Baccarat Rules for Beginners

Tips to how to play Baccarat

So you've found the best betting deals and the top bookmakers it's time to bet and play! If you are partial to spending time at online casinos, you may have noticed a table game on offer at some of them called ‘Baccarat’. This is a very popular casino game, not dissimilar to blackjack, and it has featured in plenty of movies with a casino setting, like the James Bond films. Although it is in essence a very simple game, there are a few complexities around it. Also, while much of it is based on chance, it is possible to shape a strategy that can maximise your chances of success.

So if you’re looking to learn how to play Baccarat read on! In this article, we’ll give you a basic rundown on the origins and rules of the game, as well as a few Baccarat tips to help you shape a strategy for success. Enjoy the Baccarat guide.

Baccarat Rules for Beginners: Key Points

  • There are three possible outcomes in a hand of Baccarat
  • The player can win, the banker can win or the hand can end in a tie
  • Strategies such as the Martingale can be used in Baccarat
  • Punto banco is the most common form of the game in the UK

How to Play Baccarat: 5 Important Lessons

So what are Baccarat rules for beginners? Well, if you want to know how to play Baccarat, you need to read this next section of the article. Here, we’ll cover the history of the game, its basic rules, some strategies that you can use during play, and some variants of the game that you might encounter.

What is Baccarat?

Baccarat is a game that became popular with the French nobility during the 19th century. Some historians assert that it arrived in France from Italy in the 15th century, brought back by returning soldiers. The game was very widespread in France, and was played extensively in private gaming rooms until the legalisation of casinos there in 1907.

Some students of the game claim that it was invented in Italy, and could be based on an ancient Etruscan legend called The Nine Gods. The word Baccarat certainly has Italian origins. It is derived from ‘Baccara’ which refers to zero. The game spread to Britain and then to America, where the form of the game known as punto banco became standard.

There are several variants on the Baccarat rules, but we’ll look next at the basics of how to play punto banco. This is the type of Baccarat that you will most usually see in a British casino. From Britain, this version of the game spread to the United States. There, it has fluctuated in popularity, but has been a fixture of Las Vegas casinos since the 1950s.

Baccarat Rules

Before we go any further with our Baccarat tips, let’s go over the basic structure of the game. Here is where you will learn the basic Baccarat rules.

Rule 1. You can place three bets – Banker, Player or Tie. You win when your bet matches the outcome of the round.

Rule 2. A round begins when the Player and the Banker are both dealt two cards. On some occasions, they might receive a third too.

Rule 3. Neither the Player or the Banker can decide whether they receive a third card. Only the riles can determine this. Online players will have a third card dealt automatically if they are eligible for one.

Rule 4. All cards are worth their face values, apart from face cards and tens (these all count as zero), and aces, which are worth one.

Rule 5. When you add up the values of the cards in a round of Baccarat, only the final digit counts. So a hand that adds up 15 counts as 5, for example.

Rule 6. The hand that is closest to a total of nine wins the round.

That is basically that when it comes to the rules for Baccarat. Obviously, there are further complexities to explore, but they lie beyond the scope of this article. Now that you know how to play Baccarat, we’ll give you a few tips about what sort of strategy you can use to be successful.

Some Baccarat Tips

The key decision that you have to make in Baccarat is whether to bet on the player or the banker. Knowing how to play Baccarat cannot teach you how to use your judgement in this situation, you only develop your judgement by playing the game and garnering experience.

One thing that is useful to know, though, is that the banker is always statistically more likely to win. So if you decide to back the banker you are improving your chances of success. This is not due to some ‘cheat’ but the quirk in the game that determines when a third card can be dealt. The rules determining when a third card is dealt are pretty complex, but you’ll find that when you play online the casino software will deal with the issue automatically.

Not only is Baccarat one of the best casino games, it also has the lowest house edge when you bet on the banker. Most casinos will charge a 5% commission on winning bets for table games. But the house edge on banker bets is only 1.06% after commission. This means that the banker bet is a pretty safe option if you want to minimise your losses. If you want to bet on the player, the house has an edge of 1.24%, so the risk is slightly greater than betting on the banker. You do not have to pay any commission for betting on the player, so the profits can be slightly higher. Of course, that chance of higher profits is tempered a little by the banker winning slightly more often than the player.

One bet that you should rarely, if ever, consider placing is to back the tie. Less than 10% of Baccarat hands end in a tie. The house edge on the tie bet is over 14%. Betting on the tie will rarely bring big rewards and should be avoided. At the best online casino for Baccarat, the house edge and commission structure will be available for you to read before you commence playing. One system that some Baccarat players favour is the Martingale system, and we’ll look at that next.

Can you Use the Martingale System to Play Baccarat?

The Martingale system is a popular strategy that has been used by casino gamers for many years. You may well have heard of it already. It can be adapted for use in games of Baccarat. Let’s just give you a quick rundown of what it entails before we give you some specific Baccarat tips in relation to it.

The basic idea behind the Martingale system is that you start with a certain bet size, let’s say £5, and you double this stake after every loss. So, if you bet £5 on your first game of Baccarat and you lose, you bet £10 on your next game. This should, in theory at least, cover all your losses when you manage to secure a win.

Of course, while the Martingale can work to a certain extent, there are other factors to consider. One of those is, obviously, the size of your bankroll, which is not infinite. The other is that casinos do impose betting limits. This means that if you keep losing you will reach a point where you cannot bet a big enough stake to cover your losses.

Varieties of Baccarat

The most common form of Baccarat and live dealer Baccarat that you will see in casinos is sometimes called punto banco. In many countries, including the UK, punto banco games are usually just called Baccarat. Punto banco became popular in Cuba in the 1940s, and its popularity as the staple form of blackjack at many casinos grew from that point.

But while punto banco is the most common form of Baccarat that UK players will see, there are other versions on offer at some casinos. You may see a form of the game called Chemin de Fer occasionally. This is a faster form of the game that was developed in France in the 19th century and remains the most popular form of Baccarat in that country. This form uses six decks of cards, all shuffled together, and many games have a set minimum bet amount. UK players are unlikely to see this version of the game very often, though.

Other versions of Baccarat that you might see include Baccarat banque as well as a version known as Macao after the Asian country. As we have stated, though, punto banco is the form that is most commonly played in the UK.

Check Out’s Other Gambling Guides

Now that we have given you some idea about how to play Baccarat you might want to check out some of’s other casino gaming guides. You can read all about roulette rules here, and we also have a guide to the essential bingo rules and live casino rules any player needs to know.  You can also take a look at our blackjack rules guide if you're interested in finding out more about this classic table game.


As you can see, Baccarat rules are quite simple. You will find greater complexity about the types of bet that can be placed and other elements of the game as you gain experience. What you have learned here, though, should be enough to set you on your way to enjoying some success at the Baccarat tables. You can pick up further Baccarat tips from us here at, so make sure you check back here often for updates. Be sure to visit our guides to the best casino with live dealers and live casino sign up offers.

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