Learning how to play baccarat isn’t as hard as you think. Sure, there’s a lot of chance involved but that doesn’t mean you have to lose. Mastering the game that even geniuses call difficult requires little more than concentration, basic math skills, and about 5 minutes of your time.
How to play baccarat like a genius
Geniuses understand that there’s a pattern in everything. Even games of chance can become predictable with enough practice. The baccarat card game is no exception. Let’s go over the basics first.
The rules of baccarat are pretty simple. It’s essentially a guessing game of luck. There are always two opposing hands at play, and opponents place bets on either hand before anything is dealt. Cards numbered 1 to 10 are worth their face value. Jacks, queens, and kings are worth zero, and aces are worth one.
The objective of baccarat is to be the player with a hand that totals closest to 9. Several combinations of cards can be used to accomplish this. The player that wins the hand is given double their bet. However, betting on the banker means taking only 95% of the original wager in a win.
Cards can sometimes add up to more than 9 in a baccarat game. In that case, you simply drop the first number and use the second number for scoring. For example, a total of 16 would end up counting as 6 while a total of 19 would count as 9.
NOTE: The dealer will always give you another card if your total is less than 5. If your total is between 8 or 9, the bank will let you stand.
Tips for winning at baccarat
Consistently winning at baccarat is the most challenging part because nobody ever knows how the cards will fall. Card counting isn’t exactly legit either. So, how do you play baccarat and come out on top? Here are a few gameplay tips from the pros:
- Use the formatted score sheets provided on the baccarat table to keep tabs on the totals.
- Place modest bets and let your winnings add up slowly.
- Double-check the deck to ensure all the cards are present.
- Take frequent breaks to refresh your odds and instincts.
If winning isn’t your main concern and you’d rather make the game more interesting, try adding or removing cards to the deck before dealing. Having more than one set of cards in play can change the dynamics significantly.
Like blackjack, baccarat’s objective is to reach a coveted total. The difference is that you can’t “go bust” in baccarat when you exceed the magic number. Cards are always dealt face up so there’s no guesswork or bluffing, but the element of surprise is what keeps players coming back for more. In fact, baccarat is played a lot in major casinos around the world.
And don’t worry if you don’t have a partner to play with. There are plenty of one-player card games that involve similar elements of strategy and chance. Practicing one of those can help make you better at baccarat.