If you’ve ever walked into a big casino, you’ve no doubt seen a group of James-Bond-villain-looking characters huddled around a Baccarat table in the high rollers area.  What is it about this mysterious game played by wealthy Chinese businessmen and British secret agents that makes it so popular?

Well, first of all, the odds in Baccarat are extraordinarily good, no matter how you play.  Second, it’s one of those games that is fairly complicated to understand, but extremely easy to play once you get it.  The purpose of this article is to make sure you get it.

How To Play Baccarat

Without going into extreme detail in this first article, I will give you enough information to give you an idea of what is going on, and how to successfully play your first Baccarat hands.

To start, let’s take a look at what the Baccarat table looks like:

Baccarat Table Layout

In the top half of the table you will notice two areas for cards- the Player and the Banker.  Much like in Blackjack, both the player and the banker will receive cards, and either the player or the banker will win based on the cards they receive.

However, in Baccarat, you always have the option to bet on either the banker’s or the player’s hand winning; you are not restricted to only betting on the player’s hand.  In addition, you can bet on the banker and the player ending in a tie.

Baccarat Bets

As you can see from the image above, there are three large areas that read “Tie”, “Banker”, and “Player”.  Use these areas to bet on the player winning, the banker winning, or the two hands resulting in a tie.

For this example, let’s make a bet on the player winning.  To place a bet on the player, I simply click on the area that reads “Player”, and then click on the chips in the lower right hand portion of the Baccarat table to add chips to my total wager on the player.

After I make a bet on the player, the Baccarat table looks like this:

Baccarat Bet on the Player

As you can see, I placed a $5 bet on the Player winning this hand.  Now that my Baccarat bet is in place, I want to deal the cards and see if I win.

To deal the cards, simply click on the “Deal” button in the bottom center portion of the Baccarat game screen.  After dealing the cards, the table looks like this:

Baccarat Bets- Player Wins

After the cards are dealt, the Player hand wins!  As you can see, I won $5 on my $5 bet, or 1:1 odds.  If you don’t understand why the player won on the hand, don’t worry.  I will explain this later in the article.

Let’s see what happens when I bet $5 on the Banker winning.  I bet on the banker by clicking on the “Banker” area of the Baccarat table and then clicking on the $5 chip.  After I bet on the Banker, the Baccarat table looks like this:

Baccarat Bet on the Banker

To deal the cards an see if I won, I just click on the “Deal” button at the bottom of the Baccarat game screen, just like I did above.  After clicking on the “Deal” button, the Baccarat screen looks like this:

Baccarat Bet on the Banker Wins

As you can see above, I won again!  Drinks are on me ladies!

However, if you look carefully, you’ll notice that I only won $4.75 on my $5 bet.  What gives?  When you bet on the banker in Baccarat, a 5% commission is taken out of all of your winnings.

So if betting on the Banker means you have to give back 5% of all of your winnings to the casino, why would anyone want to bet on the Banker?  Well, the answer lies in how the scored are tabulated and the rules the banker and the player are required to follow.

Baccarat Scores

In the next addition of the Baccarat series, we will cover how the scores are tabulated and why it might be a better idea to bet on the banker, even though you have to pay a 5% commission on all of your winnings.

If you want to get a head start, you can check out the full guide to online Baccarat at Silver Oak Casino.  If you are ready to dive into a game of Baccarat right now, just click on the Play Now button below to download over 130 of your favorite casino games in one convenient, 100% free package!

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Jeff White

Jeff has been an active gambler from the age of 18 when he won a small local poker tournament in San Jose, CA. He moved on to playing other casino games shortly thereafter, with a great interest in the statistics and mathematics involved. He has studied the historical gambling systems of nearly every popular casino game played today, and has written strategy books for several of them including blackjack, slot machines, craps, and roulette. Jeff has been a daily contributor to the Silver Oak Casino blog since the beginning of 2009.