Baccarat Basics

Baccarat is a game of simple rules and relatively low house edge. It also generates a significant percentage of Nevada’s table gaming revenues. However, the game is not as intellectually stimulating as poker or other noncasino card games.

Traditionally, a single 12-seat baccarat table featured three tuxedo-clad dealers and two supervisors. The stadium baccarat setup increased capacity and player compression, creating more intensity and, at times, barely controlled pandemonium.

Game rules

Baccarat rules differ slightly from casino to casino. Whether you’re playing at a sticky-floor California card room or a tuxedo-laden casino in Monaco, there are some basic rules to keep in mind. For example, the value of a hand is determined by its last digit, with nine being the highest possible score. Aces count as one point, and picture cards are worth zero points.

Players sit at specific seats around a table and place bets on player, banker, or tie. The croupier deals the cards and announces each hand’s total. The hand with the closest value to nine wins. Winning bets are paid out even money, while losing bets are returned.

The game begins with a player declaring they want to go “bank”. After this, the other players counterclockwise decide who will play against the bank. Once the player has gone bank, they can add more bets to their initial amount, but cannot exceed it.


In baccarat, you bet on either the Player Hand or the Banker Hand. The winning hand is the one that totals closest to nine. Face cards count as 0, and aces are worth 1. All other cards count their actual value. A winning Player or Banker bet pays even money, but a Tie Bet pays 9:1. However, the tie bet has a high house edge and you should avoid making this bet.

The game is famously played in the 1956 French heist film Bob le Flambeur and in 2007’s Rush Hour 3. In America, the game is usually played as “baccarat-chemin de fer.”

Advanced players use pattern systems to reduce the house edge. These strategies involve watching for double-win streaks and doubling their bet size when these appear. They also use positive progression systems, which encourage players to increase their bet size after wins and decrease it after losses. Negative progression systems, such as Martingale, discourage this behavior and can damage your bankroll.


Baccarat can be a fun and exciting game for players to play. However, it’s important to understand how the game works before you begin betting. It’s also a good idea to decide how much you want to spend in advance. This will help you keep track of your money and prevent you from spending more than you can afford to lose.

A winning baccarat hand is one that totals closest to nine points. The point values of the cards are determined by adding the value of each card to the number of the player’s hand. Picture cards and tens are worth zero points, while numbers two through nine are worth their face value, and the ace is worth one point.

The ‘Banker’ and ‘Player’ bets pay out different amounts of money, and the ‘Tie’ bet pays 8:1. In commission-free baccarat, the ‘Mini Royal’ side bet wins if the Banker and Player have a three-card total of ‘6’ or a tie.


Baccarat is a game of chance, but you can make some decisions to help improve your chances of winning. For instance, it’s important to learn the rules of the game and understand how a round works. You also want to avoid certain bets like the tie, as it can drain your bankroll quickly.

One popular baccarat strategy is called the Labouchere system, which uses a sequence of numbers to calculate your bets. The basic idea is that you increase each losing wager by one chip, and for each win, you remove a number from the sequence.

Another strategy is known as edge sorting, which involves identifying imperfections on the back of cards to gain an advantage. This method became a hot topic of discussion after Phil Ivey used it to win millions from two casinos. He subsequently sued them both and was awarded the money. However, some casinos still refuse to pay him. These strategies can lead to large losses if not carefully monitored.