What First-Timers Should Know When Playing Baccarat: Your Go-To Guide

People playing on the baccarat table image

📖 Published on: February 27th, 2024

✍️ Updated: February 29th, 2024

⏳ 11 mins read


We all know one thing: casino games are not the same, and they offer a wide variety for every type of gambler. You might not be a table gamer but enjoy the thrilling and random chances of winning at a slot game. You could be a high-risk player and enjoy pointing out the tell of opponents at a poker game; whatever kind of player you are, there’s definitely a game for every type of player.


One of the casino staples you wouldn’t want to miss out on is baccarat. It’s typically played with real cash bets and is a popular choice in American casinos. While baccarat used to be a crowd favorite In French casinos, it has been outranked by Chemin de Fer, the original baccarat sequence. If you want to boost your gameplay and explore sophisticated and high-risk table games in a casino or even just online, read on and see what first-timers in the game should know before playing.


What to Know about Baccarat: American vs. French Baccarat


We all think it's just a game at the end of the day, but games like baccarat and roulette have such rich history, and they both arise from French history. By the end of the fifteenth century, the French nobility were big fans of the Italian game baccara. Baccara developed into two variations: the French variant known as Chemin de Fer, which is mostly played in French casinos, and the European version of baccarat, which is still played in European casinos today. Francis Tommy Renzoni brought the American version of the game to Nevada casinos in the 1950s after importing it from Havana.


American vs. French Baccarat image


In French Baccarat, Chemin de Fer is favored by most players since it was the original game in which Baccarat was born. Instead of betting against the house when playing Chemin de Fer, the players will wager against one another. Assuming the role of the Banker, one player will choose how much money to stake on each wager.


A Bougie Reputation: Exclusivity and Nobility


It might not have the best reputation in terms of gameplay, but Baccarat is still one of those classy games in the casino that many wealthy high-rollers are keen on playing. It’s typically situated in a separate part of the casino and hidden in velvet curtains in most American casinos. Players are required to dress well and look their best when playing to observe proper etiquette and dress code.


Betting limits in American baccarat are usually higher if you compare it to other casino games like blackjack and keno. Now, if you find yourself in the mid-tier betting range, then mini baccarat is a variation you should explore. It’s designed to attract more budget-friendly players who want to play at smaller tables with lower betting limits.


What are some risks involved when playing Baccarat?


It’s not a secret that a high-stakes game like Baccarat will have more risks involved, even if it’s a game purely based on luck, so it's best to keep your eyes set on the odds. What makes the game riskier than most is the tactics players use and the insane edge the house commonly has on players. This is why most players invited or likely to play it are those who can really afford it.


While the rules are pretty straightforward, and it’s easy to get the hang of it, , a round of baccarat doesn’t mean you can just go in blind. Here are some tips to consider when playing baccarat online or at the casino:


  • Before you play, take your time learning the rules of baccarat.
  • Stay away from betting on ties; they don't count.
  • If you still don't have a plan, just follow the banker.
  • Make a budget that you can live with.
  • Remain with fewer decks.
  • Visit any baccarat website and read about the commission.
  • Don’t try so hard to recover your losses.
  • Put your enjoyment before everything else first.


How Betting in Baccarat Works

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. When playing baccarat, there are only three words to focus on banker, player, or tie. The house will obviously have a higher edge at 14%, which is why many players tend to forget that ‘tie’ even exists. If your goal is to become a baccarat wizard, then understanding the different strategies and practicing online could make a difference.


Knowing The Shuffle

You might think knowing any type of card set is enough to have an edge over the dealer, but there’s actually a system in place to understand. Baccarat is played with eight 52-card packs that are shuffled and then dealt with by the croupier or the dealer for the game of baccarat. The croupier does this from the dealing box one card at a time, facing down.


Understanding the Layout

Have you ever wondered why the baccarat table was set up the way it is? The luscious green felt sprawling through the table with the numbers 1 to 12 marked as the signature baccarat table set up. It features 12 seats, six on both sides facing the dealer.

Wagers in the form of chips are placed in the area where the numbers are visible. Players on both sides of the table can place bets on either banker or player, which are labeled and indicated on the table.



Mechanics of the Game


Objective: Valued as one are aces, zero are face and ten cards, and the remaining number cards are worth their face value. The suit is meaningless. The goal of the game is to get as near to nine as you can.


Betting: This is the part where you will see the dealer bet on the banker, but keep in mind that dealers can also act as the house dealer or one of the players you have to one-up.

Dealing: Now, once all bets are placed, each player gets two cards each. Both cards sum up to a score with specific values, but the goal is to get a sum closest to nine without going over the total value.

Scoring: In the event a tie wins, you get your stake back, but if you placed a wager on ‘tie,’ then you get paid your winnings. Depending on the type of variant you’re playing, and the casino you’re in, the odds for a tie winning are usually at a whopping 8:1. Best to think really hard on a tie bet the next time you’re feeling extra cocky!

A third draw: A third card may be chosen for the Player or the Banker based on the original totals, as per preset guidelines.


Baccarat mechanics image



When Do You Draw or Stand?


This is a question many professional baccarat players try to understand since there are multiple rules to abide by.

Stand when: 7, 8, and 9 are presented.

Draw when:

  • Any card you receive except the ones with the value of 8
  • The numbers 2,3,4,5,6 and 7 pop up
  • The numbers 4-7 are shown
  • The lucky 6 and 7 are the result


What are considered to be the best bets in Baccarat?


So, let’s pretend you’re all caught up and know how to play the basics. Let’s try to wrap your head around the best plays you can try to further your luck in the next game.

Always bet on the banker since the house gets a commission to this bet, up to -5%, which is considered to be the best in any baccarat game

The only thing to remember about the house edge is as follows:


  • Banker = 1.06%
  • Player = 1.24%
  • Tie = 'irrelevant'


Since your odds of winning the tie bet are so slim, you should only use it for fun and not as a part of a well-thought-out plan.


A Friendly Reminder to First-Time Baccarat Players


It’s always nice to practice several rounds before you actually make big wagers on an actual Baccarat game, but remembering some useful playing tips could improve your strategy just a little bit. Here are some to keep in mind:


  • Consider the banker’s advantage: Although the Banker's bet commission may appear unappealing at first, statistically speaking, it's a good choice. Take advantage of the fact that the Banker's hand is more likely to win and ride that wave.
  • Stick to a budget: Prior to beginning to play, establish and adhere to a budget. While baccarat might be exciting, it's important to play responsibly.
  • Keep a chill state of mind: Don’t forget that Baccarat runs purely on chance. Remain composed and relish the encounter without placing undue stress on yourself (that could just mess up your momentum.)
  • Practice several rounds online: You can play Baccarat for free on a lot of gambling sites. Before you really hit the tables, it's a great way to learn the feel of the game, and playing online a couple of times is a great way to get your foot in the door.
  • Avoid the tie: Although the Tie bet offers enticing winnings, it isn't very common in the game. For more reliable wins, your best choice is to concentrate on the Player and Banker bets.


Play your heart out but not your wits!


If the allure of baccarat alarmed you, this guide sheds some light on how it could actually both be fun and lucrative for winning in mid to high-stakes table games in the casino or online. Banker, player, or tie your best bet is to go with your gut and still believe for a minute the odds are in your favor– or closest to nine, at least!


Take a look at our comprehensive reviews on popular casinos in the US and explore the possibilities of casino and sports betting at GambleSpot.


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