The Basics of Baccarat


Baccarat has an air of elegance, conjuring images of high-rollers in opulent casinos laying down chips while the dealer distributes cards. But don’t let its mystique intimidate you – the game is actually quite simple to understand and play. If you are a fan of card games, you should be able to grasp the basics in minutes.

The premise of Baccarat is that you place your wagers based on which side you think will win the round. You can bet on either the banker or the player, or on a tie. The winning hand is the one that totals closest to nine. The points in a baccarat hand are added differently: 10’s, Jacks and Queens count as 0, while the Ace counts as 1. All other cards count their face value. If your hand has a double-digit number, you drop the first digit and just add the second. For example, an 8 and a 7 totaling 15 would add up to 9, as you simply subtract the 7 from the 8.

Eight 52-card packs are shuffled together and then dealt by the croupier (dealer) from a dealing box called a shoe. Two cards are dealt to the Banker and Player hands, sometimes a third is dealt. The winning hand is the one that is closer to 9. The Banker and Player bets pay out even money if the hand wins. The Tie bet, however, pays out less and has a 14.1% house edge. Instinctively, most intelligent players avoid making the Tie bet.

After all the bets are placed, the dealer will call ‘no more bets’ and then deal a card to the Player box, then another to the Banker box. If you bet on the Banker, you will receive your payout once the card is dealt and the hand has a winning score. The Player and Banker bets have different probabilities of winning, so you should aim to make the Banker bet whenever possible.

If the Banker or Player hands have a total of eight or nine on the initial deal, this is known as a natural and you will be paid out your winnings automatically. The bettor’s choice of Banker or Player is not crucial as the winner is determined by the total value of the hand after the third card is dealt.

Those with a passion for a fast-paced casino card game should try out Baccarat’s many variants. There are specialty baccarat variations that change the feel of the game based on the lunar calendar, as well as more traditional baccarat tables. The enigmatic card game has also been featured in several James Bond films including the 1954 version of Casino Royal, where Bond defeats Le Chiffre; Thunderball; On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; and GoldenEye. For a true cosmopolitan experience, play at DraftKings, which offers specialty baccarat games like Lunar New Year Baccarat.