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How to Play Baccarat

When you join one of our top-rated baccarat casinos, your objective is simple: pick the winning hand. Unlike blackjack where you’re forced to play the hand you’re dealt, baccarat allows you to put your money behind the “Player” hand or the “Banker” hand. Once the Player and the Banker have received two cards each, a draw will often take place based on certain conditions (see below). At the end of the draw, the best ranked hand wins.

OK, so what are you hoping for when you’re betting? In simple terms, you want your hand to have the best total, which is nine. If the hand isn’t a nine, you want it to be an eight. That, in a nutshell, is the aim of baccarat. If you can choose the correct hand, you’ll win. However, depending on the hand you choose, the payout will differ. If the Banker hand wins, you’ll receive a 1 to 1 payout minus 5% commission. If you bet on the player hand and win, you’ll receive an even money return (1 to 1). Finally, if you successfully predict a tie, you’ll win 8 to 1 on your bet.

Before we go any further, let’s explain the issue of paying commission. As you’ll have noted, a Banker win pays even money minus 5%. In simple terms, this means you’re paying a small fee to make this wager. Why? Well, because the house edge is so low. When you run the numbers, the edge when you bet on the Player hand is 1.24%. In contrast, when you bet on the Banker, the house edge is 1.06%. In other words, the Banker hand is statistically more likely to win. To offset this edge and make both hands as appealing as each other, the casino charges a 5% commission on wins. However, even with this levy in place, the edge is still extremely low compared to other casino games.

Playing a Baccarat Hand

As we’ve said, a baccarat hand involves a draw based on certain conditions. Before we get into the rules governing the draw, let’s run through an example hand:

  1. Player A sits down and chooses their bet size.
  2. Player A makes one of the following wagers: Player to win, Banker to win or a Tie.
  3. The dealer deals two hands consisting of two cards each: the Player hand and the Banker Hand.
  4. The hands are revealed and their totals are assessed by adding together the value of the two cards based on the following:

Baccarat Card Value

For example, if the Banker was showing a 6 and an Ace, their total would be 7. Because the maximum score in baccarat is 9, anything over that total, has to be reduced down. So, if the Player had a 7 and an 8, the starting total would be 15. In situations like this, the number on the right is the one that counts (i.e. you lose the one on the left). Therefore, if the total was 15, the actual score would be 5.

Once the hands have been scored, a starting total of 8 or 9 for either player is known as a natural. If a natural has been dealt, the round is over. A 9 will always beat an 8, but an 8 beats everything else but a 9.

Drawing in Baccarat

If neither player has a natural, a draw will take place based on these conditions:

Baccarat Drawing Rules

If the Player hand is 5 or less, they get to draw one more card. In contrast, if they have a 6 or a 7, they must stand.

If the Player doesn’t draw, the Banker will draw a third card if their starting total is 5 or less. If their starting total is 6 or 7, they stand.

Finally, if the Player does draw, the Banker will receive a third card based on the following:

  • If the Player draws a 2 or 3, the Banker can take a new card if their starting total is between 0 and 4. Alternatively, the Banker must stand if their starting total is between 5 and 7.
  • If the Player draws a 4 or 5, the Banker can take a new card if their starting total is between 0 and 5. Alternatively, the Banker must stand if their starting total is 5 or 7.
  • If the Player draws a 6 or 7, the Banker must stand if their starting total is between 0 and 6. Alternatively, the Banker must stand if their starting total is 7.
  • If the Player draws an 8, the Banker can take a new card if their starting total is between 0 and 2. Alternatively, the Banker must stand if their starting total is between 3 and 7.
  • If the player draws an Ace, 9, 10 or face card, the Banker can take a new card if their starting total is between 0 and 3. Alternatively, the Banker must stand if their starting total is between 4 and 7.

As we’ve said, a win for the Banker pays out at 1 to 1 minus 5% commission, Player wins are 1 to 1 and ties are 8 to 1. Although the rules do look slightly complicated, you don’t even have to do that in today’s world. Thanks to the best online baccarat sites, you can sit down, make your bets and let the software do everything for you.

Different Games, Different Payouts

The final point to note when it comes to baccarat games online is that the payouts may vary. The rules we’ve given you apply to traditional format. However, there are some instances where the returns could be slightly more or less than expected. For example, if you play baccarat at Mr Green, you’ll notice there is a variant known as “no commission”. As its name suggests, no commission baccarat eliminates the 5% levy on Banker wins.

For those looking to formulate a winning baccarat strategy, it makes sense to play this game as the house edge is a lot lower. However, while your payouts will be better on some Banker wins, it won’t be for all of them. Even though the commission payment has been removed, you will receive smaller payouts on some winning combinations. We don’t have the time to get into what these are right now. However, this is one example of how baccarat payouts online can vary from game-to-game.

How to Play Online Baccarat

Now you know the rules, it’s important to find the right place to play. Indeed, you won’t be able to implement a winning baccarat strategy if you don’t have the correct table conditions in place. To ensure you get the best returns, slickest software and most enjoyable overall experience, we suggest following these simple steps:

  • Read through our baccarat casino site reviews.
  • Note down important information such as bonuses, game variety, stakes and any unique gaming options.
  • Follow the secure link directly to your favourite site’s sign-up page.
  • Complete the registration form and make your deposit.
  • Collect your new player welcome bonus, find the baccarat tables and make a bet. Simple!

Online Baccarat Strategy

How do you win at baccarat? This is a question that’s as old as the game itself. In reality, there are no guaranteed ways to win when you play baccarat. In fact, this is true of all casino games. However, baccarat does have the lowest house edge and, if you’re smart about the way you play, you can use this to your advantage.

  • Always Bet on the Banker: If you’re a fan of TV’s Deal or No Deal, you’ll know that it’s never wise to mess with the Banker. The same is true in baccarat. Even with the 5% commission payment, this is still the best hand to back.
  • Choose the Right Game: As we’ve said, some tables have different payouts. No commission baccarat is one of the best games for those that like to play a standard strategy and bet on the Banker. Alternatively, if you prefer to make bonus bets, something like Dragon Tiger baccarat will be better.
  • Choose the Right Stakes: Betting more than you can afford is the quickest way to lose your stack. Always bet conservatively. In practice, this means wagering no more than around 2% of your session bankroll on a single round. For example, if you sit down with £100, don’t bet more than £2 per hand.
  • Try Not to Make Side Bets: As appealing as bonus bets are, they’re not a positive long-term proposition. In other words, if you make them, you’re only going to win a small amount of time. This, in turn, will hurt your overall win rate. If you make them sparingly, it’s fine. However, don’t make them a standard more.
  • Don’t Rely on Counting: Card counting is possible in baccarat, but it’s not easy. In essence, what you’re trying to do with a card counting baccarat strategy is to remember the cards that have been removed. By doing this, you can build up an idea of the cards that are left in the deck. However, to do this accurately is extremely tough and something only expert players should attempt.
  • Look for Bonuses: The final baccarat tip we’ve got for you involves bonuses. Each of our top-rated online baccarat websites have tons of promotions. From welcome rewards to cash back deals, there’s also some extra credits up for grabs. As a savvy player, you should be using these to your advantage.

Playing Live Baccarat at Online Casinos

Playing baccarat online is a lot quicker. Although the rules, payouts and table dynamics are exactly the same, the pace of a human dealer is no match for a computer. Based on this, you actually stand a better shot at making money at the best online baccarat casinos. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, as we’ve said, the games are quicker, which means you can play more hands per hour.

Secondly, there’s less chance of you or the dealer making a mistake. Because the software is programmed and controlled by a set of algorithms, the draws always take place when they should and the payouts are always correct. Therefore, because there aren’t any misdeals or hiccups, the action flows without interruption and you can always be confident you’re going to receive the best experience possible.

For the best online baccarat live games, we’d suggest taking a look at these casino sites:

Casino No. of Live Baccarat Tables No. of Different Live Baccarat Variations Betting Limits
Hippodrome Casino ReviewHippodrome75£1 to £10,000
Betfair Casino ReviewBetfair235£5 to £500
32 Red Casino32Red86£1 to £25,000
Paddy Power Casino ReviewPaddy Power235£5 to £500
Aspers Casino ReviewAspers86£1 to £5,000
MrGreen Casino ReviewMr Green33£1 to £25,000
Pokerstars Casino ReviewPokerStars97$1 to $15,000
Hippodrome Casino Review
No. of live baccarat tables : 7
No. of different live baccarat variations : 5
Betting limits : £1 to £10,000
Betfair Casino Review
No. of live baccarat tables : 23
No. of different live baccarat variations : 5
Betting limits : £5 to £500
32 Red Casino
No. of live baccarat tables : 8
No. of different live baccarat variations : 6
Betting limits : £1 to £25,000
Paddy Power Casino Review
Paddy Power
No. of live baccarat tables : 23
No. of different live baccarat variations : 5
Betting limits : £5 to £500
Aspers Casino Review
No. of live baccarat tables : 8
No. of different live baccarat variations : 6
Betting limits : £1 to £5,000
MrGreen Casino Review
Mr Green
No. of live baccarat tables : 3
No. of different live baccarat variations : 3
Betting limits : £1 to £25,000
Pokerstars Casino Review
No. of live baccarat tables : 9
No. of different live baccarat variations : 7
Betting limits : $1 to $15,000

Baccarat vs Blackjack

When you’re playing a casino game, it’s good to find something similar to compare it to. Blackjack is a great game to use as a guide for baccarat because…

  • Both games use cards and six to eight decks.
  • You can use card removal (i.e. by counting cards) to guide your decisions.
  • You have the flexibility to play your hand in a way you see fit – hitting/standing vs. Player/Banker hand.
  • The house edge is low.

Baccarat Online Variations

When you play baccarat online, you can often find these variants:

  • Mini Baccarat: This variant is virtually identical to the traditional format except for one difference: the cards are dealt face-up. To speed up the action, this game doesn’t waste time dealing the starting cards face-down. This means you can get through rounds in less time and, in turn, have more fun.
  • Punto Banco: This is the main variant you’ll find live and online. The rules are essentially those that we’ve described in this baccarat guide. When you play Punto Banco online, most operators will us six or eight decks.
  • EZ Baccarat: This is a game where is pays to bet on the Banker. Except when the dealer hits a total of 7 after drawing a third card, Banker wins are worth even money (no commission payment). Additionally, you can make two bonus bets: Dragon 7 and Panda 8. With the former, you’ll win 40 to 1 if the dealer hits 7 with three cards drawn. With the latter, you’ll win 25 to 1 if the Player hits 8 with three cards drawn.
  • Chemin De Fer: The main differences between this variant and traditional baccarat are the table set-up and the drawing options. In the first instance, the game is often played by a group of individuals and not Player A vs. the Casino. To start the game, one player is designated as the Banker and the remaining players become the “Player”. Aside from this difference, the Player doesn’t have to reveal their hand and can choose whether to accept a draw card or not. The Banker remains the Banker until they lose.
  • Baccarat en Banque: This game is almost identical to Chemin De Fer except that the Banker is fixed. Because this is considered an advantageous position in the game, players hold an auction to start the game. The winner has the option to become the Banker and take control of the action.
  • Super Pan 9: Also known as Pan 9, this game is typically found in California and follows the standard rules of baccarat. The only differences are that the you’ll be playing with 12 decks. Additionally, each deck contains 36 cards from Ace to 6 and face cards. Finally, the player also gets the choice whether they want to hit or not. Given the stripped deck format, the Player hand should hit with 0 to 5 points and stand with 6 to 9.
  • Three Card Baccarat: As its name suggests, this variant starts with three cards per hand instead of two. A single deck is used and face cards have a value of 0. Every other card is ranked as normal and points are calculated in the same way as the standard game.

Baccarat on Mobile

Can you play mobile baccarat online? Of course you can. When you join our recommended baccarat casinos, you’ll be able to bet on the Player or the Banker using your iPhone, iPad, Android or Windows Phone. In most circumstances, you’ll download a casino app and play. However, there will be times when you can use an optimised mobile site.

In general, you’ll have to orientate your screen to landscape. Another quirk you’ll find in the mobile arena is the fact mini baccarat is popular in this format. Whether it’s a virtual table or a live dealer option, mini baccarat’s scaled back look means it’s perfect for smaller screens and those that want instant action.

Further Reading

Even though we’ve given you a few tips on how to play, the only way to play like a pro is to read what they have to say. With this in mind, here’s a quick overview of the best baccarat books on the market:

  • The Baccarat Battle Book by Frank Scoblete
  • Lyle Stuart on Baccarat by Lyle Stuart
  • Secrets of Winning Baccarat by Brian Kaysar
  • John Patrick’s Baccarat by John Patrick
  • The Basics of Winning Baccarat by Avery Cardoza

Play Real Money Online Baccarat Today

So, that’s about all there is to know about online baccarat. From the basics on how to play to the best baccarat strategies, you should now be ready to sign-in and ante-up. By following the links to our top-rated sites such as Mr Green and 32red, you can play baccarat for real money. Regardless of how large or small your bankroll is, you can play from as little as £1 and pick up payouts topping 40 to 1 on your money!