would become zero, 11 would become one, and so on.

These point totals determine a set of rules that are followed by the banker and the player to determine if a third card is drawn for a baccarat hand. For the banker, if their initial two-card hand scores 0-5, the banker will draw a third card if they have 0-4. The banker will stand on 5-7. If the banker scores 8 or 9, this is considered an automatic win (unless the banker scores 8 and the player can draw a total of 9).

When drawing their hands, both the banker and the player will draw no more than three cards. Following the drawing of the third card (if necessary), the hand which totals closest to nine is considered the winner, and participants who bet on the winning hand have secured a profitable bet for themselves.

How to Bet in Baccarat

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Participants at the baccarat table (including the player if that seat is occupied by an active player) will place a bet at the beginning of each baccarat round. They can bet on the banker, the player, or place a bet for a tie

The banker is considered the safer bet, which tends to narrow the house advantage a bit more than the player. Due to this, the banker has a slightly lower payout than the player, and significantly lower than a tie.

The player is considered a slightly more adventurous bet as they draw first, giving the house a higher edge than that of the banker. As a result, the payout for a successful player bet is slightly higher.

The rarest occurring outcome is a tie—thus, it is the most volatile bet with the highest payout.

Participants actively betting on baccarat hands don’t tend to play one hand and then step away. The narrow edge in house advantage between the player and banker does not seem like much difference for one hand only, but is instead seen over the course of many hands. Considering these differences in stability and payout—as well as setting limits for yourself—is the best way to responsibly game at the baccarat table. With six to eight decks being dealt and narrow margins between player and banker, there is no way to predict a baccarat result.

At the beginning of each round, participants at the table will see their betting options: Player bet, banker bet, or tie. If available, pair, three-card, and perfect pair bets are also available. Participants select their chosen position and then watch the hands between the player and banker unfold.

Other baccarat wagers

Depending on the baccarat variation you are playing, there will sometimes be wager options beyond player, banker, or tie.

Participants may have the option to bet the player pair, banker pair, or either pair. This bet is a wager that a specific seat (or either) will have a pair of matched cards after the opening deal. Of these bets, the either pair has the lowest payout. A participant can also bet on a “perfect” pair in which one of the seats at the table will have two identical cards (meaning the same value and suit) on the opening deal. This is the highest payout of the paired wager options.

Participants can also bet on a three-card win, meaning that the participant is not only choosing a player or banker bet, but they are adding the stipulation that it will take that seat three cards to secure their victory.

Baccarat Payouts

Depending on the position a participant takes, and its inherent risks, baccarat payouts will vary. Always check the information sections of your chosen baccarat variations for the most precise payout information. Generally, baccarat bets will pay out as follows:

  • A successful player bet will payout 1:1.
  • A successful banker bet also pays out 1:1.
  • A successful tie bet will pay out 8:1.
  • A player or banker pair bet will pay out 11:1.
  • An either pair bet will pay out 5:1.
  • A perfect pair either bet will pay out 25:1, while a perfect pair bet for a chosen side will pay 200:1.
  • A three-card win bet for the player will pay 4:1, while a three-card win bet for the banker will pay 5:1.

Playing Baccarat with Golden Nugget Online Casino

With Golden Nugget Online Casino, you have access to a variety of online casino table games, each with multiple variations, demo modes, and live dealer options. Baccarat is no exception.

Benefits of playing online vs. in person

Making the trip to a real-life casino might require travel, a hotel, and time off from work. Once you’re there you have to deal with crowds, noise, and finding a seat at the right table. With online casino play, you get the option to play where you can concentrate best, in your most comfortable clothes, in the peace and quiet of your own home. With an online casino, there is no limit on seats at your chosen table, so you can start playing—and winning—right away.

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