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A Novices Guide to Learning to Play Baccarat


Did you know that in Ian Fleming’s original James Bond novel, Casino Royale, Bond took on Le Chiffre at the famous casino in Monte Carlo at a card game. Now popular knowledge and the later film versions of the story had Bond beat Le Chiffre at poker, but in the original novel, Bond and the villain actually played a different game; Baccarat.

Although it is perhaps not as famous in the UK as games like blackjack or poker, baccarat remains a hugely popular game across the world and enjoys a massive following in casinos in the East, where it is arguably the most popular of all card-based casino games. You can of course find baccarat in plenty of casinos in the UK, including of course those operated by bet365.

While many in the UK have a good understanding of card games like blackjack, poker and even video poker and casino hold’em, baccarat remains less well understood. That is something of an anomaly because of all the card games available in the UK at sites like bet365, baccarat is one of the simplest and most betting-friendly games you can play.

So in this article, we are going to take a look at how you bet on baccarat, if there are any strategies to guide you when you play as well as some examples of games you can try your new skills out on.

How to Play Baccarat

The very basic aim of a game of Blackjack is to bet on whether the dealer, or the player will get the hand of cards that total closest to the maximum score in the game (which is 9). One other betting option is for the players to tie on the same score. In some versions of Baccarat, there are additional side bets available players can make to enhance their experience.

So the question now is how does a player make their score and the answer to that is that it is rather simple.

All cards in the game operate as their face value apart from the cards ranked 10 or higher. So an ace is ranked as number 1 (not 11), 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9 of each suit are all ranked by their number, whereas the 10’s and all picture cards (jack, queen and king) are ranked as 0 for the purposes of the game.

The suits of the card do not matter in Baccarat, it is solely the number of the card that determines its value.

Once you have placed your bet on whether you think the player or dealer will win the hand, or the game will be a tie, then the cards are dealt. The player and dealer receives two cards, face up and what then happens is determined by the score your cards total up to.

Now as you may be aware, you could land two cards that take your total above nine (such as an eight and five for example). Whenever this occurs, you disregard the first digit in the number of your total. In this case it would be 13, so you disregard the 1, leaving you with 3, which is your score.

What then happens in the game is decided entirely by your score as players do not pick and choose their strategy. If you score five or less with your cards, you draw a card to add to the total. If you score 6 or 7, you stand, you also stand with a score of 8 or 9, which is called a Natural.

Oncethe players final score is established by them either drawing a card or standing, the score achieved by the player will then determine what the banker does. If a player Stands (has a score of 6 or more), then the banker will draw on any score they have of five or less.

However, if a player draws, then things get a little more complicated. Depending on a combination of what the bankers score is and what the third card drawn by the player was, this will determine what the banker does, whether they draw a card, or stand.

At the end of the round, whichever player scores closest to nine wins the game, unless both players score is equal in which case it ends in a tie. Any bets made on the winning player (or tie) are then paid out.

So, is there any skill element in Baccarat?

No, there is no skill element in Baccarat as the options you have are predetermined by the cards you draw in the game. You have no control over whether to draw or stand as this is determined only by the cards you receive.

The great news is that you don’t even have to understand the rules of the game in detail to play, as the software you use will automate the entire process for you. Indeed, all you need to focus on is what of the three betting options you want to back.

Baccarat betting options

There are just three main betting options in Baccarat, betting on the player, betting on the dealer and betting on the tie.

Historically, it has been viewed as bad form to bet on the dealer, although this is less prevalent now when playing on mobile or desktop devices as it was when playing in casinos, when it was preferable to back the player to win, if only to keep things amenable around the table.

Backing the tie pays out at around 9/1 with most games, whereas betting on the player tends to pay out at around even money and bets on the banker usually paying out just fractionally less than even money.

  • Side bets

Given that Baccarat is a very simple game, and wanting to give players more options to bet on, many modern versions of the game offer a player a number of side bets to bet on if they so wish. These bets tend to be based around players being dealt a pair of numbers in the game.

Examples of the side bets you can make that are commonly found in games of Baccarat online today include:

  • Either Pair – (odds of around 5/1) – a bet on either player landing a pair (2 cards of the same value) in their hand.
  • Player Pair / Banker Pair (odds of around 11/1) – a bet on whether the player or the banker will land a pair of cards in their hand.
  • Perfect Pair (Odds of around 25/1) – Given that in the game of Baccarat, a number of decks of cards are used to play, it is possible to be dealt two cards of the same value and the same suit. When this happens this is called a perfect pair, but the chances of this happening are much smaller than for a standard pair.

The important thing to note with these side bets is that they are decided by the first two cards dealt to the player or banker in the game. Any cards drawn after the first two cards dealt do not count.

Baccarat is a very simple but enjoyable game and with a relatively low house edge, it is one of the casino games that offers players a decent chance of a return. Try it today at bet365 Games with their version of Baccarat offering all of what is outlined above.