Baccarat Rules: The Ultimate Guide from Play UK
Just like roulette, baccarat is one of the oldest casino table games in the world today. Though perhaps not as popular as roulette, once you’ve tried your hand at baccarat, you may not wish to play anything else here at Play UK. There are of course quite a few differences between a game like roulette and baccarat. For one, baccarat is a card game, and fans of the game say that it is also much easier to play. It is also a very easy game to learn to play, consisting only of three main betting options and quick short rounds of play.
To most outsiders who have only observed the game for a short time, the rules of baccarat may seem rather complex or exotic. However, quite the opposite is true and once you’ve gone through our quick and easy guide, we are quite sure you will feel exactly the same way. Our guide is designed to introduce you to how the game of baccarat is played online, as well as understanding baccarat rules, card values, as well as some basic strategy and tips.
Where Does the Game of Baccarat Come From?
According to most baccarat experts and cultural historians, the game is similar to another very old European card game called Chemin De Der, as well as a game called Puntobanco, both of which are still played today. Baccarat itself is a French game and is taken from the Italian word baccarat, which means ‘zero’ in direct reference to face card (kings, queens and jacks) point values. It is widely believed that a game called baccara was first introduced in France by Italians as far back as the late 1400’s. The game quickly became a favourite of King Charles VIII along with many in his court. Interestingly, out of the two games, chemin de fer and baccarat, Chemin de fer was the first to make it to US casinos in the late fifties, followed shortly by baccarat.
Chemin de Fer VS Baccarat, What’s the Difference?
Chemin de fer is widely recognised as the direct ancestor to baccarat and the gameplay between them is very similar in deed. However, there is one major difference in how the games are played in modern casinos. In Chemin de fer, all players actually bet amongst themselves and not against the house as is the case with baccarat. So, in Chemin de fer the casino takes a commission in every round from the player holding the banker position.
Advantages to Playing Baccarat
Smart punters that choose to play baccarat online know that this game offers some of the lowest house edge percentages available, beating most other casino games hands down. There are three main betting options available. You can choose to bet on the banker position or hand, or you can choose to bet on the player position or hand. The third option is to bet on a tie between the two. Choosing to bet on the banker’s hand will yield a house edge of just 1.17%, while betting on the player’s hand will give you a house edge percentage of 1.36%. Betting on a tie between the two options carries the highest house edge percentage of 9.5%, making it the least popular of the three betting options.
Full Scale or Mini Baccarat, What’s the Difference?
Mini baccarat first began to appear in brick and mortar casinos during the 1980’’s as casinos tried to get more people to play the game. Perhaps unfortunately, baccarat has always had a reputation for being an exclusively high roller game, not for the casual casino punter. Standard or full scale baccarat is played at a table that can accommodate up to 14 players and features three dealer positions, while mini baccarat is half the size, with 7 player positions and just one dealer. Casinos would place their mini baccarat tables in the same floor space as their other casino games like craps, roulette, and blackjack, making it more accessible to regular players. Today, the mini version of baccarat is still available in brick and mortar casinos as well as online sites, and is the version most often played at our live dealer baccarat tables.
Baccarat Rules Explained
The baccarat rules chart is simpler to understand than other casino games, which is one of the main reasons for its continued popularity. Since there are only three possible bets that can be made during a round of baccarat, the rules regarding how this is done are also quite simple. In baccarat, the player position has a set of rules, as does the banker position. There are also certain rules regarding general gameplay although these are all very easy to understand and most players are up and running within a few minutes of learning how they work. The first step to understanding the game lies in learning how the card value system works.
Baccarat Card Values
The idea is to get a score as close as possible to a total of either an 8 or 9 which will give you the win. Any score higher than either of these two totals constitutes an immediate loss. The point system in baccarat is very specific and is designed to determine the winner in a round as quickly as possible. Card values in Baccarat:
- All tens and face cards,(jacks, queens and kings) are valued at zero
- All ace cards are valued at one
- Number cards are valued at their face value
- A two card total that exceeds ten will have the ten digit disregarded (eg: 10 + 3 = 3)
- A natural hand is a two card hand that totals either 8 or 9
Banker vs. Player
Whether you choose to play the full scale version of baccarat or the mini version, the basic gameplay and rules remain the same. In baccarat, there are only ever two hands that are dealt, the player hand and the banker hand. As the player, you get to decide which one you think will win the round by placing your chips in that position. If you think the player hand is likely to win the round, you place them in the area marked off for the player and the same if you believe the banker hand will win. In both instances, all players need to place their wagers before any of the shuffled cards are drawn.
The Tie Bet
There is only one other betting option in baccarat other than the bet on the banker position or the bet on the player position, and that is the bet on a tie or equal result between the two. The tie bet is there for those punters that think that both the banker position and the player position will end the round with the same amount of points. This is also one of the most tempting betting options available in baccarat as it pays out at 8 to 1 odds for a win. However, it also has the highest house edge of 9.5% which is why most players prefer to stick to either betting on the player position or on the banker position, both with considerably lower edge percentages, but also much lower odds.
The Third Card Rule
- If the player hand is five or less he can draw a third card
- The banker can draw a third card on five or less but stands on six
- The banker has a separate third card rule and determines whether he takes a third card after the player has taken a third card
- The banker can draw a third card on a total of two or less
- The banker can draw a third card on a total of three or less but not if the player third card total ended on eight
- The banker can draw a third card on a total of four unless the player third card is zero, one or eight or nine
- The banker draws a third card on a total of five if the player third card is four, five, six or seven
Baccarat Gameplay Basics
The baccarat table is very easy to understand and navigate, another reason why the game is more popular with players that have tried other games like roulette and found it to be too complicated or too slow. Baccarat is fast and easy to play, making it ideal for any level of player, as well as casual or real money punters alike. The table features have clearly marked and numbered player positions, where each punter has their own area where they can place a bet either on the banker position, the player position, or a tie between the two. The same numbers can be seen in front of the dealer, so they know exactly which player is placing bets on which positions in every round. One of the reasons for this is that, every time that a player wins a banker bet, the dealer places a marker on that position as all banker winning bets must also pay a 5% commission to the house.
In full scale casino baccarat, there are three dealers, two sitting dealers who are responsible for collecting losing bets and paying out winning ones, and a dealer that stands, known as the ‘call man’, responsible for turning over the cards and announcing the results. In most online or live dealer online baccarat games there is only one dealer who performs all three functions. The dealer draws the cards from the shoe where the decks of cards are kept, placing one in the player position face up, and one in the banker position, also face up. The dealer repeats this process again giving each position a second card.
Third Card Draw Rules in More Depth
In the next phase, the two cards on either side are added together to determine the overall point total for each hand. This will also determine whether or not either hand will receive an additional card. The player hand is dealt with first and, if the total is either an 8 or a 9, this is known as a ‘natural’ and the player hand is left as it is. In most cases, the natural hand is the automatic winner, unless of course the banker hand is also an 8 or a 9, in which case more cards will be drawn. A player hand also stands on a card total of either 6 or 7 and draws on any other total from 0 to 5. The only time this doesn’t happen is if the banker has a natural hand, in which case the banker hand wins automatically.
There are also additional rules regarding the banker position which are somewhat more complicated than the rules regarding the player position are. For example, the banker position must stand on a total of either 7, 8 or 9 and must draw on any total that is a 0, 1 or 2. However, on any other hand total, the banker position must first see what the player position third card value is. The banker position will need to hit on a 3 unless the player draws an 8 and will hit on a 4 unless the players third card drawn is either a 1, 8, 9, or 10. The banker position must also hit on a 5 but only in the event that the player position third card drawn is a 4 5, 6, or a 7 and must hit on a 6 unless the player position third card drawn happens to be a 6 or a 7.
What Happens When No Naturals Occur?
When either position has a natural 8 or 9 the game ends immediately, with no additional cards drawn at all. The same can be said for the player position standing hands of 6 or 7 as well as the banker positions standing hands of either 6, 7, 8 or 9. Neither hand will ever get more than three cards in any round of baccarat. Winning bets are paid out at even money (1:1) and losing bets are collected.
Baccarat Tips and Strategies
One of the most important things to remember about baccarat is that it is essentially a game of luck. It is a guessing game and it is up to you to guess whether the banker position will win or the player position will win. To this end there really is no real baccarat strategy to speak of, other than effective bankroll management, along with a few other useful tips and tricks. A good practice to follow when playing baccarat online at Play UK is to always ensure that you have enough bankroll to sustain your session. This way you will always get the most out of your game, each and every time. It is also a good idea to try some our baccarat games out for free, where you can use a bonus bet to try both the banker and the player positions out for yourself. We have some great options to choose from currently, including great live dealer baccarat games like Baccarat Squeeze, Baccarat Control Squeeze, and Speed Baccarat.
When you first start to play online, you may be quite amazed at just how easy and how fast the game actually is. However, it is important to take your time and build up your bets slowly. Baccarat is so much fun that it is easy to get caught up in it and start playing big bets all the time. If you happen to be enjoying a winning streak then playing bigger bets is more than okay. However, if you start experiencing a few losses, do not try and make up for it with bigger bets in order to try and regain some of your lost winnings. This is a sure way to deplete your bankroll very quickly. Remember, you can always come back to Play UK in a bit and continue playing. Set yourself realistic goals and stick to them. Baccarat is all about enjoyment and setting yourself a realistic and achievable daily goal is the best way to ensure that you always enjoy the game. For example, if you decide to set yourself a target of say £50, then once you’ve achieved that goal, close your session for the day and come back a bit later or the next day. Remember, you can also play our baccarat games on the go via your preferred mobile device including the vast majority of smart phones and tablet devices. Be sure to take advantage of one of our many bonus offers or daily, weekly and monthly promotions on all of our casino games. This is a great way to instantly boost your bankroll, giving you even more chances of playing the best online baccarat games in the UK.