How do I Play Baccarat?

John Lister

Although it has a reputation as a high-stakes game, it is remarkably simple to play baccarat. The game doesn’t involve any skill and simply involves choosing from two or three gambling options. When you play baccarat, you stand a much better chance of winning than in most casino games.

Baccarat is played at many Las Vegas casinos.
Baccarat is played at many Las Vegas casinos.

If you want to play baccarat in a casino, you will likely need a large bankroll. Most casinos try to make the game feel exclusive to appeal to wealthy gamblers. To do this, they usually set the minimum stake higher than any other casino games.

Baccarat has a reputation as a high-stakes game.
Baccarat has a reputation as a high-stakes game.

The first time you play baccarat, you are likely to find it very confusing. However, the actual game itself is effectively ceremonial as both the dealer and player must act in a specific way depending on how the cards are dealt. The only decision is made by gamblers, who must decide whether to bet that the dealer or the player will win.

In each hand of baccarat both the dealer and the player draw two cards. Depending on what they draw, the player may have to draw a third card, which may in turn force the dealer to draw a third card. Whether either side draws a third card is set down in the game’s full rules and the dealer will explain what must happen if anyone is unsure.

Once all the cards are drawn, each player adds up the total of their cards, with the 10, Jack, Queen and King scoring zero. The winner is whichever side has the highest number as the last digit of their total. For example, a total of five would beat a total of 12 because 12 ends in a two. If the totals are the same, neither side wins.

Each player continues to play until they lose a hand. The role of player then passes on to the next gambler at the table. In each hand, all gamblers must bet on either the player or the dealer, who is known in betting terms as the bank. Some casinos allow you to bet on a tied score, which will offer much better odds as it is much less likely to happen.

Gamblers who guess correctly will usually win at even odds meaning they get back their stake plus the same amount again. The casino may take a 5% commission on all successful bets that the dealer wins. This commission, plus the fact that nearly every bet loses if the scores are tied, is what gives the casino a slight advantage in the long run.

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