How to Play Baccarat for Beginners

How to Play Baccarat for Beginners
By Jon Young

Want to be like 007 and master NJ baccarat games? This is our ultimate guide on how to play baccarat. We’ll show you the basics so you can become a casino-busting champ in no time.

Baccarat and Punto Banco have been favorites at Atlantic City casinos for decades. Now you can play online baccarat at home at safe and legal casino sites. Learn all you need to know to be a baccarat player with our guide to playing online baccarat. We’ll even show you the best places to wager online in the Garden State.

The Objective of Baccarat

Baccarat is one of the easiest card games to learn in the casino. There are few rules and you won’t face any tricky decisions as there is no “baccarat strategy” once the game starts. You can even find simpler versions online like mini-baccarat. Or play against a human dealer with live casino baccarat games.

In baccarat online, two hands are dealt: a player hand and a bank hand. You must place a bet on which hand total will be closest to 9 as possible. You can also bet on the Tie.

Because of the simple rules, baccarat boasts some of the lowest house edges of all casino games. But there are certain nuances you need to understand when learning how to play baccarat. Let’s take a closer look.

Baccarat Basics

In NJ, baccarat can be played at all Atlantic City casinos and top NJ online casinos. Select your stakes and hit the baccarat table at your favorite online casino.

Card Values in Baccarat

In online baccarat, cards are assigned pip values. 2-9 are worth their face value, 10s and face cards are worth zero, and the ace is worth 1.

  • 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9: Face value
  • 10, J, Q, K: Zero
  • A: One

For example, let’s say the Player is dealt J-2 and the Banker A-2. The Player hand value would be 2 (0+2) and the Banker hand would be 3 (1+2).

If the total of the two cards is 10 or more, 10 will be subtracted from the total. For example, if the Player is dealt A-9, it makes a total of 10. 10 is subtracted, leaving the Player with a total of 0.

Baccarat Rules

Baccarat is a simple game to learn, but there are a few interesting rules which can be confusing for beginners. At the start of a hand of baccarat, you have three outcomes to bet on: the Player, the Banker or a Tie. After bets are made, two cards are dealt to both the Player and the Banker.

The aim of the game is to have a hand as close to 9 as possible. No hand can go over 9, as 10 is always subtracted from the total.

If the Player hand wins, it pays 1/1.

If the Banker hand wins, it pays 19/20. This is a payout of 1/1 minus the casino’s 5% commission.

If the hands Tie, it pays 8/1.

Player Rules

Knowing how to play baccarat is easy. But the gameplay can get confusing if a third card has to be dealt. Luckily, the third card rule automatically applies and you won’t have to make any decision yourself. Like we said, there isn’t much to baccarat strategy.

Here’s how it works based off the total of the player’s first two cards:

Player’s TotalAction
0-5Draw a third card
6-7Player stands
8-9Natural – player stands

Banker Rules

The Banker usually makes their third card move based on the Player’s move. Remember, you won’t have to do a thing in the casino: this move is done automatically by the croupier.

However, if the bank hand value is 7, 8, or 9, they will always stand regardless of the Player’s total. If the Banker has 0, 1 or 2, they will always draw.

Banker’s Total
1st Two Cards
Draw if Player’s
3rd Card Shows
Stand if Player’s
3rd Card Shows
0, 1, 2Always drawAlways draw
31, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 108
42, 3, 4, 5, 6, 71, 8, 9, 10
54, 5, 6, 71, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10
66, 71, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10
7, 8, 9Always standAlways stand

How to Bet in Baccarat

NJ online baccarat is an easy game to set up and play. You can usually play for free at most online casinos. Alternatively, make a deposit and play baccarat for real money up to $1,000 a hand.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to playing NJ baccarat games:

Step 1: Find a baccarat game in the lobby. Most online baccarat games list min/max bets and the RTP.

Step 2: Open a table in your browser. The best baccarat games online work in a web browser without download.

Step 3: Choose your chip value from the options available.

Step 4: Click on the outcome you want to bet on. There will be spaces for the Player, Banker and Tie outcomes.

Step 5: Press the deal button. Two cards will be dealt both to the Player and Banker spaces on the table.

Step 6: Winning bets are paid out immediately. You can also view a history of all previous results in the session.

In a land-based casino, you may have the chance to deal cards yourself. The shoe will be passed to the player next to the dealer. They then deal cards from the shoe to the Player and Banker.

Sometimes, the player at the baccarat table who has bet the most will get to become the Player. But, every other player at the table can still place wagers on any of the three outcomes.

Baccarat Odds & Payouts

Online baccarat is a simple game to learn and play. It can also offer good long-term returns if you choose the right wagers.

Here’s a basic guide to baccarat payouts, odds and house edge.

OutcomePayoutReturn to Player (RTP)House Edge

5 Baccarat Tips for Beginners

You know how to play baccarat. But how can you improve your long-term profits playing the game? Here are our top 5 tips if you’re new to NJ baccarat games.

1. Only Bet on the Banker

As you can see from our table above, the Banker bet offers the lowest house edge of just 1.06%. That’s one of the best house edges in the casino. The advantage with the Banker’s hand is that it has an extra third-card option depending on the Player’s hand. That gives the Banker a better chance of getting closer to 9.

2. Avoid the Tie Bet

The Tie bet is one of the worst bets you can make in the casino. The payout is poor in comparison to the house edge and you will always be at a disadvantage by backing that outcome.

3. Try the Demo Play Games

You can now try freeplay versions of baccarat at all good NJ online casinos. Just click on the Free Play or Demo Play tabs in the casino lobby. In a Demo Play version of baccarat, you can get a feel for the rules and try out a system or two. Once you’ve understood how the game works, make a deposit and start playing for real.

4. Use Good Bankroll Management

Like all casino games, baccarat requires good bankroll management. Decide on a budget before you start playing and stick to optimal strategy. That means betting only a small fraction of your bankroll on every hand.

Baccarat is a fast-moving game, so you will probably see a lot of hands. In online baccarat, you may see as many as 75 hands an hour. Imagine you have a $100 bankroll. Bet 1%, or $1, on every hand. That gives you enough in the tank if you hit a downswing.

You can also set yourself win limits. Hit $50, for example, then make a withdrawal and close the game. Similarly, if you’re on a downswing, stop playing once you lose your first $50. You can even drop down stakes if things aren’t going your way.

5. Claim a NJ Online Casino Bonus

All good NJ baccarat casinos will offer new players a welcome bonus to get started. Open your account, make a deposit, and earn free cash when you play baccarat.

A welcome bonus usually works like a deposit match. The casino will match your deposit total 100% with bonus funds. You then have a week or two to “play through” the bonus funds in order to withdraw them.

As with all casino bonuses, watch out for wagering requirements and game eligibility. The wagering requirement is the amount you must gamble before releasing any bonus cash. If the wagering requirement is 30x, for instance, you will have to bet your deposit 30 times before withdrawing any free money.

Baccarat may also not be 100% eligible toward your casino bonus. You might find that only 10-25% of your baccarat play contributes, so bear that in mind before you claim.

Where to Play Baccarat

Baccarat and its variations like Punto Banco, can be played for real money at most Atlantic City casinos and most legal and regulated online casinos. But minimum stakes can be high, and you may not be able to play for free.

Online casinos in New Jersey usually offer a range of baccarat games. Try free-play baccarat to get a feel for the rules or play quick variants like mini-baccarat with side bets.

You can even take on a human croupier for real money in live baccarat. A trained dealer uses real equipment for that authentic Atlantic City feel. You can chat in real time and ask for tips during play. Sign up to one of our top-rated NJ online baccarat casinos today. Earn a welcome bonus and see why baccarat is the choice of James Bond and casino high rollers.

Baccarat FAQ

What’s the best bet in baccarat?

The best bet in baccarat is the Banker. It pays 19/20 but carries a low house edge of 1.06%.

Can you count cards in baccarat?

Most casinos shuffle cards after every hand to put off card counters. You can watch for hot streaks in the deck, however.

Is baccarat a game of skill?

No. Baccarat is a casino game of chance. However, by backing the right bets you can improve your long-term Return to Player percentage.

Where did the term baccarat come from?

Baccarat comes from the old Italian word for “zero.” In the game, most of the high-value cards are worth zero points.

What variants of baccarat can I find online?

Classic baccarat is the most popular online casino variant. However, you can also find mini-baccarat, Punto Banco and live casino baccarat at most NJ casinos.

How much can I win at baccarat online?

Many casinos offer NJ online baccarat with maximum stakes of $1,000. You can also play live baccarat up to $2,000 a hand. The maximum payout will usually be $5,000-$50,000.

What is the RTP in baccarat games?

The RTP is the Return to Player percentage. It’s the average, long-term payouts made to players over millions of hands. The RTP in baccarat depends on which bet you back: Player (98.76%), Banker (98.94%) and Tie (85.64%).

Can I get a baccarat bonus online?

Yes. Make a deposit and claim a casino match bonus where you can earn free cash by playing baccarat.

What are the typical baccarat wagering requirements?

Casino bonus terms can vary, but baccarat usually carries an eligibility of 10-25%. Wagering requirements can range from 25-50x the deposit size.



Jon Young is a writer and magazine editor with over 12 years' experience in the gaming sector. He has written on everything from poker and slots to casino, sports betting and mobile gambling. When not trying to take down the Mega Moolah jackpot he can be found playing poker tournaments in casinos.

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