Published on July 23, 2013 in Casino Tips

Baccarat is among the world's most popular and well-known games, particularly in Asia. In fact, it's also one of the world's oldest casino games.

Baccarat can be played in online casinos, including in live dealer online casinos as well as in traditional brick and mortar casinos.

While it's a bit complex, it's a game that can be mastered with a bit of practice. In this article, we'll explore the basics on how to play baccarat, beginning with the basics.

The Basics of Baccarat

Baccarat comes in a few different styles, which do feature a slight bit of variation when it comes to the skills that are required to play.

In Europe, the most popular form of Baccarat is Punto Banco, which translates into “player banker.” It's one of the simpler forms of this game.  The player doesn't need to make any choices when it comes to taking additional cards; they're automatically dealt by the house.  The dealer will deal two cards in two different hands, followed by a third card in accordance with the rules. The card values are combined in order to determine the winner.

Baccarat Scoring

Punto Banco Baccarat scoring works by comparing the value of the cards held by the Punto and the Banco hands. The valuation system is as follows:

• Cards 2-9 get their numerical value;
• 10s, Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth 0 points;
• Aces are worth one point.

If your hand totals a two-numeral number of 10 or greater, you must add the two numerals to get your final score. So if a hand totals 14, you would add 1 and 4 to get a final score of 5. The objective is to pick the hand with the highest value at the end of the gaming session.

How to Play Punto Banco Baccarat

While playing this style of Baccarat, you can bet on your own hand (the Punto hand), you can bet on the Banker's hand or you can predict a tie.

Typically, payouts are: 

• Evens for Punto;
• 19/20 for Banco;
• 8/1 for Ties.

Once bets have been placed, two cards are dealt in two hands. The dealer usually declares the total. If one of the parties has cards totaling 8 or 9, then the person with the highest value hand is named the winner. If nobody's hand totals 8 or 9, then a third card can be dealt.

In the event that the player's hand equals 0 to 5, then he or she must take a third card. This complicates the rules, as the banker may or may not take a card depending on the banker's initial total. Here is an overview of the scenarios:

• the banker may draw another card with a total of 2 or less, regardless of the other player's card;

• the banker may draw another card with a total of 3 unless the other player's card is an 8;

• the banker may draw another card with a total of 4 unless the other player's card is a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7; and

• the banker may draw another card with a total of 6 unless the other player's card is an 6 or 7.

Notably, the banker always “stands” on 7.

Punto Banco version of Baccarat is increasingly popular, especially among online players who can play for cash or for fun. For similar games, please check out our section of casino table games - we’ve reviewed the most popular table games available to play in an online casino.