If you have never taken a seat at a baccarat table, you are not alone, as baccarat is the most intimidating table on the casino floor. Unlike blackjack, craps, or roulette and other main staples of any casino floor, baccarat is going to be found almost exclusively in the high limit pit.
The table layout and reader board can be confusing, and the high limits keep many casual players away from the game. And while it can be tough to muster up the courage to take a seat at a baccarat table for the first time, I will tell you that you need to give it a shot, as baccarat is the most player-friendly game in the casino! As intimidating as a bac table might be at first, once you see how the game is played, you will be blown away at how simple the game is.
Baccarat is a game where the player has very few decisions to make and there really is no way to play it poorly. Throw in the fact that baccarat has one of the lowest house advantages of any game and you can see why the biggest gamblers in the world flock to baccarat!
In this article:
We are going to break down the ways that you can bet on baccarat by looking at the baccarat player bets, baccarat banker bets, and the baccarat tie bets.
We will tell you how to make each bet, what it takes to win, and what the casino advantage is for each bet. Let’s get started by taking a look at how you win at baccarat.
How To Win At Baccarat
At a baccarat game, there are two sets of cards dealt each hand, the player hand and the banker hand. Gamblers can make wagers on either the player hand or the banker hand, and the winning hand is the hand that comes closest to 9.
Numbered cards 9 and below are counted at their face value and all face cards count as zero.
If the cards add up to a number higher than 9, the 1 drops off, and the hand is counted as the second digit. For example, if the player hand is a 7 and an 8, which total 15, the 1 would fall off and the hand would be counted as a 5.
Baccarat Drawing Rules:
There are set drawing rules, which we will go into in more detail here in a minute, but just know that neither the player nor the dealer makes any drawing decisions.
All cards that are drawn after the initial deal are based on a predetermined rule set and after deciding which hand they want to bet on, baccarat player or baccarat banker, all that is left is for the gambler to watch the action and see if they win!
Now that you know how baccarat is played, we will dive right into telling you about the various betting options, including the baccarat player bet, baccarat banker bet, and baccarat tie bet. First, we will take a look at one of the most player-friendly bets in the casino, the baccarat player bet!
Baccarat Player Bets
While this hand is known as the player hand, it doesn’t actually mean that it is the hand the player must wager on.
As a gambler, you can make bets on either the player or the banker hand. Mathematically, both bets are excellent gambles, as the player hand only holds 1.24%.
The low house edge makes the baccarat player bet one of the most attractive that you are going to find in any casino game.
On the initial deal:
Both the baccarat player and baccarat dealer hands are each dealt two cards. Depending on the ranks of these hands, there are a set of predetermined drawing rules that are used, with the player hand drawing first.
If either the baccarat player or baccarat banker hands are dealt an 8 or a 9, the hand is over, with the wagers on the hand closest to 9 winning. These are known as natural hands.
If neither hand adds up to an 8 or 9, then the baccarat player hand will draw first. If the player hand adds up to a 6 or a 7, they will stand pat, and the banker hand will then draw. If the player hand adds up to a 5 or below, then they will draw one additional card.
After this one additional card draw is complete, the baccarat player hand is complete, and the action will turn to the baccarat banker hand to complete the deal.
Baccarat Banker Bets
We just talked about how attractive the baccarat player bet is, as it holds a blink, and you will miss it, 1.24%. But believe it or not, the baccarat banker hand is an even better bet for gamblers, as it holds only 1.06%! The smaller house edge makes a play on the banker one of the best bets you can make in the casino.
The Bank Is Better:
The reason that the baccarat banker hand is a slightly better gamble than the baccarat player hand is because of the drawing rules. The banker gets to go last, and they also have more aggressive drawing rules, resulting in a lower house advantage.
A wager on the banker is such a great bet that the casino actually has to charge you a 5% commission on all winning bets, to make sure that they have a statistical advantage.
Without this commission, the gambler would actually have the advantage on the house, and as we all know, casinos aren’t built on winners, and the house always wins, so they add in the 5% vig to sway the math back into their favor. We won’t go into too much detail on the baccarat banker hand drawing rules as they are quite complicated, but the main thing to understand here is that if the player draws or stands pat and can’t beat the banker, the banker wins.
If the player draws or stands pat and is ahead of the banker, the banker will draw one additional card to try and beat the player hand.
Baccarat Tie Bets
The vast majority of the action that you are going to see at the baccarat table is going to be on the player or the banker.
Mathematically the baccarat banker bet is a slightly better bet.
But both bets are very attractive, and when you are choosing whether or not to bet on the player or the banker, it is basically a coin flip decision where you really can’t go too wrong.
That can’t be said for the tie bet though, as the tie bet on a baccarat game is an awful bet that you need to avoid at all costs!
We have already talked about the baccarat player and baccarat banker bets holding just over 1%, and when you look at the tie bet holding over 14%, you know it should be a bet that you never make!
The casino adds the tie side bet to the game to increase their hold and you should leave it to the tourists, and instead focus on the banker or player wagers. I am hesitant to even tell you how a tie bet works, as it is such a terrible bet, but here we go anyway.
When you make the tie bet, you are betting on whether or not the player and the banker hands will be a tie after all draws are completed.
If the hands tie, all wagers on the tie bet will be paid out at 8-1 odds.
While 8-1 is a juicy payout, particularly when the other bets pay out just even money, the true odds of a tie are closer to 10-1.
That built-in house advantage makes the tie bet a risky proposition at best.
Every once in a while, you might find a baccarat game where the tie bet pays out 9-1, which is a significantly better bet, as it only holds about 4%. But even with the increased odds, the tie bet still holds about three times more than a bet on the player or the banker.
Why Does The Banker Have The Advantage In Baccarat?
So, now that you know the three main bets that you can make on baccarat, which bet should you make? You got it, the banker!
In a game where the gambler basically just watches as the hand plays out, as there are no meaningful player decisions after your initial bet is placed, you should always be siding with the house and taking the bet with the lower house advantage.
In reality, that 0.2% isn’t going to make much of a difference in your short-term results, as you would have to play millions of hands before the law of large numbers catches up with your play, but at the end of the day, if the casino gives you the option to make a better bet, you should take advantage of it.
That isn’t to say that making bets on the player is a bad bet, as it is still one of the best bets you are going to find in the casino, but the banker is the better bet and is where you should be making your plays.
All of that being said, as long as you are staying away from the tie bet, you can never go too wrong when playing baccarat!
Now that we have explained how baccarat betting works and how the game is played, are you ready to get in on the action? If so, I would suggest giving online baccarat a try as the online version of the game is fast-paced and online casinos are going to have limits that are much more friendly to your bankroll.
Are you looking for a place to play online baccarat?
Look no further than TheSportsGeek’s Baccarat Sites page, where we bring our readers exclusive offers at all of the top online casinos. Here you will find sign-up bonuses, deposit matches, and more, and you aren’t going to want to miss out on all of the free money!
Thanks for reading and good luck playing online baccarat! And remember, you can bet the banker or the player, but stay away from the tie!
PLACE YOUR BETS NOW!