Although there are several variations on the casino game Baccarat, the majority of the rules are the same for each version and European Baccarat is no exception to this.
The aim of the game is to guess whether the banker or the player will get a higher score with their 2 or 3 card hand, or whether the scores will be tied.
Each of the cards in European Baccarat has a specific value with Ace being worth 1 point, 10 and all face cards being worth 0 points and each of the numbers having a value equal to their number.
The maximum score in a game of Baccarat is 9 points, if the total exceeds this then only the last digit comes into play – therefore a 4 and a 9 won’t equal 13 points but 3.
European Baccarat Rules
Once you have chosen how much you wish to bet and whether you want to bet on the player, banker or tie, the dealer will give 2 cards to each position face up
A typical screenshot from a game of European Baccarat is shown above with the bet being placed on the banker to win.
What happens next depends on the value of the 2 hands.
If either hand equals 8 or 9 (or 18 or 19 as these will be valued at 8 or 9 respectively), then the hand finishes and the highest hand of the 2 wins.
If neither hand is valued at 8 or 9 then the following rules are applied.
If the player hand is less than 5, another card is drawn.
If the player hand is 6 or 7 then no further player card is drawn.
If the player total is 5 then the player has the choice of drawing a 3rd card or keeping the total. This is the first difference in European Baccarat than compared to most other versions where the player would have to take a card and not get a choice.
Once the player has made their move, the banker has the option of drawing a 3rd card at all times in European Baccarat. This is also different from other versions where the banker has to follow a strict set of rules. In practice, however, you will normally find that the banker follows the same set of rules that apply in American Baccarat which are as follows:
If the player does not draw a 3rd card the banker will only draw a 3rd card where their total is 5 or less.
If the bankers 2 card hand is a 6 or 7 they will stand.
If the player draws a 3rd card, the banker will take a 3rd card if the total is 2 or less.
They will also take a 3rd card if their total is 3 and the 3rd player card wasn’t an 8.
If the banker has a 2 card total of 4, they will draw a card if the player’s 3rd card wasn’t a 0, 1, 8 or 9.
If the banker has a total of 5 from the first 2 cards, they will draw a 3rd card if the player’s 3rd card was a 4, 5, 6 or 7.
Finally, if the banker has a 2 card total of 6, they will draw a 3rd card if the player’s 3rd card was a 6 or 7. If the banker has a 7 from the first 2 cards, they will always stand.
The above table shows what the banker needs to do in given circumstances according to standard Baccarat rules, this is followed the majority of times in a game of European Baccarat even though on paper the banker can decide when to draw a card.
Once the cards have been dealt and the final hands are known, payouts are made. If the player has the highest score, all bets on the player are paid out at even money, so 1 to 1.
If the banker has the highest score, all bets on the banker are paid out at even money, so 1 to 1, but with a 5% commission charge on top. Therefore, you win less money on a winning bet on the banker than on the player although it is slightly more likely to come in.
If both scores are the same, bets on the tie are paid out at odds of 8 to 1. This can vary slightly depending on the casino so it is worth shopping around when deciding where to play.
European Baccarat Strategy
All variations of Baccarat are simply a game of luck with little or no skill involved like in some casino games. There are very few decisions that a player can make in Baccarat to give you an advantage so therefore it is very hard to put together a winning strategy.
The casino has the edge in all casino games which is how they make their money, in European Baccarat this is on the tie bet as the chance of it coming in is less than 10 to 1 whilst it pays out only 8 to 1. Therefore, we recommend you avoid this at all costs.
Bankroll is important in any casino game too, so make sure you manage yours and don’t bet a large proportion in one bet. Although it is nice if it comes in, if it doesn’t it will mean you get to play a lot fewer hands and therefore your enjoyment will be reduced significantly.
Finally, bad runs happen to all of us, if you can’t seem to win a hand, consider walking away and trying again another time when your luck may be running better.
European Baccarat Tips
Never bet on the tie – The other 2 bets, Player and Banker, have a relatively low house edge, however, the odds on the tie are much worse and although it offers much better odds, the Tie should be avoided at all costs.
The Banker is the best bet – In European Baccarat the odds are in favor of the Banker winning and although you pay a commission when betting on the Banker, this is still the best bet. Many players always bet on the Banker until it loses then wait for 1 round and start again.
Bankroll management is key – Like any casino game, it is important to manage your bankroll to give yourself the best possible chance of winning as well as maximizing your enjoyment. We recommend going to the table with at least 40 bets and sticking to an agreed amount per bet during your session.