Baccarat is a card game played between the player and a banker with a standard deck of 52 cards. The objective of the game is to predict whether the player or banker will draw a hand of cards that sums closest to the number nine. There is also an option to bet on a tie.
The banker and player are both dealt two cards and their values are summed, with cards 2-9 counting as their face value, 10-K are counted as 0, and Aces are counted as 1. When summing the cards, the tens digit is ignored. For example, if a player is dealt a 7 and a 9, totalling 16, the hand is counted as a 6. The score for each hand always totals between 0 and 9, and you cannot bust like in blackjack.
The player and/or the dealer may be dealt a third card, depending on the value of the first two cards dealt - see our guide to baccarat rules for further information. If there is a tie, winning bets on the tie are paid, and all bets on the player or banker are returned.
If it all sounds confusing, don't worry as there is actually zero skill involved in winning the game - just pick the player or the banker and see who wins. Its simple nature and almost 50/50 chance of winning have made Baccarat an extremely popular game in land-based casinos, particularly in Asia.
There is no "system" or method of beating the game of baccarat in the long run. In fact, so long as you do not bet on the tie, your chances of winning do not vary greatly whether you bet on the player or the banker, as the game is effectively a "coin flip" scenario. For the statistically-inclined the house edge on the banker bet is a touch lower at 1% (despite the 5% commission payment) than the player bet, which is around 1.25%. The tie is a typical "sucker side-bet" with the house edge more than a whopping 14% when paid at 8:1, or around 5% when paid at 9:1 as in our free game. So in the long run the single best strategy is to always bet on the banker.