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What Is Baccarat?

What Is Baccarat?

Enter the realm of baccarat, a timeless casino classic beloved by players worldwide for its captivating allure and global appeal. But, what is baccarat? This American casino guide is specially crafted for those who revel in the excitement of casino games from the comfort of their home. Here, we delve into the essence of baccarat, a game renowned for its simplicity yet profound depth. For newcomers or seasoned players, our guide imparts essential knowledge, ensuring an understanding and enjoyment of the game of baccarat.

Baccarat’s allure lies in its straightforward yet elegant gameplay, making it a favorite among casino enthusiasts. Its unique blend of chance, strategy, and sophistication offers an unparalleled gaming experience. Discover the intricacies of baccarat with us. Immerse yourself in a captivating world where every game promises an unfolding adventure.

What is Baccarat? A Glimpse Into its Past and Present Splendor

At its core, both live and baccarat online are games of comparison played between two hands: the “Player” and the “Banker.” Each baccarat coup (round of play) has three possible outcomes: “Player” (the player has the higher score), “Banker” (the banker has the higher score), and a “Tie.” The essence of what is baccarat lies in its simplicity – the game requires no technical skill from the player.

The goal is straightforward: to bet on which hand will have a total value closest to nine. Cards 2 through 9 are worth their face value, an Ace counts as one, and 10s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings have no value (zero). For hands surpassing nine in total value, the second digit becomes the hand’s value, simplifying the scoring process. For example, a 7 and a 5, which total 12, make a two-point hand.

Understanding what is baccarat begins with recognizing the ease of play. Players only need to place their bets on either the Player, Banker, or a Tie before the cards are dealt. This simple decision is the extent of the player’s involvement, making baccarat a game of anticipation and chance.

The Evolution of the Baccarat Game

The intriguing and exciting history of Baccarat traces its roots back to the 1400s when Felix Falguierein, an ardent gambler from Italy, started the game. The game’s name is derived from ‘bacarra’, the Italian word for ‘zero,’ which implies why all tens and face cards are valued at zero.

Though medieval times’ tarot cards marked the beginning of the game, they were slowly replaced by the normal playing cards. After some time, the game made its way to France, where the Chemin de Fer variant was adopted. Chemin de Fer is a variant of Baccarat en banque. The game spread quickly around the 18th and 19th centuries, and it was all over Europe.

The game got to Las Vegas from Cuba through a gambler-cum-writer known as Tommy Renzoni. The rest is history. Currently, Baccarat is legal to play in many land-based casinos and all online casino sites in the United States, where gambling is legal, and in other parts of the world. For those looking to learn more about the game and its history, a Baccarat Guide can be an invaluable resource.

The Rules of Baccarat

The rules of baccarat are straightforward, contributing to its widespread popularity in casinos. Each hand starts with two cards dealt to both the Player and the Banker. If either hand totals eight or nine, this is called a “natural,” and no more cards are dealt. If neither hand has a natural, the game’s rules dictate whether the Player’s hand must draw a third card.

The decision for the Player’s hand to draw a third card depends on its total:

  • If the total is between 0 and 5, the player draws a third card.
  • If the total is 6 or 7, the player stands.


The Banker’s play is a bit more complex and is determined not only by their own hand’s total but also by the Player’s hand. The Banker may draw a third card based on a combination of these factors, adhering to predetermined rules that make baccarat a game of fixed strategy rather than one of choice.

Odds and Probabilities

Understanding the odds is a critical part of understanding what is baccarat. The game has a relatively low house edge, which makes it attractive to players:

Banker’s Hand
The house edge is usually around 1.06%, making it one of the best bets in the casino.

Player’s Hand
The house edge is slightly higher, around 1.24%.

Tie Bet
The house edge jumps to over 14% on tie bets, explaining why they are generally advised against.

Bets to Avoid

In baccarat, the tie bet is often deemed less favorable due to its high house edge among various betting options. While the 8:1 payout may seem attractive, the house has a significant advantage of 14.36% on tie bets. This means for every $1 bet on a tie, the expected loss is approximately $0.1436. In contrast, the Banker bet, with a house edge of just 1.06%, means an expected loss of just $0.0106 for every $1 bet.

Comparatively, betting on the Player’s hand is also a safer bet than the tie, with a house edge of 1.24%. Though the Player’s hand doesn’t carry the commission of the Banker bet, it’s slightly less advantageous in terms of odds.

The bottom line is, that while the tie bet may tempt players with its high payout, its low odds of winning make it an unattractive option for those employing a strategy in baccarat. The safer and more strategic bets lie in the Banker and Player’s hands.

Multiple online casino reviews can provide you further insight into other players’ experiences with the game and preferred bets.

Variations of Baccarat

Baccarat’s enduring appeal is partly due to its various forms, offering players diverse experiences. Understanding what is baccarat in its different versions is essential for a well-rounded perspective.

Punto Banco
The most common baccarat variation is often referred to simply as Baccarat. Here, the casino banks the game at all times, and the Player’s and Banker’s hands are played according to fixed rules.

Chemin de Fer
This version, popular in European casinos, allows players to take turns being the Banker, and players can make choices about whether to draw additional cards.

Baccarat Banque
Similar to Chemin de Fer, one player is the Banker for the duration of the game. Players can make choices that affect the game’s outcome, making it more interactive.

This is a smaller-scale version of Punto Banco, often with lower stakes. It’s played on a smaller table, making it a popular choice for casual players.

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Simple Strategies to Use

The most fundamental and effective strategy in baccarat is to consistently bet on the Banker’s hand. This isn’t just a random piece of advice but a strategy rooted in mathematics. The house edge when betting on the Banker is approximately 1.06 percent, indicating that this bet is statistically more likely to win compared to others. The expected return-to-player (RTP) for Banker bets is around 98.94 percent. For instance, theoretically, if you make one hundred $1 bets on the Banker, you would expect to win back around $98.94. It’s important to remember that these figures are theoretical and serve as a guideline to understand the viability of different bets.

Comparatively, the RTP for Player bets is slightly lower at 98.76 percent, while the Tie bet, with its enticing high payout, is less favorable due to a low RTP of 85.64 percent. The Banker’s advantage is further illustrated through the probabilities calculated over multiple decks: the Banker’s hand wins about 45.87% of the time, loses 44.65%, and ties 9.51%. After removing ties, the Banker’s hand wins 50.68% of the non-tie hands. The 5% commission charged on Banker bets is a balancing factor for this advantage.

Even with the commission, betting on the Banker remains the most prudent strategy, with a house edge of only 1.17%. This means for every $100 bet on the Banker, the expected loss is only $1.17, compared to $1.36 when betting on the Player.

Other Betting Strategies

Beyond the basic strategy, there are several other betting systems that players often employ in baccarat:

The Martingale System
Originating in 18th century France, this system involves doubling your bet after each loss, with the idea that a win will eventually recover all previous losses plus a profit equal to the original bet. In baccarat, this means if you bet $10 on the Banker and lose, your next bet should be $20 on the Banker, continuing until you win. The Martingale is based on the Mean Revision Theory, which assumes that payout will always return close to its predicted percentage in the long run. However, this system has limitations, such as the potential for rapid escalation of bet sizes and table limits that can prevent the strategy from being effective in the long term.

The Fibonacci Strategy
This strategy involves betting an amount determined by the Fibonacci sequence after a loss. In this sequence, each number is the sum of the two preceding ones (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc.). The idea is that after a win, you move back two numbers in the sequence, and after a loss, you move forward one number. This system is less aggressive than the Martingale but still carries risks.

The Paroli Strategy (Reverse Martingale)
The Paroli system is essentially the opposite of the Martingale. You double your bet after each win, aiming for three consecutive wins, then revert to the original bet after a loss or the third win. This strategy is designed to capitalize on winning streaks while minimizing the impact of losses.


In exploring the depths of what is baccarat, we’ve traversed through its basic rules, strategies, variations, and the move into the online domain. Baccarat stands out as a game of elegance, simplicity, and thrill—a perfect blend for enthusiasts who appreciate the finer aspects of casino gaming. Whether played in a grand casino or online from the comfort of home, baccarat offers a unique experience filled with excitement and anticipation. Always remember the importance of responsible gambling to ensure that your gaming experience remains enjoyable and controlled. Baccarat, with its rich history and simple yet profound gameplay, continues to be a cornerstone in the world of casino games.

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What Is Baccarat FAQs

How do I play Baccarat?

Baccarat is dealt by a shoe which can stack eight decks. Players will place their bets, and they will be dealt two cards facing down, for the Player and the Banker. The third is issued for a tie if called for. If a hand is worth close to 9, it wins. The cards from 1-9 keep their face values, and all tens count as 0. All aces will be counted as 1

How many types of Baccarat are there?

Baccarat has three main categories. Namely, Punto Banco, Chemin de Fer, Baccarat Banque. For people who play online, there are many variants of Baccarat that you can choose to play. But the main types are mainly available in land-based casinos.

Can I play Baccarat for free?

Yes. You can use the free Baccarat plays to practice the card game at no cost. In addition, many online casinos give free demos for Baccarat games. Players can use this opportunity to learn how the game works and the rules to be followed.

Is there any difference between Baccarat played online and the one played offline?

The online Baccarat is no different from the offline Baccarat. The rules and options are similar only that the online one uses Random Number Generators and software. Offline played Baccarat shuffles cards from the shoe.

Can you count cards in Baccarat?

No, you cannot. It is useless to count cards in Baccarat because they are shuffled after each Player is handed. Therefore, there is no deck penetration, and the deck cannot be taken out of the shoe.