5-Minute Guide to Baccarat for Non-Gamblers

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6 Minute Read

If you’re not a gambler but want to go to the casino with your friends for a fun night out, you need to find a game to play that isn’t going to quickly take all of your money.

The perfect game is one that has a low house edge, is easy to play, and has a simple strategy. Baccarat meets all of these requirements.

This five-minute guide to baccarat is going to quickly prepare you for your trip to the casino. While you probably won’t win any money, you’re not likely to lose too much money either. You can just focus on having fun.

1 – Tie Wager

You only have three or four betting options when you play baccarat. The basic game has three bets that you can place, and some baccarat games also offer a side bet option. You’re going to learn about all of these baccarat bet options in this article. But there’s one important thing that you need to know.

Only one baccarat bet option is good. All of the other bet options are bad, and you can safely forget about them as soon as you learn about which option is the best.

Baccarat scoring is a little bit complicated the first time you play. It scores somewhat like blackjack. But when your total goes over nine, you drop the first number and just use the second number. In other words, you only use the number in the ones place and never use the number in the tens place.

One of the bet options when you play real money baccarat is a tie. It pays more than the other main bet options so it doesn’t look like a bad bet. But ties don’t happen that often, and the amount you get paid when you win a tie bet is never enough to make up for all of your losses when you don’t win on a tie.

In fact, out of the three main baccarat bet options, the tie is by far the worst choice. It has the highest house edge, which also means that it has the lowest return percentage. While the high payout for a tie looks good, you need to ignore it and never bet on a baccarat tie.

2 – Player Wager

The next baccarat wager to consider is the player bet. Each baccarat game has two hands. One hand is for the player and the other is for the banker. This doesn’t mean that each player gets a hand like when you play blackjack. Only one hand is designated the player hand.

After all of the cards are dealt, if the player hand is higher than the banker hand, the best on the player hand wins.

The house rules for baccarat are strict about when each hand draws another card and when they don’t. The rules are similar from casino to casino. At first, they’re a bit confusing.


The good news is that you don’t need to know what the house rules for drawing cards are and you don’t have to figure them out. In fact, you can play baccarat forever and never know the exact rules for drawing.

The truth is that you’re eventually going to learn them just from playing in the casino, but whether you know the rules or not doesn’t have anything to do with the outcome of the game. The dealer working for the casino knows all of the rules and takes care of the cards.

The player bet is a lot better than the tie bet in terms of house edge and return percentage. But it’s not as good as the banker bet, so you shouldn’t use the player bet either.

3 – Banker Wager

The third option when you play baccarat is called the banker bet or wager. This is a bet on the banker hand, and it’s the best option. It has the lowest house edge and highest return percentage. This is the only baccarat wager you should make.

A bet on the banker hand has a better chance to win because of the rules than the other bets. But it only pays .95 to 1, instead of the 1 to 1 that a bet on the player hand pays.

Of course, the casinos don’t show it this way. Instead, the casino takes a 5% commission on banker bets that win. The good news is that you don’t have to worry about the commission because the dealer takes care of it.

And even though the commission is taken from your winning bet, this is still a better bet than the other options.

Many baccarat players like to make bets in multiples of 20 because it makes the commission easier. If you bet $20 and win, you can slide the dealer a $1 chip for the commission and they can give you $20. In some casinos, they let you bet $21 then pay $20 when you win.

But you should never bet more than the table minimum. Casinos can make change, and if you bet more than the minimum, you end up losing more than you need to in the long run.

The house edge is slightly over 1% on the banker bet. This means that in the long run, you lose a little over 1% of all of the money you bet. If the minimum bet is $10 and you bet $20, you’re losing roughly an extra 10 cents on every hand you play.

4 – Online Baccarat Bonus Offers

If you play baccarat online, or in a mobile casino, the game is the same as when you play in a land-based casino. Online and mobile baccarat has two main differences from land-based baccarat.

The first difference is that you can bet a lower amount when you play online baccarat than when you play in a land-based casino. This is good because it means that you lose less and can play longer on the same bankroll size.


Another great thing about playing online baccarat is that you can usually get a bonus when you play for real money. Bonuses can double your bankroll or more, which lets you play a lot longer.

Online baccarat bonuses aren’t really free money because of the terms you agree to meet when you take a bonus. But they still make your bankroll bigger. Just read the terms and conditions before you take a bonus for baccarat play.

5 – Baccarat Side Bet Trap

I mentioned that some baccarat tables offer four bet options instead of the basic three options. You can find different fourth bet options depending on the casino and the table, and these are all called side bets.

Just like the tie bet, many side bet baccarat options offer what looks like good payouts. And just like the tie bet, all of the side bet options are bad.

I never make a baccarat side bet, and you shouldn’t either. Any bet at the baccarat table other than the banker wager is a waste of time and money.

The only other thing you need to know before you get started playing baccarat in a casino is that there are two types of baccarat tables. Traditional baccarat is played on a big table and the players take turns with the cards.

These games are usually in high-roller areas, but there are a few in normal spaces. You don’t want to play at a big baccarat table when it’s your first time at the casino.

The game plays basically the same, but it’s a lot easier to play at a mini baccarat table. These tables are the same size as blackjack and other casino table games. In mini baccarat, the dealer takes care of everything.

All you have to do is find out the smallest bet you can make and make it on the banker. The dealer runs the game and takes care of everything else.


For non-gamblers who want to put a few dollars in play in a casino without risking too much, baccarat is the best possible choice. The game is easy to play and the best strategy for the game is so simple that anyone can use it.

You can always bet the lowest amount allowed by the casino and your long-term return will be just as good as most other games in the casino.

If you gamble online, it’s even better. The bet sizes are much smaller, and you can get bonuses to make your bankroll bigger. That means you can gamble longer and you can control the speed of your play online, which can make your bankroll last even longer.

Michael Stevens

Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. ...

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