The Basics of Baccarat


From sticky-floor California card rooms to the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco, baccarat is a table game that’s played the world over. But while the rules may vary slightly depending on whether you’re playing the “punto banco” or “chemin de fer” version, the basic principles are the same: Bet on whichever hand, Player or Banker, has the highest total value after all cards have been dealt. Ideally, the winning hand will have a total close to nine, but the croupier (dealer) announces the final score and pays out bets accordingly.

Before the game begins, players make a bet on either the Player’s hand, the Banker’s hand or a Tie. The Player’s and Banker’s hands are then dealt two cards each, with the aim of getting a total closest to nine. The points are calculated on the basis of the digits in each card: all tens and picture cards have a point value of zero; all other numbered cards count as their number, with nine worth nine points. In addition, if a hand’s digit totals ten or more, you drop the first digit and count the second.

The dealer deals the cards from a box called a shoe. Eight 52-card packs are shuffled together and then dealt one at a time, face down, to the participants. The table is covered with green felt and a number of bet boxes are marked on it. Each participant places his or her bet in a box that corresponds to one of the three options: Banker, Player and Tie.

Once all bets have been placed, the croupier declares the result of each hand. If the Banker’s hand wins, the bets on the Player and the Banker are returned to their respective players. If the Banker and the Player have equal points, the hand is a Tie, and the bets on both sides are returned to the participants.

When a player bets on the Banker’s hand, he or she must pay a five percent house commission. This is a bit steep, but a successful bet on this hand has the best odds of winning. A Player bet, on the other hand, pays out even money minus the 5% commission, and a Tie bet is unlikely to win you anything at all. Side bets are also sometimes offered at baccarat tables, although these should only be considered a way to spice up the game and keep the betting interesting, as they tend to have much lower odds than the Player or Banker bets. Moreover, some of these bets can actually end up costing you more than you’d expect, so it’s important to stay informed about the rules of the game before placing your bets. For this reason, I suggest you check out this baccarat guide from FanDuel Casino. The site offers a free account with up to $1000, which you can use to test the waters of this popular table game. You can play it on your PC or mobile device, no matter where you are in the world.