The Baccarat Primer: How to Get Started in Baccarat

The Baccarat Primer: How to Get Started in Baccarat

Did you know “Baccara” in Italian means zero?

And since the worst hand you can have in Baccarat is zero, well, it makes for an unusual choice for the name of the game.

By the way, it’s spelled B-A-C-C-A-R-A-T. Not bacarrat. Or baccarrat. Or back-a-rat.

History of Baccarat

Baccarat is thought to have been brought into France from Italy during the time King Charles VIII of France (nicknamed the Affable) was ruling (1483-1498). The card game has three variations with slightly different rules:
  • Baccarat Chemin de Fer (Railway)

  • Baccarat Banque (Deux Tableaux)

  • Punto Banco (North American Baccarat)


  • These three are different from each other in the area of chance and skill. While Punto Banco is purely a chance game where your moves depend on the cards you’re dealt, Baccarat Banque and Baccarat Chemin de Fer are skill games where you have to make strategy decisions in order to win.

    Basics of Baccarat

    The main idea to keep in mind when you play baccarat is that you really only have three possible outcomes in the game. These results are “Banker”, “Player” and “Tie”. Don’t assume that “Player” means you or that “Banker” means the house. These are your betting options. Betting on Ties is usually not recommended.

    One of the unusual aspects of Baccarat are the card values:
  • Tens, Jacks, Queens, and Kings count as a 0

  • Ace counts as a 1

  • Cards 2-9 count at face value


  • An easy way to remember this odd valuation model is to keep in mind that the first digit in any two-digit number doesn’t count. We know that in most card games like poker and blackjack, 10’s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings count as 10. Now remove the first digit (1) and we have the Baccarat value (0). Since Aces are valued as an 11 or a 1, we have the Baccarat value (1). And cards 2-9, since they’re single digits, have face value. This is also true in your hand! If you draw a 5 and a 9, the numeric value would be 14, but since the first digit doesn’t count in Baccarat, the Baccarat value of your hand would be 4. As another example, if you have a 3 and a 7, that has a numeric value of 10 and a Baccarat value of 0, which is known as “Baccarat”. As you can figure out, the highest score you can have is a 9.

    As you can see, Baccarat is a relatively simple game in which a beginner can jump in and play right away. Of course I’d always suggest playing a few games for play money but as soon as you feel ready to dive in, starting playing for real money to get that real game feel.

    Big Money Baccarat


    Baccarat is one of those games in brick-and-mortar casinos that’s closed off to the general population due to the very high stakes that are involved and the privacy and security these players desire.

    The places in the United States to find the big money Baccarat are generally Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Baccarat games in these places can have single hands with bets of that can go up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The minimum you can bet in most big casinos is $25 dollars (USD) and can go as high as $500 with posted maximums of $10,000.

    Since baccarat is often played for such high stakes, a single casino may win or lose millions in one night! So much money can exchange hands between the casino and individual high-rollers that this can even affect the casino company bottom-line profits.

    If you hit up the smaller casinos, you’ll usually find mini-baccarat. This variation is played at smaller tables with faster play and much lower betting minimums and maximums.

    The 007 Connection

    If you’re a fan of James Bond movies, you can catch him playing Baccarat in the movies GoldenEye, Dr. No, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, For Your Eyes Only, and Thunderball.

    Internet casinos where you can play baccarat online
  • Bogart Casino

  • BetUS

  • PlayersOnly

  • CasinoAction

  • BetFair


  • If you want to discuss baccarat with other top baccarat professionals and amateurs around the world in a fun and friendly atmosphere, make sure to visit the baccarat forum and join the discussion.