How to Play Baccarat

This up & comer is one of the easiest to learn

Simple Game, Handsome Odds

Baccarat is one of the easiest games to learn in the Casino. The objective is to predict which of the two hands—the Banker or the Player—will come closest to nine. Players may also choose to wager an optional Dragon Bonus side bet. The game is played with eight decks of cards and is dealt from a shoe.


  • Winning Player hand wagers are paid 1 to 1, or even money
  • Winning Banker hand wagers are paid even money, minus a 5% commission
  • Winning tie wagers are paid 8 to 1
  • Winning Dragon Bonus wagers are paid up to 30 to 1!


In terms of strategy, few games are easier to play. Decision making on the part of the gambler is minimal. In fact, only three decisions need to be made:

  1. The amount to wager
  2. On which hand—the Banker, Player or tie—to place the wager
  3. Whether or not to place the Dragon Bonus side bet

From there, baccarat is hands-off; the playing of the cards is in the dealer’s hands.

Playing Baccarat

As mentioned, baccarat involves two hands: the Player and the Banker. The dealer begins play by drawing four cards from the shoe, face down. The first and third cards form the Player hand and are placed below PLAYER as marked on the table. The second and forth cards form the Banker hand and are placed below BANKER on the table.

The dealer then turns over the Player hand, followed by the Banker hand. Card values in baccarat are as follows:

  • 2–9 retain their face values.
  • 10, Jack, Queen, King all have values of zero (0).
  • Aces have a value of one (1).

Point Count

The point count of a hand is a single-digit number between 0 and 9; 9 is the best possible hand. If the total of the cards is a two-digit number, the left digit then has no value and is dropped. The right digit is the point count of the hand. For example:

  • A hand of Ace-2-4 has a point count of seven (7).
  • A hand of 2-King has a point count of two (2): face cards have a value of zero (0).
  • A hand of 9-5-9 has a point count of three (3): a total value of 23, but when the first digit (2) is dropped, the point count is three.

Third Card

After the first two cards have been dealt and the point counts have been determined for each hand, a third card decision needs to be made. If either the Player hand or the Banker hand has a point count of eight (8) or nine (9) in the first two cards, this is called a natural, and the hand is over.

Here are the rules for all Player hands: 

Player Hand Point Count Third Card Decision
0–5 (D) Draw
6 or 7 (S) Stand
8 or 9 (N) Natural: Both Player and Banker stand

Depending on the outcome of the Player hand, the Banker hand follows this table for its third card decision:


Dragon Bonus

  • Players may wager $1–$100 (not exceeding the original wager for the Baccarat hand) on either the Player or Banker hand.
  • The Dragon Bonus can only be placed in conjunction with the original bet, not against.
  • If the original bet is placed on both the Player and the Bank, only one Dragon Bonus can be made.
  • If playing the tie only, the Dragon Bonus can be made on either the Player or Bank.
  • Dragon Bonus pays when your hand is a natural winner or wins by a margin of at least four points.
  • Baccarat and Dragon Bonus wager payouts are paid separately, one player spot at a time.

Winning Wagers are based on the point totals of Banker vs. Player:

Natural Winner Pays 1 to 1
Natural Ties Push
Win by 9 Points 30 to 1
Win by 8 Points 10 to 1
Win by 7 Points 6 to 1
Win by 6 Points 4 to 1
Win by 5 Points 2 to 1
Win by 4 Points  1 to 1

Baccarat Helpful Hints

  • The point count makes it impossible to bust.
  • No more than three cards are used per hand.
  • If you are betting on the Banker hand, you must pay off your commissions before you leave the table.

And that's how to play the game of baccarat. Seductively simple, and great fun!

Baccarat Dragon Bonus® is a registered trademark and used under license from SHFL entertainment, Inc.