Baccarat has a bit of a reputation as being the most confusing of the card-based casino games, as its rigid structure dictates what happens, sometimes at the expense of player choice. However, those willing to understand the game will find a thrilling game of chance with a rich history. There really is nothing like it.

By the end of this page, you’ll know how to start playing baccarat online, the differences between variations, your odds of winning any particular game, and the best strategies to use.

The History Of Baccarat

Baccarat’s history is a bit mysterious. One popular theory suggests that baccarat originated in Italy in the 1400s.

  • Felix Falguiere: An Italian gambler of the time, Felix Falguiere, is credited with inventing the game. Some think he based baccarat on tarot cards, while others think it was based on an Ancient Etruscan ritual involving nine deities and a set of dice.
  • Baccarat in France: When French soldiers returned home from the Italian War of 1494-1495, they are thought to have brought baccarat to France. Even then, its rules seemed similar to modern baccarat. In certain Italian dialects, “baccara” is Italian for zero. Within the game, tens and face cards had no value – they were worth zero.
  • Chinese Baccarat: Some think baccarat came from the Far East. One European visitor to Macao in 1783 mentioned a game similar to baccarat. China’s favorite casino game might be homegrown.
  • English Baccarat: Baccarat exploded in popularity in England in 1891 due to the Tranby Croft affair, a massive scandal involving the then-Prince of Wales and future King Edward VII. Around the same time, baccarat made its way to the United States.
  • Las Vegas Baccarat: Though baccarat was known in the early days of the Las Vegas Strip, it didn’t get its first official table at the Sands until 1958. The Punto Banco variant came to Las Vegas in 1959 via Argentina and Cuba. This immediately became the most popular version of baccarat in North America. Though the game struggled in the 1970s in US casinos, by 2008, there were as many as 24 different versions of baccarat available in Las Vegas.
  • Online Baccarat: Baccarat became a staple of online casinos in the 1990s – it’s available to play at every casino site today. Baccarat’s popularity in Macao means it’s likely to stay available worldwide for generations to come.

What Are The Rules Of Baccarat?

Each card is assigned a point value, and these include the following:Card Points Values

  • 2 through 9 – worth their face value
  • 10, Jack, Queen, King – worth 0 points
  • Aces – worth 1 point

What Is The House Edge For Baccarat?

The house edge for baccarat gambling varies depending on the number of decks used in the shoe (the device from which cards are dealt). The house edge for baccarat is:House Edge Per Decks Used

  • 8 decks – Banker 1.06%, Player 1.24%, Tie 14.36%
  • 6 decks – Banker 1.06%, Player 1.24%, Tie 14.44%
  • 1 deck – Banker 1.01%, Player 1.29%, Tie 15.75%

Online Baccarat Betting Options

One of the most important things to remember when you’re learning how to play baccarat is that there are a number of different ways to make a wager. The standard three options are; bet on the banker or player to win, or bet on a tie.

The beauty of online baccarat, however, is that you can often find side bets. Each come with their own risks and rewards and aren’t available on every casino or game. You could bet that either the player or banker will be dealt a pair, or perhaps there’s a bet tied to the total of the hand.

Developers and game designers are constantly dreaming up new side bets and bonus features for their online games. We urge you to use caution with side bets. Sometimes the payouts aren’t worth the risk.

Baccarat Odds

Playing online baccarat is so popular because it’s easy to learn and has a low house edge.

  • Baccarat Betting Odds: Baccarat has three betting options, one of which (the tie bet) should be avoided. The tie bet has a house edge near 14%, while the banker bet is 1.06% and the player bet is 1.24%.
  • The Banker Bet: If you win, the player bet and the banker bet each pay 1:1. If you bet on the banker’s hand, the casino takes a 5% commission, though this commission is factored into the house edge stated above. The banker’s hand wins 50.68% of the time, compared to 48.15% of the time for player bets.
  • The Tie Bet: The tie bet may pay 8:1, but the odds of a tie happening are 9.8%. The 8:1 payout leads to a huge14.4 percent house edge. Some casinos might also be a bit more liberal with baccarat rules, such as reducing the commission payment on a winning banker’s hand or increasing the payout on a tie bet to 9:1.
  • 8-Deck Baccarat Hands: In an eight-deck game at 9:1. If a tie bet pays 9:1, the house will only hold a 4.84% percent edge. If you use a 6-deck hand, the house edge is 4.93%. One deck baccarat has a 6.38% house edge with a 9:1 bet.
  • Baccarat Odds Online: More relaxed rules are an exception. Players shouldn’t expect to find this variant when playing baccarat online.

Baccarat Variations

The version of baccarat that most players are likely familiar with is Punto Banco variant. When you play online baccarat — whether on desktop or at a mobile casino — you are always playing this version.

You’ll find the four variants below in land-based casinos. Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque allow the banker and players more flexibility on certain bets, though the best play usually is the same as baccarat punto banco – so the house edge is effectively the same.

Punto BancoAs low as 1.06% No Strategy Element
Mini BaccaratAs low as 1.06%Same House Edge, Plays Faster
Chemin de FerSame house edge, more flexibility in betting6-deck, banker covers bets, strategy elements exist.
Baccarat BanqueSame house edge, more flexibility in betting 3-deck, banker covers bets, strategy elements exist.

Punto Banco

The biggest difference between Punto Banco and the other variations of baccarat is that the game is streamlined – the banker plays both hands according to the drawing rules, and there are no optional plays that can be made.

One hand is designated the player, while the other is assigned to the banker. Participants bet on which hand of cards they think will win. They can also bet on a tie, which has the best payout but is also the least likely outcome.

During a round of play (also known as a coup), each hand receives two face-up cards from a shoe of four, six or eight decks. If either side has a total of 8 or 9, they win; if both have a total of 8 or 9, it’s a tie. If neither of these outcomes occur, baccarat rules dictate what happens next:
•    If the player has a total of 6 or 7, then they take no additional cards. 
•    If they have 0 through 5, then they receive another card.
•    If the player didn’t receive a third card, then the banker applies the same drawing rules. 
•    If the player did get a card, then the banker obeys the following guidelines:Banker Guidelines

  • Banker draws a card if his total is 2 or less.
  • If the banker’s total is 3, then they draw an additional card (unless the player’s third card was an 8).
  • If the banker’s total is 4, and the player’s third card was a 2 through 7, then they take another card.
  • If the banker’s total is 5, and the player’s third card was 4 through 7, then they take another card.
  • If the banker’s total is 6, and the player’s third card was a 6 or 7, then they take another card.
  • The banker stands on a total of 7.

After these rules are followed, the winner is determined. Player bets typically pay EVEN money, while banker bets lose a five percent commission. If there is a tie, both wagers roll over to the next round.

Mini Baccarat

As its name implies, Mini Baccarat is a version of baccarat with smaller table limits. The game itself is also played more quickly. While there are some differences in how the table is laid out compared to other variations, Mini Baccarat follows the same set of rules as Punto Banco.

Chemin De Fer

French for “railway”, Chemin de Fer is the original version of baccarat and remains popular around the world. Chemin de Fer is a bit more complicated than Punto Banco, but the goal of your cards adding up to 9 is the same.

In Chemin de Fer, six decks of cards are used. Players take turns being the banker, as opposed to a banker being designated at a casino. The banker wagers whatever amount they see fit, and players are given the opportunity to “go bank” (match the bet).

  • Player Bets: If no player matches the bet by themselves, each participant is given a chance to make a smaller bet.
  • Onlooker Bets: If even these bets don’t match the total of the banker’s bet, onlookers are allowed to contribute to reach the total bet.
  • Matching or Discarding Bets: If the combined wagers from players and/or onlookers exceed the total, the banker can match the new total or discard anything over their initial wager.

Both the banker and players receive two face-down cards to represent their hands. The player who made the highest wager represents the entire group of players. If either hand has an 8 or a 9, the game ends. Otherwise, the player may choose to take an additional card. After seeing the player’s new total, the banker may also choose to take a third card, and the hands are then compared to determine a winner.

If the player hand wins, all of the players get back what they wagered, plus a matching amount from the banker, and the role of the banker is passed to the next player. If the banker’s hand wins, they keep everything wagered and they stay in that role for the next game. If a tie occurs, wagers remain the same in the next game.

Baccarat Banque

Baccarat Banque is mechanically similar to Chemin de Fer, with the exception that the role of the banker does not change between games unless the player acting as the banker retires of their own volition or cannot afford to bet any longer. As opposed to Chemin de Fer’s six decks, Baccarat Banque uses only three.

At the onset of the game, the role of the banker is given to the player who is willing to risk the most.

  • Player Bets: Two groups of up to five players, as well as any onlookers, are positioned to their left and right, and so two groups of players are dealt hands to compete against the banker’s one hand.
  • Going Bank: Any player may “go bank”, though two players can share going bank for half of the stake. A player going bank can do so on a regular hand, or cut their stake across two hands. Players can go bank repeatedly, even when losing, but not after three losses.
  • Banker Rules: The banker must play at least one hand, but can retire at any point afterward. The position of the banker is then open to any other player, starting with the same amount. The outgoing banker switches positions with the new banker, and a new game begins.

Free Play Vs Real Money Play

Playing at a no-deposit casino is a good middle-ground between playing for free and playing for real money. You can play and enjoy all casino games, like baccarat, online slots, online roulette, video poker, and more, but without breaking the bank. If low-stakes baccarat isn’t for you, then here’s the stark choice between free and real money baccarat.

No cash is risked.Ability to win real money.
Same game controls and software.Same game, more excitement.
No ability to play live dealer baccarat.Online baccarat clears some wagering requirements.

Online Casinos with Baccarat

Miami Club Casinomiami club casinoClick Here
Win A Day CasinobaccaratClick Here

Baccarat Strategy

Baccarat doesn’t have many strategy elements. Still, players should know the odds, because they vary wildly according to the bet you make. While bankroll management and flat betting don’t assure wins, they increase your chances of winning at baccarat.

  • Bet the Banker: The best strategy when playing baccarat is to bet with the banker. It’s not the most fun or dynamic thing to do, nor is it a guaranteed win, but if your goal is to win more often, wagering on the banker’s hand is the way to go.
  • Avoid the Tie Bet: The tie bet might be attractive since it pays out the most, but the odds aren’t good. It’s a sucker bet.
  • Use Bankroll Management: Calculate your bankroll, then bet 1% to 2% of the bankroll on any given bet. This stretches the bankroll when bad luck happens.
  • Avoid Progressive Betting Schemes: Avoid progressive bets like the Martingale System. While this works in the short term, it risks the loss of your entire bankroll once you have a string of unlucky roles. The risk of ruin increases with progressive betting.

Our Top Tips for Winning at Online Baccarat

Are you feeling ready to play baccarat like a pro? 

If so, then here are some important tips you need to consider before you hit the casino.

Select the Banker every time

The Banker comes with more options depending on what the Player’s 3rd card is. This means that the Banker is put in a much stronger position to get a winning hand.  The banker pays out less, but it has more options for winning than the player hand. A safer bet is a banker bet. 

Avoid the Tie Bet as much as possible

Lots of players are swayed by an 8/1 payout, but the house edge is a whopping 14.44% if you’re playing with six decks. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush and don’t mind the odds, you’re welcome to try and see what happens, of course.

Make sure you check the number of decks

6 decks are being used in the baccarat game. Note that the range of this game can change from one gambling platform to another. You must always check the number of decks first because this can seriously affect the house’s edge. Six Decks are Standard but Not Always. It’s important to clarify the number of card decks in play in a baccarat game.

Avoid the Side Bets

There are many interesting free baccarat variations. For example, Perfect Pairs provide enticing side bets with massive odds. Remember to tread carefully, because true odds are quite often a lot higher than the real payouts. Just like a tie bet, side bets aren’t for every player. If you’re risk averse, you might want to stick to standard betting options. 

Free Mobile Baccarat App

There is also a baccarat simulator in a mobile app. The process is similar to the one when playing for fun in a real casino or on an online casino. The rules are no different either. 

Some players are more attracted to the mobile version. It is understandable because, after all, you can play your favorite game on the go. 

Gambling sites have different approaches to the baccarat game on mobile devices. You can also enjoy this game for free with no download through a mobile-friendly website. 

Baccarat FAQ

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