Learning how to play baccarat can be fun and challenging. This fast-paced game has rules that are easy to understand and with a little practice, players will feel confident enough to play at most tables.
Once you have mastered the basics, it may be time to focus on improving your skills and aiming to win rather than to gain experience. Below are a few hints and techniques that can help you reach that goal.
Table of Contents:
- Learn the rules
- Know the odds
- Never forget baccarat is a game of luck
- Choose the version with least decks
- When do you need one more card?
- The best bet at baccarat
- Is the tie bet worth the risk?
- Play at trusted online casinos
- Frequently asked questions about winning at baccarat
You cannot hope to win a game you do not know how to play. Imagine walking onto a cricket pitch without knowing a thing about cricket. You don’t really expect to win or even know what you’re doing, do you? The same goes for baccarat.
This game is highly popular, in part because it is less complex than games like blackjack and poker. In terms of difficulty, we would rate it as lower than those two but slightly higher than roulette. Now, even though baccarat does not have heaps and heaps of rules, it doesn’t mean you can wing it.
Sit down and read up about the rules before you get started. Check out our Guides section to get a solid foundation and then head to your preferred online casino and play in demo mode. Then play and play some more. That practice will help you become a confident player as well as being able to see the rules in action without the potential risk of losing your money.
There are three possible bets a player can make in baccarat but they are not created equal. They differ in the probability of occurrence as well as how big a win the player can expect. Understanding both of these aspects is crucial to making the right choice.
Let’s look at the Banker bet first. This is the most statistically likely outcome, at just over 45%. This means that in 100 rounds, 45 of those will be a Banker win.
The Banker bet pays out at odds of 19:20. This is because the casino must compensate for the Banker’s higher likelihood of occurrence and its subsequent attractiveness to players. Most casinos charge 5% commission, though some charge less or nothing at all. In these cases, the payout odds will be different.
The Player will win roughly 44% of the time, slightly under the percentage of the Banker wins but not by much. A bet on the Player will payout at 1:1.
Finally the Tie bet. This is the least probable outcome statistically – a tie happens just over 9% of the time. Compared to the other two options, this is extremely small. To make this bet a little more appealing to players, casinos pay out generously on a tie bet, usually around 8:1.
We can sit here and talk strategy all day, giving you the pros and cons of every betting template known to man. At the end of the day though, baccarat is a game of luck.
While it might feel like patterns are emerging sometimes, players need to remember that every round is completely unconnected to the previous one. Every time the game starts over, the same probabilities apply. Just because rounds 1 to 10 went one way doesn’t mean you can predict was round 11 will look like.
With this in mind, players need to understand that there is no strategy that can guarantee a consistent winning pattern, especially not to the point of reliably making a profit. Baccarat games are equal parts luck and skill.
Most baccarat games are played with either six or eight decks. When we look at the maths, we can see that the number of decks in play will affect the probability of each possible outcome.
When we compare the probability of each outcome between six- and eight-deck games, we will see a small but interesting discrepancy.
|6 decks||8 decks|
Having fewer decks in play changes how likely each outcome will be. While this it is only a 0.01% difference, it is worth keeping this in mind when you are choosing which game you want to play.
The rules of baccarat cover what participants can do with regards to cards quite comprehensively. Unless either one has a natural, the player stands on a 6 or 7 and hits on 5 and lower. The Banker’s next move is based on whether the player hits or stands and if they hit, on the value of the third card.
- If either the Player or the Banker gets a natural, both stand, without exception. This rule overrides all other rules.
- If the Player stands, the Banker hits when they have a total of 5 or less. If the Banker’s total is higher, they stand.
When the Player hits, the Banker’s total and the player’s third card value determine what happens next. Below are the conditions required for the Banker to draw a third card:
- Banker has a total of 0, 1 or 2
- Banker has a total of 3 and Player’s third card is either 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 or 0 (not 8)
- Banker has a total of 4 and Player’s third card is either 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
- Banker has a total of 5 and Player’s third card is either 4, 5, 6 or 7
- Banker has a total of 6 and Player’s third card is either 6 or 7
- If the Banker has a total of 7, they always stand.
Players should keep in mind that when they play online, the software takes care of a large part of the action on their behalf.
The Banker is by far the best bet a player can make. Yes, it pays out slightly less than the Player when it wins thanks to that pesky commission but the increased likelihood of a Banker win result should be enough to convince players to stick with this bet.
A common piece of advice is to continue betting on the Banker until it loses. This is fine advice as long as you keep in mind that every round is subject to a house edge and that past performance is in no way predictive of the future. Winning streaks are all well and good but you shouldn’t be too aggressive with betting because there are no guarantees.
This strategy comes with a small caveat. Experts suggest that once a Banker streak is broken, wait for one more round before deciding whether to change your bet or stick with the Banker. If the Player wins twice in a row, time to change bets. If the Banker returns to win, return to the Banker bet.
If you’ve read this far, you’ll know that a tie is the least likely outcome of the three and most players (quite rightly) avoid this bet like the plague. Making tie bets regularly is essentially throwing your bankroll down the drain.
However, there is one circumstance where the tie bet’s inherent risk is lowered slightly. Most casinos offer 8 to 1 payouts on a tie bet. This is an attempt to compensate for the mathematical undesirability of the tie bet.
Some online casinos have realised that this is probably not enough to entice players to make the bet and have increased the payout odds to 9 to 1. This affects the house edge, bringing it down from 14.4% to a much more reasonable 4.8%.
While still a lot higher than the house edges on the Banker or Player bet, this lower number can make the tie bet a little more appealing to players. That said, the Banker and Player bets remain more statistically likely and we would still argue that staying away from the tie bet is a solid choice.
If you want a reliable, consistent and fair gambling experience, you must play at reliable, consistent and fair casinos. The JohnSlots team will only ever recommend properly licensed online casinos as these are the only ones we trust with our own money.
Unlicensed casinos are extremely risky and the internet is rife with horror stories of players denied withdrawals, shut out of their accounts for no reason or simply ignored by the brand. Unregulated casinos are also much more likely to host games by shady game developers, whose products have not been tested for fairness. That’s a recipe for disaster if we ever saw one!
Always play at trusted casino sites so you don’t ever have to worry about all that. Head to our toplist pages to find the reviews of reputable casino brands, old and new, that we recommend to our readers.
There is no secret, no special strategy out there that can guarantee that anyone will win at baccarat. If there was one, you can be sure that we would share it with you! Because this option doesn’t exist, we have instead put together the best advice we know of to help you make smart choices when playing baccarat.
Got a query? Read on below where we tackle some of the most common questions that arise about how to win at baccarat.
How do I win at baccarat?
To win at baccarat, you must correctly predict whether the outcome of a round is the Banker winning, the Player winning or a tie between the two. Because none of us can see into the future (please get in touch with us if you can), we use our knowledge of probability to make the best guess possible.
What are the odds of winning at baccarat?
The odds of you, the participant, winning a game of baccarat depends on which outcome you bet on. The Banker is the most likely to win, followed by the Player. A tie is much less likely, so it is an unwise bet to make in most circumstances.
Are online baccarat games rigged?
Games by reputable, licensed game developers are rigorously tested to ensure they are completely fair and their outcomes totally random. Unregulated developers are not bound by such standards and are free to create games that are not 100% fair i.e. rigged. This is why we only recommend playing baccarat games made by reputable developers and hosted by licensed casinos.
Is baccarat a game of skill?
We would say that baccarat is equal parts skill and luck. Knowing the odds of success on any given bet requires a good memory and some practice but at the end of the day, the shuffled cards are what determine the outcome.
Can baccarat be beaten?
In the long term, baccarat cannot be beaten because the odds always favour the house. However, because the house edge is so low, the ‘long term’ can mean a very long time indeed. So it is certainly possible to win multiple rounds and come away with a profit.
What is the payout in baccarat?
Casinos determine the rate of payout so there are no fixed rules on this. However, generally speaking, casinos will pay out at odds of 1:1 on Player, 19:20 on Banker (to account for the 5% commission) and 8:1 on a tie.