How to play Baccarat — the basic rules

Baccarat is a hugely popular game in the online casino world and the Unibet Live Casino but many newcomers to online gambling don’t understand how to play Baccarat.

This is natural as Baccarat is certainly not as well known as high-profile card games such as poker and blackjack.

But Baccarat is a fun game to play and is certainly an excellent way of conditioning your card skills, especially when you’re learning how to add hand totals quickly and effectively.

Baccarat is a game between the player and banker, so you are effectively competing against the live casino when you bet on Baccarat. It’s a game you can quickly get used to and you don’t even need to know the rules to make a bet — although it naturally does help to know what you’re doing!

You can also play on tables with maximum bet limits so you don’t play with too much on your early experiences of Baccarat.

In this guide we will teach you the basic Baccarat rules, as well as how to bet on Baccarat and how the points system works. If you are also interested in Roulette you can read our guide on how Roulette works in a Live Casino.

How do you play live Baccarat? 

Live Baccarat is a straightforward game between the player and the banker. The usual Baccarat game is called ‘Punto Banco’ (‘Player Banker’ in Spanish) and is what we will run through in this guide.

In Baccarat, the player and dealer are both drawn two cards. You want your cards to total as close to 9 as possible. You place a bet on which hand you think will win, before the cards are exposed. And, depending on the strength of the cards, either the player or dealer wins the hand.

There is a possibility for a tie in Baccarat but that outcome is extremely unlikely and not something many players bet on. You will only ever be drawn two cards to start, with a possibility of a third card. We will explain why you receive a third card in Baccarat later in this guide.

The goal is to get a hand value that is closest to 9. Whoever achieves this wins the game. But there are complexities to the Baccarat counting system that we will now take a look at.

How do points work in live Baccarat? 

The complexity of Baccarat comes from the card values, or points. That’s because it’s not as simple as just adding up the values of your two cards and comparing that result to the dealer’s.

Number cards from 2-9 are worth their number, while 10, Jack, Queen and King are worth 0. Aces are worth 1.

Remember, the aim is to reach 9 or be the closest to it. And the card values are integral to working out what your hand is worth. Perhaps the most important thing to remember in Baccarat is you don’t go bust, unlike blackjack. Instead, if your two cards exceed 9, then you delete the left digit and keep the right one.

For example: You draw 3 and 9 in Baccarat. That gives you a hand of 12, but the left value is deleted. So your actual hand is a weak 2.

Another example: You draw 8 and 9 in Baccarat. That gives you a hand of 17, but the left value is deleted. So your actual hand is a strong 7.

When is the third card dealt in Baccarat?

When all bets have been placed and the two cards from the player and dealer have been turned over, there is a chance of a third card being played on either hand. This is because there are rules in Baccarat on when a player must get a third card — much like when you stick or hit in blackjack. Unlike blackjack, however, there is no decision for the player to make as the rules make the choice for them.

Below, we explain when you will receive a third card in Baccarat.

  • If the player’s hand totals to 5 or less, another card will be dealt to him. The same applies for the Banker. If the player has 6, 7, 8 or 9 then they will stand.
  • If Banker’s total is 2, they will draw another card regardless of what the Player’s third card is.
  • If Banker’s total is 3, they will draw another card unless the Player’s third card is an 8.
  • If Banker’s total is 4, the Banker draws unless the Player’s third card is a 0, 1, 8 or 9.
  • If the Banker has 5, he draws if the Player’s third card is a 4, 5, 6 or 7.
  • If the Banker has a 6, then he draws a third card provided that the Player’s third card is a 6 or 7.
  • If the Banker’s total is 7, then he stands.

Baccarat betting tactics 

While certain poker games are very tactical and blackjack has a degree of difficulty, the beauty of Baccarat is that there are not really any tactics. As explained above, you as the player will receive a third card if your starting hand value is 5 or less. The banker receives a third card on a varying degree of circumstances.

But crucially, neither the player nor the banker choose whether or not to play a third card. The rules make this decision for them.

Yet while there are no Baccarat tactics in regards to the cards, there are Baccarat betting tactics that some people use, as well will explore below.

Betting on Baccarat

In Baccarat, you don’t have to bet on your own hand. That may sound silly but actually you can bet on the dealer to win the hand! Our live Baccarat boards give you the option to bet fixed stakes on either yourself or the dealer winning the hand. All you have to do is place the bet and then sit back and relax.

However, there are other areas of the Baccarat table you can bet on. The Baccarat table is set up in a horse shoe, with players able to either bet on themselves or the dealer. You can bet on a tie but very few people actually do this, as the chances of a tied game are slim.

Many Baccarat players therefore bet against their own hand! You can back the dealer to win all day long if you think that will happen. As soon as those cards are dealt there’s nothing the player or dealer can do but sit back and wait for the result.

Side bets in Baccarat 

Side bets are also popular in Baccarat and something players make when they get used to the game. Here, you can also place side bets on Player Pair, Banker Pair, Perfect Pair, Either Pair, or Big and Small.

The side bets speak for themselves. The Player Pair and Banker Pair bets win if there is a pair on the Payer or Banker side when the cards are turned over. Either Pair wins if there is a pair between the four cards, while a Perfect Pair is when there is a pair of the same suit.

The Big wins if the total of the cards dealt to the Player and Banker make 5 or 6, while the Small pays out if the total between the Player and the Banker’s hands is 4.

These side bets make Baccarat far more interesting to seasoned gamers. But they may not be sensible for first-time players to the game who are getting used to the rules. Live Baccarat can be fast-paced but we have tables that take things slower, so you can get accustomed to the action.

Live Baccarat in the Unibet lobby 

So where can you play live Baccarat wherever and whoever you want? At the Unibet live casino of course.

Here in the live casino we have scores of games for you to play on LIVE via our casino video feeds. You can join tables and chat to the dealers all day long, at a time and place that suits you.

The beauty of the Unibet live casino is that there’s always a game to join. And in Baccarat we don’t just offer straight-forward Punto Banco. You can play Dragon Tiger, where you simply bet on the Dragon, the Tiger or a tie. Whichever is the strongest single card from the draw wins!

Speed Baccarat is also a popular game where the cards are drawn face up, so you can get to the result of each game as quickly as possible! This is certainly one for those who are good at mental arithmetic. Conversely, Baccarat Squeeze sees the dealer take their time revealing the card, to create even more tension in the room.

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