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Baccarat Guide and Where to Play Online

Baccarat is a game of chance in which cards are dealt by the banker and punters bet on the banker, the player, or a tie before the game starts. The game is thought to have originated from Italy before spreading all over Europe.

Baccarat is an engaging game that is easy to master. All you need to do is wager on either the banker or player.

It’s almost impossible to find a casino game that beats baccarat; particularly if you dislike the pressure of making mathematical decisions that can affect your play. Baccarat is essentially a decorated card version of tossing a coin, except it takes on many rituals and fuss.

Diverse Baccarat options

Many versions of baccarat have emerged over the years, with Punto Banco, American, Mini-Baccarat, and Chemin de Fer being the most popular today. They can be played both online and in land-based casinos.

· Chemin de Fer

This nonbanking version was famed in France until 1837 when casino gambling was declared illegal. Chemin de Fer is rarely found in the US, but it’s played in most parts of Europe— particularly France.

This variation of baccarat uses only 6 decks.  A gambler assumes the role of Banker and deals the cards: the rest of the players are punters.

· Punto Banco

Developed in the 1950s, this version from Argentina found its way to Las Vegas in 1959. The Punto Banco variation is also called American baccarat.

Punto Banco is a traditional high-roller game played at big tables in a distinct, often roped-off part of casinos. In most cases, the minimum beat is about $100, with some casinos featuring minimum bets of up to $500. This variation often uses 8, but sometimes only 6 decks.

According to some calculations, the 8-deck feature a house edge of 1.24% on Player bet, 1.06% on the Banker bet, and 14.36% on the tie bet. When using 6 decks, the house edge on a Player or Banker bet remains the same, but it is 14.44% on the tie bet.

· Mini Baccarat

Mini Baccarat is the most popular version. It differs from the standard versions in that it is played on a tiny table with 7 seats for players. Another notable difference is that this version doesn’t allow players to deal or even touch the cards. What makes it more attractive is the fact that it lets folks place much lower wagers than a traditional baccarat table would.

Like many gambling games, baccarat is mostly a game of chance.  No strategy can eliminate this or ensure you will always win. However, if you deeply understand the odds, rules, and probabilities of the game, then you’ll certainly increase your chances.

How to Play Baccarat

Choose a table to sit, then buy chips. The game is often played from an 8-card deck or 6-deck shoe whose cards are assigned point values.  Aces are worth one point, face cards and 10s are worth zero, the other cards (2 through 9) are worth their number.

Start by wagering on either the Banker or the Player or a Tie. No matter where you play, you are also furnished with other side bets—often with lousy odds. Irrespective of the number of players, baccarat features only 2 hands, and each hand is dealt 2 cards to start.

Depending on a Player’s first two cards, the Player might be dealt a third card. In baccarat, a set of rules (see below) are used to decide whether the Player or Banker is dealt a third card or not. The minute a Player draws a third card, a whole load of guidelines (explained below) dictates the game’s subsequent moves.

The subsequent moves might appear convoluted, but that’s not your problem. Whether or not you understand what is happening is less of your concern, because the odds are the same. In baccarat, the gambler has no tough decisions to make, except choosing whether to bet on the Banker or the Player.

The hand with a higher score wins. If both the Player and the Banker have the same total, it’s considered a tie. So you’ll get your money back, but no winnings. However, if you placed a tie bet, you get your stake back and the winnings.

Baccarat Strategy

Players are always looking for ways to edge the casino. In a few cases, it’s possible. However, baccarat, like any casino game, features no sure winning strategy. In fact, the house edge remains unchanged regardless of the approach used. With that point in mind, let’s look at some strategies that might help you bet on the winning side.

The most popular strategy used by the majority of baccarat players is to track bets to find out which side is winning more often—Player or Banker. It’s such a common strategy that most casinos provide scorecards and pencils to gamblers, so they track these trends.

Most gamblers who use this strategy either prefer trying a new ride of a hot streak, or use the data they collect to decide whether or not an outcome has become overdue. For instance, players who ride hot streaks might see that the Banker has won say 5 times in a row, and wager on the Banker to benefit from the streak.

Another strategy is lowering or raising the size of bets placed based upon previous wins or losses. Several users who adhere to this strategy use the Martingale System.

How does the Martingale System work in baccarat? It starts with you placing a bet. With a win, you rejoice, but if you lose, double the amount of your preceding wager. For instance, if you bet $50 on your first bet, and win, you’ll bet the same amount on your second bet. However, if you lose the first bet, you’ll bet $100 on your second bet.

The one-sided is also a simple strategy that primarily involves continuously betting on either the Banker or the Player — and persisting with this till you’ve lost 3 times. After which, you stop and resume once your choice starts winning again. If you are using this approach, you need to have a target of the amount you expect to win, so you know when to quit the game.

Baccarat Odds

Odds refer to a gambler’s likelihood of losing or winning a bet against the house. Baccarat is hailed as the casino game with the least house advantage. The house advantage on the Player bet is 1.36%; for the Banker bet it’s 1.06%. However, the house advantage on tie bets is a staggering 14.4%. Because of this low house edge, baccarat is preferred by both the budget players and high rollers.

The chances for a player’s hand winning are 44.62% while those for a player losing are 45.85%. The odds for a hand ending up in a tie are 9.53%. If you exclude the probability of ending in a tie, then the Banker’s odds of winning are 51% every time.

Other calculations show that the Banker wins 50.68% of all non-tie stakes whereas the Player wins 49.32%.  Assuming you bet $100 and expect to win 49.32% and lose 50.68%. If you minus 49.32 from 50.68, the result is 1.32% which is the house advantage over your wager.

For the Banker odds, let’s assume you bet $100. Factoring in the 5% commission of winnings you owe to the house, you win 0.95 for each credit you bet. Since the chance of the Banker winning all bets is 50.68%, multiply 0.95 by 50.68 to get 48.15. As stated above, the player is likely to lose 49.32% of all bets, deducting 48.15 from 49.32, you get 1.17— which is the house advantage for Banker wagers.

Rules to Know to Be on Top of Your Game

As mentioned, baccarat seems to be a simple game with one objective—betting on the most probable winner.

The objective of the game is to choose whether the dealer or the player will be dealt cards adding up to about nine. However, if you go deep into the ins and outs brought about by both expert and superstitious players, you’ll discover that the game involves a lot more.

Before coming up with a winning strategy, it is necessary to comprehend the rules of the game. Fortunately, baccarat rules are pretty straight forward.  Here they are:

  • You can place one of three available betting options. As mentioned, you can bet on the Banker’s hand, the Player’s Hand, or a Tie. If your bet matches the outcome, you win.
  • To start the game, both the Banker and the Player are dealt 2 cards each.
  • Neither the Banker nor the Player can decide if they should be dealt a third card. The verdict is reached based on the strict rules of the game. If you are playing online baccarat, the software will spontaneously give you the third card when needed.
  • Tens and face cards total as zero, aces total one, while the rest of cards equal their face value.
  • When adding up the values of your cards, focus on the last digit. For instance, 13 counts as 3.
  • The hand that nears a total of 9 wins.

A good number of players predict results depending on previous outcomes, while others use betting systems. Bear in mind both superstition and logic influence the game. There are rules for drawing cards and using scoreboards. First, let’s look at hands and card values.

Card Values in Baccarat

Tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings count as zero value. Ace counts as 1 and the rest of the cards carry their face value 2 to 9. As cited above, the sum of the hand value should total 9 or less, so 10 is subtracted if the hand value is more than 9. For instance, if the hand is 4 – 5 – 6 the total would be 5 ((4+5+6)-10). A total of 8 or 9 is known as a natural.

Player’s Hand

The Player’s hand is always acted upon first. Initially, it’s dealt 2 cards, which are overturned by the dealer to see their value. If the total is 0 to 5, another card is dealt.

A “natural” hand automatically wins against any Banker’s hand, apart from 8 or 9. If the Player’s total is 8 and the Banker’s is 9, the Player loses, and vice-versa. Although the house edges the Player’s hand by 1.24 %, the payoff is 1:1. 

Banker’s Hand

Like the Player’s hand, the Banker’s hand is dealt 2 cards. Should they total 7, 8, or 9, no extra card is dealt. Depending on the sum of the Player’s cards, the banker can hit totals of either 4, 5, or 6.

There is no need to memorize all these figures because the dealers will do it for you; they will also do all the hitting. However, you can use a baccarat drawing guide. Experts deliberate that the Banker has a slightly higher advantage because it is dealt second. Besides, it is considered to have a  somewhat lower house edge.

Rules for Drawing Extra Cards

Sometimes, extra cards are drawn to either the Banker or Player hand. These intricate rules undoubtedly add to the fascination surrounding baccarat, creating a sense of complication as already perceived.

When Is a Third Card Dealt?

If the Player’s first 2 cards add up to 6, 7, 8 or 9, it stands. Even so, there are instances where the dealer can deal an extra card on the “Banco” field.

However, if the Banker’s total of the first 2 cards dealt is 3 and the Player’s third card is not 8, the Banker draws an extra card. Should the banker’s first 2 cards total 6 and the Player’s third card is 6 or 7, the banker is dealt an extra card.

Also, if the initial two cards dealt to the Banker’s hand total 4 and the Player’s third card ranges from 4 to 7, the Banker is dealt an extra card. If the Player’s hand isn’t dealt a third card (has 6 or more points), the Banker must stand on 6.

Betting on the Banker

The good thing about betting on the Banker is that game statistics indicate that the chances of a Banker’s hand winning are slightly higher compared to the Player’s hand. This might be baffling considering the cards are dealt randomly, but the advantage is related to the rules defining whether a third card is dealt.

Note that the rules that determine the third card are quite cumbersome, but all are explained in the casino software. Rules relating to the Player are not the same as those relating to the Banker.

The Banker’s rules entail factoring in the Banker’s first cards, whether the Player has got a third card, and if so, what card is it? All these factors contribute to the Banker’s slight advantage. This means, in the long term, the banker is more likely to win more hands than the player.   

Betting on the Player

Betting on the Player has several unique advantages. The leading one is that you are allowed to keep all your winnings immediately the results are out. For example, if you place a $50 bet and win, you will get your wager amount back, and get an extra $50 (amount won).

However, in most cases, if you stake on the Banker and win, you’ll be required to pay a 5% commission on your earnings to the casino. For this case, you’ll receive an extra $47.5. For this reason, staking on the Player profits more in winnings compared to a winning bet on the Banker.

Betting on Tie

As with the Banker and Player bets, betting on a tie presents its distinct advantages and disadvantages. The most obvious benefit is the far larger payout. Underline that the payoff for a tie in most baccarat games is 8 to 1. Meaning, if you bet $50 on a tie, you’ll get your $50 back and an additional $400.

One major downside of betting on a tie is that statistics indicate that less than 15% of hands in baccarat will result in that outcome. Meaning, if you bet on a tie for 100 hands, you stand to lose 85 of them and win 15.

Even so, the actual game infrequently works out as smoothly as the statistics suppose. You may play 100 hands and win 90 tie bets. However, many gamblers place the tie bet and win by chance.

Online Baccarat

The rapid growth of the online casino sector has enabled gamblers to play baccarat in the comfort of their homes. Online gambling comes with several advantages. For baccarat, the layout of the table resembles that of Mini Baccarat: 3 betting sections are displayed—Banker, Player and a tie.

Depending on the casino you sign up with, you might be furnished with the option of placing side bets. Unlike live dealer baccarat (where you interact with other players and the dealer), in online baccarat, you sit alone at the table with a virtual dealer.


Best Online Casinos to Play Baccarat

If you are a seasoned player then, most likely, you are familiar with the names listed below. But if you are getting started, make sure you read the details of each offer before deciding on a site. Winning on baccarat often begins with a grand casino and a massive welcoming bonus.


This award-winning gaming operator is considered a top choice to play baccarat online. Besides, the range of games offered fits experts and beginners alike. Moreover, Mini-Baccarat and Baccarat Seven Seats are provided in a “no commission” option, making them a decent choice for starters. 

2.     Jackpot City

As the name suggests, this operator almost always offers bonuses that are too huge to ignore.  Apart from providing some of the best baccarat games, Jackpot City awards new members a $1,600 welcome bonus!

3.     Unibet Casino

This site stands out for offering some of the cheapest bets online, and a massive sign-up bonus. Bets at Unibet Casino start from as low as $0.12.  New members are furnished with a 200% signup bonus

4.     Party Casino

Party Casino is home to some of the best-known online poker sites. It also includes a range of astounding games streaming live from the Dragonara Casino in Malta. Their live delivers are very friendly, and are acquainted in dealing with newbies.

What to Look for in an Online Baccarat Casino

· Security and Fairness

When gambling online, the safety of your money and data must be guaranteed. Establish whether a casino is SSL encrypted to protect your information.  Also, check if the site is licensed and third-party audited for fair games.

· Quality of Games and Software

The best online baccarat casinos feature a variety of approved games, including live dealer games. The presence of a wide selection of live dealer, slots options, and table games from reputable software developers is a good sign.

In addition, a good online baccarat casino should be optimized for different devices and screen sizes.  The sites must run effortlessly on all gadgets. If the site has an app, it must be easily compatible, and fully functional.

· Customer Support

Not sure how online baccarat works? Not sure if the RNGs truly are random? That’s where customer support comes in. Remember that some casinos offer support for only a few hours a day. Maybe their support operates when you are held up with daily chores, or asleep. So finding a casino that provides 24/7 support is critical.

Attending to players needs is a top priority for any right casino. An online casino of choice should provide you with first-class customer service through several channels.

· Bonuses

Bonuses are meant to increase your bankroll, and possibly your payouts, and should be offered by any decent casino. Look out for regular promos, a VIP club with distinct rewards, and perks for frequent players.

· A Variety of Wagering Limits

A good online casino should allow limits that cater to both high rollers and low rollers. For casual gamblers, nothing hurts more than signing up only to discover that the site doesn’t care about players who are on a budget.