Baccarat, also known as punto banco, is one of the oldest and most popular games in casinos all over the world. It is especially popular among high-rollers and Asian gamblers. In Macau, baccarat is extremely dominant. Although the game seems serious and elegant, it is really as simple as betting on the flip of a coin.
There are three types of baccarat tables:
Big Table Baccarat is played in a snooty roped off area to separate itself from the other games. The players are usually very well dressed and the table minimums are often high. The regular baccarat table is about the size of a craps table with 3 casino dealers and up to 12 or 14 players. Each player, including the player dealing, may still bet on either the player or the banker but it is customary for the dealer to bet on the banker.
The deal will rotate around the table, much like the dice rotate around the craps table. If a player does not want to deal they may pass the shoe to the next player. The same person will keep dealing as long as the banker keeps winning. The person dealing will put two cards, face down, tucked under the shoe, and give the player with the greatest bet on the player the other two cards, face down. This player then looks at the cards and then gives them back to the player who is dealing. Then the player who is dealing will turn over the cards and one of the casino dealers will announce the totals. Depending on the totals, the dealer may then instruct the person dealing the cards to deal a third card. Finally the dealers will pay winning wagers and collect losing ones out of the dealer's tray. The player who actually deals is not assuming any financial responsibility of the other players bets, unlike pai gow, and is just turning over cards.
Mini baccarat has the same rules are big table baccarat. However, unlike the game at the big table, the dealer turns over all the cards, making for a much faster game. The odds are exactly the same as those of the big table, assuming the same number of decks. Mini baccarat is sometimes dealt from a six-deck shoe, changing the odds slightly. It can usually be found in the main casino areas.
Midi baccarat is the same as mini baccarat, except the size of the table is larger, and it is usually found in the high-limit rooms, as opposed to the main casino floor.
- Usually eight decks of cards are used.
- Cards are given point values as follows: Ace = 1, 2-9 = pip value, 10 and face cards = 0.
- At the start of a new shoe, the dealer will turn over one card. This will determine how many cards the dealer will burn, according to the baccarat value, except a 10 or face card will result in 10 cards burned.
- The cut card will be placed 16 cards from the bottom of the shoe. When the cut card appears, the dealer will finish that hand, play one more hand, and then start a new shoe. If the cut card comes out instead of the first card, the dealer will finish that hand, and then start a new shoe.
- Play begins by all players betting either on the "player", "banker", or a tie. At some tables you may also bet on a player pair and banker pair.
- After all bets are down, the dealer gives two cards each to the player and the banker. The score of the hand is the right digit of the total of the cards. For example, if the two cards were an 8 and 7, then the total would be 15 and the score would be a 5. The scores will always range from 0 to 9 and it is impossible to bust.
- A third card may or may not be dealt to either the player or the dealer depending on the following rules:
- If either the player or the banker has a total of an 8 or a 9 they both stand. This rule overrides all other rules.
- If the player's total is 5 or less, then the player hits, otherwise the player stands.
If the player stands, then the banker hits on a total of 5 or less. If the player does hit then use the chart below to determine if the banker hits (H) or stands (S):
Baccarat Drawing Rules
Player's Third Card 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 7 S S S S S S S S S S 6 S S S S S S H H S S 5 S S S S H H H H S S 4 S S H H H H H H S S 3 H H H H H H H H S H 2 H H H H H H H H H H 1 H H H H H H H H H H 0 H H H H H H H H H H
- The score of the player and dealer are compared; the winner is the one that is greater. Winning bets on the banker pay 19 to 20 (even money less a 5% commission), winning bets on the player pay 1 to 1, winning bets on a tie usually pay 8 to 1. In the event of a tie, banker and player bets will push.
- On winning banker bets, the player will be paid even money. Meanwhile, the dealer will keep track of the 5% commission owed with small laminated markers. At the end of each shoe, or when a player wants to leave, the dealer will collect all commissions owed.
The following return tables show the possible outcomes of the banker, player, and tie bets for an 8-deck game. As the lower right cells in each table show, the house edge is 1.06% on the banker bet, 1.24% on the player bet, and 14.36% on the tie.
Banker Bet — 8 Decks
Player Bet — 8 Decks
Tie Bet — 8 Decks
Pair Bets — 8 Decks
The following return tables show the possible outcomes of the banker, player, and tie bets for a 6-deck game. As the lower right cells in each table show, the house edge is 1.06% on the banker bet, 1.24% on the player bet, and 14.44% on the tie.
Banker Bet — 6 Decks
Player Bet — 6 Decks
Tie Bet — 6 Decks
Pair Bets — 6 Decks
The following return tables show the possible outcomes of the banker, player, and tie bets for a single deck game. As the lower right cells in each table show, the house edge is 1.01% on the banker bet, 1.29% on the player bet, and 15.75% on the tie.
Banker Bet — 1 Deck
Player Bet — 1 Deck
Tie Bet — 1 Deck
Pair Bets — 1 Deck
Liberal Banker Rules
Sign seen at the D casino
A less than 5% commission on winning banker bets has been known to happen. Currently, the only land casino I know to offer reduced-commission baccarat, at 4%, is the D in downtown Las Vegas. For a short time in 1989 the Sahara offered 0% commission. The Betfair Internet casino offers a 2.75% commision in their "Zero Lounge." The following table shows the expected value on the banker bet according to the number of decks and commission.
Reduced Commission Baccarat
|Commission||1 Deck||6 Decks||8 Decks|
Liberal Player Rules
The "bonus casino" at the 5 Dimes Internet sports book pays 1.01 to 1 on the Player bet. Assuming eight decks, the house edge on that bet is 1.04%.
Liberal Tie Rules
The tie has been known to pay 9 to 1 at some casinos. For examle Binion's Horseshoe in Las Vegas used to, and the Bodog online casino pays 9 to 1. Here is the house edge on the tie bet if it pays 9 to 1.
- 8 decks: 4.844%
- 6 decks: 4.931%
- 1 deck: 6.385%
The "bonus casino" at the 5 Dimes Internet sports book pays 9.4 to 1 on the Tie bet. Assuming eight decks, the house edge on that bet is 0.79%.
I have heard that some casinos in London offer "egalite" bets on specific ties, by the total of the tie. For example, a 5-5 tie pays 110 to 1. The following table shows the probability and return for each bet, based on eight decks.
Egalite Bets — Eight Decks
Here are some Egalite bet groupings they have at some casinos in the U.K.
U.K. Egalite Bets Groups — Eight Decks
|1 to 3||70||0.012555||-0.108574|
|4 to 5||60||0.015201||-0.072769|
|6 to 7||22||0.039590||-0.089426|
|8 to 9||40||0.022012||-0.097502|
Every baccarat table will have plenty of score cards and pencils for the players to keep track of the outcome of every hand. Most players will do so religiously and carefully analyze their card for trends as the winning hand switches back and forth from the banker to the player. This is a big waste of time! The smart player will bet on the banker every time and leave the score cards alone.
Now you can enter any distribution of cards and my baccarat calculator will give you the odds for the Player, Banker, and Tie bets, broken down by all possible Player and Banker totals.
Practice your game for free with my baccarat game. It features a full history display and exact odds for the next hand.
Practice Mini-Baccarat for Free
Try my mini-baccarat Java applet. This will allow you to get familiar with the rules and how the game is played.
Before you go and waste your money with a betting system in the casinos, test it out on my 250,000 simulated eight-deck shoes. They were created using a Mersenne Twister random number generator and a Fisher Yates shuffle.Each file has 25,000 shoes and is 4.06 MB in size. Each line in each file is an individual shoe, starting with the shoe number, and followed by the outcome of each hand (P/B/T). The files are comma delimited for easy loading into Excel.
- Simulation 1
- Simulation 2
- Simulation 3
- Simulation 4
- Simulation 5
- Simulation 6
- Simulation 7
- Simulation 8
- Simulation 9
- Simulation 10
- 1000 6-deck shoes: 1000 computer generated baccarat shoes using six decks. (1.6 MB)
- 1000 8-deck shoes: 1000 computer generated baccarat shoes using eight decks. (1.2 MB)
- Appendix 1: Number of combinations of every combination of banker and player scores.
- Appendix 2: Explores the topic of card counting in baccarat.
- Appendix 3: Probabilities of each outcome after 2, 4, or 5 cards dealt.
- Appendix 4: Streaks in baccarat.
- Appendix 5: Baccarat side bets, such as the Dragon Bonus and 4-5-6.
- Appendix 6: EZ Baccarat and various versions of commission free baccarat.
- Appendix 7: Flashing dealers
- Appendix 8: Card Counting the Dragon side bet in EZ Baccarat
- Appendix 8: Card Counting the Panda 8 side bet in EZ Baccarat
- Appendix 9: Baccarat odds given a future known card
- Chemin de Fer: Version of baccarat where the player and banker have some free will in taking a third card.
- Double Fortune Baccarat: A baccarat game with two shoes.
- Three Card Baccarat: Baccarat variant seen in Macau.
- Super Pan 9
- Baccarat Gold: Baccarat variant seen in California
- 2 to 1 Baccarat: Baccarat variant seen in Australia
- Power Baccarat 98: Baccarat variant seen in Singapore
- Baccarat Statistics Signs: How to interpret those monitors showing the history of the shoe.
- Baccarat Insurance: Mid-state bets offered in Asia.
- For the baccarat scene in Macau, please visit my companion site, Wizard of Macau.
- Effect of Macau-style promotional chips in baccarat -- From my companion site Wizard of Macau.
- For a simplified guide to baccarat, visit my other companion site, Wizard of Vegas.
- Edge Sorting in Baccarat — Article by Eliot Jacobson about gaining an advantage in baccarat via card rotation.
- German translation of this baccarat page.
- My baccarat advice in Spanish at LasApuestas.mx.