Baccarat for New Players: Rules and Strategy

Baccarat is an elegant casino card game adored for its simple rules and fast-paced action.

Here is a guide to playing baccarat for beginners, including rules, betting, strategy, and common questions.

Understand the Objective

Baccarat has one goal: wager on the hand with a point value closest to 9 between the player and banker.

Numbered cards have face value while face cards and 10s are worth zero. When the total exceeds 9, the second digit determines the value (for example, 15 totals 5).

The winning hand is whichever is higher.

Learn the Rules

Games start with four cards dealt alternately between a player and the banker.

If either hand totals 8 or 9 (called a “natural”) that hand wins.

If not, each hand draws a third card according to fixed rules. There are no player decisions – the rules dictate the draw. Bettors cannot affect the cards.

Know the Bet Types

There are three main baccarat bets – player, banker, or tie. Player and banker bets have roughly even odds and payouts are 1:1 with a small house edge.

Tie betting pays out much higher at 8:1 but has a large house advantage. Ties are rare events, so stick to player or banker bets.

Understand Commission

Winning banker bets pay a 5% commission to the house. This helps offset the advantage the banker has.

Don’t fear the commission – see it as the cost of betting the more likely hand to win. Consider it when assessing your bankroll management.

Utilize Betting Systems

Martingale, Paroli, and D’Alembert are three betting systems commonly used in baccarat.

Martingale doubles bets after losses. Paroli increases bets after wins. D’Alembert changes bets by units after wins/losses. See which creates the most success for you.

Follow the Shoe

In multi-deck baccarat, make bets based on prior hands. For example, follow streaks by a betting banker during a banker streak.

This complements the “gambler’s fallacy” that streaks even out over time. Use pen and paper to track hand results.

Take Advantage of Free Play

Practice online baccarat for free before playing for real.

Free games allow you to learn proper rules and betting with no risk. Get comfortable with the gameplay speed and experience how hands unfold. Just know that free baccarat lacks the real pressure.

Watch Your Bankroll

Baccarat’s fast pace makes it tempting to chase losses by aggressively betting bigger. Avoid this tendency.

Define loss limits and stick to them. Bet consistently relative to your bankroll. Chasing losses almost always makes things worse.

Relax and Have Fun!

Baccarat has simple rules, so just relax once you understand the basics. There are no fancy strategies needed like card counting.

Enjoy the game’s pace and culture. Avoid tense betting and find the Zen in going with the flow. Baccarat should be an entertaining escape.

(Read More: Craps Demystified: A Beginner’s Guide)


  • How many decks are used? Typically 6 or 8 decks. More decks decrease odds fluctuations.
  • Can you affect the cards? No, proper baccarat play does not permit player decisions. You can only bet before the deal.
  • What’s the house edge? About 1.06% on player bets and 1.24% on banker bets. Much higher on tie bets.
  • Do patterns and streaks matter? Not really, since every deal is independent. Focus on consistent betting.

Now you can play baccarat like a seasoned pro!

Relax, have some fun, and witness the beauty of this casino classic.

With a little experience, you may even feel like a James Bond character making high-stakes baccarat bets.

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