One of the reasons baccarat is popular is because of the simple gameplay. Our complete guide covers everything you need to know about baccarat before you start playing at any online casino.
Baccarat is one of the undisputed favorite table games for affluent players in the US. and globally. Made famous by James Bond, it's a game that requires little to no skills or strategy to play and win. You can play baccarat online whether you are wealthy or poor. The game's objective is to bet on whether the player or dealer's hand will win or the game will end in a tie.
Whether you are new to online baccarat or looking to increase your knowledge of the game, our detailed guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started. We've covered a brief history of baccarat, general rules, winning tips and betting systems, bet types, popular variations, a glossary, and much more.
A Brief History Of Baccarat
While the exact origin of the baccarat game remains unknown to this day, it is believed to have originated in Italy in the 1400s before it was introduced in France in the 1490s by the soldiers and immigrants. The original name was 'Baccara,' but the 'T' was later added without an apparent reason.
Nevertheless, the official mention of the name baccarat was in 1847 by Charles Van Tenac in his book, where he referred to it as 'Baccarat Banque' or 'Baccarat a Deux Tableaux. Though there are rumors of baccarat being played in the United States of America in the 19th and 20th centuries, there weren't any variants that were mentioned in Nevada's 1931 gambling laws.
The most popular and oldest variant of baccarat is Chemin de Fer, and it was introduced in 1958 in Las Vegas casinos. This was followed by the Cuban Punto Banco variation that was released in 1959. Initially, the games were associated with the high rollers. However, the creation of different variants has made the game available to people of all budgets.
Today, there are multiple variations of baccarat games you can find at leading online casinos. You can play free online baccarat games or wager with real money.
Online Baccarat Gameplay And General Rules
Despite the mystery of its origin, the gameplay in baccarat is straightforward. Nonetheless, to be successful in baccarat, you need a good understanding of the game rules. Like other luck-based games, you cannot influence the outcome in baccarat.
The thumb rule of this table game is to get a hand as close to 9 as possible but not to exceed. Baccarat is dealt using 8 decks of cards, and a standard table can accommodate up to 14 players.
At the start of each game round of baccarat, the player's hand and the dealer's hand are dealt 2 cards. Also, players can bet on the tie hand. These hands have different odds of winning, with the banker bet having a house edge of 1.06% and the player hand having an advantage of 1.24%.
The hand value in baccarat is determined by adding the two card values together. However, it's the second number that is used. So, a 12-card value will be 2. The player having the highest hand on the table wins the round. If the game ends in a tie, the wagers are returned, except for the players who had placed a tie bet.
At most US online casinos, you will enjoy baccarat even money odds of 1:1, but the tie bets can be 8:1 or 9:1 for some casinos. Before highlighting the rules of playing each baccarat hand, it is essential to know the steps involved in the gameplay. These steps are:
Placing a Bet: the first step is choosing whether to bet on the player, the banker, or a tie. These hands have varying payout odds, with the banker having the lowest edge of 1.06%.
Dealing Cards: The player's and banker's hands are dealt two cards facing up. Please note that the cards have different values. The ace card is equivalent to 1 or 11, two through nine have their face value, and Ten, Jack, or King are equivalent to zero.
Third Card Value: There will be no more cards drawn for the player, and the banker's hand must stand on a six or a seven, or even drawn lower. In case the player's hand totals to 5 or less, then a third hand must be drawn. In this case, the banker must stand on a 7 or gets a third card based on the third card of the player as follows:
- If the banker's hand totals 0-2, a third card is drawn regardless of the dealer's card.
- If the banker's hand totals 3, another card is drawn unless the player gets an 8.
- If the banker's hand totals 4, another card is drawn unless the player gets a 0,1, 8, or 9.
- If the banker's hand totals 5, another card is drawn unless the player gets a 4, 5, 6, 7.
- If the banker's hand totals 6, another card is drawn unless the player gets a 6 or 7.
Please note that no more cards are required to make up the hand, and the winning hand is announced once a third card is drawn. Moreover, you are guaranteed fair payouts in online baccarat games as they use Random Number Generator (RNG) software to determine fair payouts.
Online Baccarat Hand Values
As earlier mentioned, baccarat hands values are based on the last digit of the total sum of all card values. We've already highlighted the values for the ace and other face cards in the game. As you understand, all card values are based on the last digit of the total of all card values. The hand values work as follows:
Action On Draws And Stands
The main actions you can take in any baccarat game are drawing and standing. When you choose to draw, an extra card is dealt to make the total hand up to three cards. In baccarat, this is hit, and it is referred to as a player who has hit a card. Nevertheless, if a player stands, it shows that they don't need to draw a card and would like to continue with the game while maintaining the current value of their hand. Do understand that there are baccarat rules to determine when a player should stand or draw cards, and these rules are unique from the bankers and the players.
One thing you must understand is that the player's hand determines how the game will proceed. The good news is that the rules for the player's hand are quite easy to comprehend. In the event that the player has an initial total value of 5 or lower, a third card is drawn. But if the player has a total of 6 or 7, the best option is to stand.
In baccarat, the player is the first to make a move before the banker. If the player decides to stand, the banker or dealer will follow the same suit. In that case, if the banker gets a hand value of 6 or 7, the best option is to stand.
However, the case is quite different if the player draws a third card. The good thing about baccarat is that the dealer is responsible for all these actions, so you don't have to worry so much. Here is what to expect when you draw a third card in a baccarat game:
- If Banker has a total of 2 or less, he must draw a card every time
- If Banker has a total of 3, he must draw unless the Player has an 8 as the third card.
- If Banker has a total of 4, he must draw if the Player has a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 as the third card.
- If Banker has a total of 5, he must draw if the Player has a 4, 5, 6, or 7 as a third card.
- If Banker has a total of 6, the Banker must draw if the Player has a third card as 6 or a 7.
- If Banker has a total of 7, the Banker must stand every time.
Popular Online Baccarat Variations
Whenever the name baccarat is mentioned, many gamblers tend to imagine that there is only one variation. Nevertheless, that is not true as there are many variations of baccarat that have emerged over the years. The following are the most popular baccarat games you'll come across:
Chemin De Fer
Chemin de Fer is so far the most popular game in the US. Also, it is one of the first baccarat variations to be created. The first traces of Chemin de Fer were discovered during the French Napoleon era.
It is a game that was loved by those who wanted to play without the bank being involved. The game later found its way to the US and Britain, where it was well-received. As one of the most popular variations, you can find chemin de fer at top online casinos in the US and worldwide.
This game was made famous by the James Bond movie. The exciting thing about this game is that you bet against each other and not the banker.
Moreover, players take turns with the banker's roles. Before the dealer deals with each hand, the banker must place a wager on the table, and each player is free to call 'Banco,' which refers to going all or opting for a different bet. In case the players are worth more than the banker's original wager, and cards are paid out at even odds of 1:1. Keep in mind that all bets will stay on the table for the subsequent hand if the final outcome is a tie bet.
Mini Baccarat game is quite popular in online casinos than in land-based gambling venues. You can find this variant at leading online casinos in the US and play for free or real money. This game has a smaller layout, and it's fully optimized so that you can play with eight decks of cards. Moreover, the dealer has the responsibility of shuffling the card shoe.
The most appealing thing about Mini Baccarat is that you can play with the same rules as a regular baccarat game. One good thing about mini-baccarat is that one member performs all the activities. The unique thing about this variation is that each player can take a turn as a dealer.
Punto Banco is another favorite variation among baccarat players. This game is played with 6 decks of 52 cards each. Many people love this variant because it resembles the classic baccarat game. The available betting options in this bet are the banker or the player. Moreover, players are allowed to bet on the tie. The game was predominantly played in France before it migrated to the US and the rest of the world. What makes Baccarat Banque unique is that it is played with three standard decks of cards. The dealer reshuffles all the cards once all the gamblers have played their stakes. As earlier mentioned, betting on punto banco gives you the chance of landing massive winnings.
Baccarat Banque is a favorite game in European online casinos and is played with three-deck of cards. The exciting thing about this game is that rules change depending on the casino. The banker's duty is designated to one player at the beginning of the game, and the position is permanent. In Banque, the shoe has inter-shuffled decks.
The bank sits on one side of the oval table, facing the croupier with a discard area. To start the game, the croupier shuffles cards and gives them to the player or the left and right for the same purpose. The banker is the last to shuffle and picks the person that will be the cut.
No Commission Baccarat
When playing baccarat online, the dealer takes a 5% commission on every banker who wins. In No Commission Baccarat, you won't be charged anything. This game has an exception, though; if the banker wins with a value of 6, he takes a commission of 50%. The rules of playing this variant are the same as the traditional baccarat game.
EZ baccarat is a new variant that is popular in California. This game is played in the same way as a regular baccarat game. The good thing is that it takes no commission on banker line bets. Instead, the game has a specific winning hand called Dragon 7 that is made with three cards that totals 7 points. Additionally, players can place side bets in the base game for dragon 7 and Panda 8.
Three Card Baccarat
Three Card Baccarat is an exciting game to play. It is the best alternative for players who cannot afford to join the high roller table. The appealing thing about this game is the option to wager on any totals for the dealer's hand, and the bets are made on individual boxes. The probability of each number to the next is 10%, and individual numbers pay 8:1, with a small house edge of 2.91%.
European baccarat is standard in UK casinos and globally. The unique feature of his variant is that a player can choose whether to draw or stand when the hand total is 5. The banker is free to decide whether to draw or not. Do understand that the hand of the banker is funded by the casino.
Dragon Tiger baccarat has very close similarities with Punto Banco. The exceptional feature in this game is that you receive one card instead of two cards at the beginning of the game. Bets are made on whether the dragon or tiger side will get a card with a higher value. Note that there are no additional cards that are drawn in this variation. The game is considered a tie if both sides are dealt cards with the same value and half of the player's bets go to the casino.
Types of Baccarat Bets
One good thing about baccarat is it's easy to understand the different bets. A standard game has three main bet options - the player bet, the banker bet, and the tie bet. Every table has an area where the bets are placed. Below is a detailed description of each baccarat bet:
The Banker Bet
The banker bet is commonly played by experienced people. This bet has the lowest house edge compared to the other wagers. The casino deducts a 5% commission every time the banker wins. However, the percentage of each commission may vary depending on the casino and the variation you are playing. Many people opt for banker bets because of the low edge of 1.06%. Also, some online casinos apply a specific minimum commission to the banker bet rather than the 5% commission.
The Player Bet
The player bet is the second most popular baccarat wager. This wager has a more favorable edge over the tie bet. The most appealing thing about this bet is it doesn't have a commission on winnings. The payout of a winning player bet is 1:1.
The Tie Bet
The third bet option in baccarat games is the 'tie' wager. In this case, you are betting the banker and the player to get an identical number. Though the payouts in the tie bet are pretty appealing, it has an unfavorable house edge. This explains why many players tend to avoid this wager.
Side Bets In Baccarat
Like other casino games, baccarat players can wager on side bets to increase winning opportunities. These bets are optional, and they differ from one game to another. The most common side bets you can play are:
- Dragon Bonus: This side bet is popular in mini Baccarat games, and it pays 30:1 for nine cards. It has a house edge of 2.65%.
- Panda 8 & Dragon 7: These side bets are common in EZ Baccarat games. In Panda 8, you are paid if the banker's hand collects 8 points in three cards. The payout is 25:1, and the house advantage is 10.19%. Dragon 7 bet has a payout of 40:1 and the house edge of 7.6%.
- Perfect Pair: This bet pays if the first two cards have matching suit and rank. The payout is 12:1, and the casino advantage is 13% when 8 decks are used.
- Egalite Bet: You're betting on the banker and the player to end in a tie. The good thing is that you can make multiple egalite bets.
- Odd/Even: There are four possibilities in this wager, including even player total, even banker total, odd player total, and odd banker total.
- All Red/All Black: You're betting on the player's hand to consist of all red or all black cards.
Online Baccarat Game Table Layout
Baccarat games can be found in numerous online casinos. The tables you will find in these casinos are identical to those in land-based casinos. However, the tables are much smaller though they have all the features of the classic card game. You will find three betting areas, and some variations come with an additional side bet area.
Online Baccarat Winning Tips
Baccarat is a game that is based on chance. That means that you cannot use baccarat strategies to influence the game outcome. However, following these simple tips and tricks will maximize your winning opportunities:
- Always stick to the player and banker bets.
- Pay attention to the odds and house edge of the game.
- Learn how to manage your funds.
- Play short baccarat sessions.
- Avoid the tie bet by all means.
- Quit playing when you are winning.
- Set a budget when you are playing real money baccarat.
Online Baccarat Glossary
The following are common terms you will come across when playing baccarat at online casinos:
- Action: Can refer to the amount of money wagered by a single or all players or the action of a hand.
- Bankroll: The money set aside for betting on baccarat games.
- Carte: Used when requesting an extra card.
- Commission: It's the casino's profit from each winning banker's bets.
- Coup: Is a single round or hand at a baccarat table.
- Cut: Splitting a deck of cards into two stacks after shuffling them.
- Face Cards: All cards bearing portraits, including Jacks, Queens, and Kings.
- House Edge: The percentage that the casino takes from the wagers.
- Live Dealer Games: These baccarat games let you play against real human dealers in real-time.
- Push: A wager that isn't winning or losing.
- Down Card: This is a card dealt facing down.
Choosing a Reputable Online Baccarat Casino
With so many internet casinos offering baccarat games, new players can find it challenging to choose a reliable site. Here are the key factors you must consider when sourcing for a safe and trustworthy online baccarat casino:
Licensing and Regulation: The first thing is to check if the casino site is licensed and regulated by a recognized authority, like Malta, Curacao, and the Gambling Commission.
Bonuses and Promotions: The site should have different offers like the welcome bonus, free spins, and VIP bonus.
Software Provider: The casino games should be powered by different companies like Microgaming, NetEnt, Evolution, and Pragmatic Play.
Mobile Compatibility: Players should access all games and other features on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.
Security and Fairplay: The casino must employ the latest encryption technology like SSL to safeguard your data. Also, the game's outcomes must be determined by RNG software.
Payment Options: A good online casino should accept traditional FIAT currency and digital cryptocurrencies. Also, all transactions must be instant.
Customer Support: The support service should be available 24/7 through different channels like email, live chat, and telephone.
We hope that this information will help you whether you want to play baccarat for real money or to have fun. Baccarat is a simple table game that requires very little skill to play. The appealing thing is that this game comes in different variations. Moreover, playing baccarat online gives you a chance to benefit from generous bonuses and promotions. Make sure you understand the rules of baccarat before you start playing.