Baccarat is one of the oldest and popular casino card games. Although baccarat is a game of chance, there are strategies and tips that can help you win. Cards are dealt to the Player and the Banker, and as a player, the aim of the game is to create a hand with a total value closest to 9, without exceeding it with there only being three possible outcomes; Player wins, the Banker wins, or a Tie.

This page is going to highlight a step by step guide on how to play baccarat and the rules, as well as the available baccarat variations and tips and strategies to help boost your chances of winning.

How to Play and Rules

Baccarat is a simple and fast-paced card game that is played between two hands- the Player’s and the Banker’s with 6 to 8 packs of cards. Players can then bet on the Player, the Banker, or the hands ending in a Tie.  The dealer will then deal two cards to each side, and the winner is the hand with the closest to a total of 9.

How to play online baccarat and rules

Baccarat gameplay is quite simple since you don’t have to make any actions as the dealer takes care of it all. Here is a step by step guide on how to play online baccarat.

Step 1:  Decide which hand to bet on; the Banker or the Player

Step 2: Both the Player’s and the Banker’s side are dealt two cards each

Step 3: The cards are dealt face up first on the Player’s side, then the Banker’s side

Step 4: The points of both sides are made known

Step 5: The side with total points closest to 9 wins

Step 6: A third card may be drawn depending on the points, and this is based on the Third Card rules, which we will discuss below.

Baccarat Rules

Rule 1: Aces count as 1

Rule 2: Tens, Jacks, Queens, and Kings count as 0

Rule 3: The number cards from 2 to 9 have their nominal face value

Rules 4: Total hand value in baccarat can only be from 0 to 9. 10 is subtracted from any total of more than 9.

Rule 5: “The Third Card Rule

The third card for the Player or Banker is drawn only on certain conditions.  If there is a natural win when the first two cards are dealt (a side which scores 8 or 9 with the two cards), there is no need for the third card. However, a third card will be drawn IF:

  • The Player’s or the Banker’s hand equals 5 or less
  • A Banker’s hand with a value of 2 or less will receive a third card no matter what
  • A Banker’s hand with a value of 3 will receive a third card unless the Player’s third card is an 8
  • A Banker’s hand with a value of 4 will receive a third card if the Player’s third card is 2-7
  • A Banker’s hand with a value of 5 will receive a third card if the Player’s third card is 4-7
  • A Banker’s hand with a value of 6 will receive a third card if the Player’s third card is 6 or 7
  • A Banker’s hand with a value of 7 does not receive a third card

Common bets in online baccarat games

There are only three probabilities to bet when playing online baccarat games;

  • Banker’s bet
  • Player’s bet
  • Tie

Banker’s Bet

The Banker’s bet is the most favorable in terms of odds since it has the lowest house advantage of 1.06%.  A winning bet pays off 1 to 1, but a 5% commission is deducted on the winning bets.

Player’s Bet

This bet also pays off 1 to 1 for a winning hand. The house edge is set at 1.36%, which is considerably high compared to that of the Banker.  However, most players prefer this bet because there is no commission deducted when your wager wins.

The Tie Bet

This bet predicts that both the Player’s and the Banker’s hand will have an identical value. Although the odds of this happening are quite low, the bet offers a payout of 8:1.  The house edge, on the other hand, is very unfavorable, going up to 14.40%.

Other than these three main bets, there are other side bets that you can wager on. These are optional, and they vary depending on the baccarat variation you are playing.  Some of the popular side bets include;

Dragon Bonus

This is one of the most popular side bets that is commonly offered in Mini-Baccarat.  It pays 30: 1 for 9 points, and you can wager on either the Player’s or the Banker’s hand. The payout varies depending in the margin of victory and offers a 2.65% house edge if you place a Player’s bet and a 9.37% house edge for the Banker’s bet.

Dragon 7/ Panda 8

Dragon 7 and Panda 8 are popular bets in EZ Baccarat, which is one of the most played Baccarat variations. When you place a Panda 8 bet, you will get paid if the Banker’s hand collects 8 points in only three cards. This bet pays 25 to 1 and has a house edge of approximately 10.19%.  The Dragon 7 bet is similar to the Panda 8 where a player wins if the Banker’s hand get 7 points in only three cards.  This bet pays 40 to 1 and features a 7.6% house edge.

Perfect Pair

This is a side bet offered by baccarat variations powered Playtech. In this case, the winning bet is paid if the first two cards are identical in terms of suit and rank. The payout is set at 12: 1 and a house edge of 13%.

Baccarat table layout

There are two types of baccarat table layouts –American (full-size) baccarat and mini-baccarat.

The American Baccarat

This table can accommodate up to 14 players sitting on both sides of the table, numbered 1-15, with 13 not included.  There is no number 13 because most people believe that this the unhappiest number.  The players’ parts are divided into three sections ‘Banker’, ‘Player,’ or ‘Tie’, where players can place their bets.

There are also three dealers; dealer one is referred to as the ‘caller’ or ‘croupier,’ and his duty is to direct the gameplay. Since the players deal the cards themselves, he stands in the middle to watch and make calls on the hands.  Dealers 2 and 3 are assigned their side, and their tasks are to ensure that all bets are made properly.

Mini-Baccarat Table

This baccarat table layout looks like half of the typical baccarat table. Only seven players can sit at this table. The caller stands at the middle of the table in front of all the players. In front of each player are three betting areas.

How to understand the payouts

As earlier mentioned, the winning hard is that with the total points closest to 9. Both the Player’s and Banker’s bet have the same 1 to 1, but when the Banker’s bet wins, a 5% house commission is deducted, which means that the Banker’s bet payout will be 1.95 to 1.

If your Player’s bet win, you don’t have to pay any commission. The payout for a winning tie bet is 8 to 1 or 9 to 1, depending on the casino.

Baccarat Payout
Bet Type Probability Payout
Banker 45.85% 95%
Player 44.62% 100%
Tie 9.51% 800%

Versions of Baccarat

Baccarat has many variations, which gives players a wide selection to choose from. Some of the popular versions of baccarat include;

checkedBaccarat Banque

This is one of the oldest Baccarat variations, and the dealer is determined at the start of every roundThe dealer can be the player who joins the game first of the player with the highest stake. Baccarat Banque is played with three standard decks, and after the players have placed their wagers, the banker deals one card on the right side of the player, one card on the left side of the player, and one card to the banker.

This means that there will be three hands at the table, each consisting of two cards. The players are then required to decide on whether to place their bet on the hand positioned in their end, on the hand positioned on the other end, or on both hands. However, it is important to note that only the player who deals the cards can bet on the Banco hand.

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Punto Bunco

Punto Bunco is the most popular version of baccarat and is played with six standard decks of 52 cards.  When playing baccarat online, you are most likely to be playing the Punto Banco. Just like in ordinary baccarat, you can place wagers on the Banker, Player, or a Tie.

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Chemin De Fer

This is a French variation that tends to use 6 decks of cards. One of the key features that make this baccarat variation stand out from the rest is the fact that players do not compete against the dealer; instead, they compete against each other.

Players take turns to be bankers, and once a banker is chosen, he/she is required to set aside the amount he/she needs to wager.  Then every player who joins the table will announce a “Banco” (this means that they will place a bet similar to that placed by the banker).

The players will continue placing wagers until they reach the amount set by the banker.  Should this amount exceed that set by the banker, the banker has the option to decline the bet.

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European Baccarat

The main feature that distinguishes European Baccarat from other variations is that a player can either draw or stand when the total of his hand is 5.  The banker can also decide whether to draw or not an additional card.

Another crucial feature with this variation is that the casino funds the hand of the banker.  This means that if the banker places a KSH 100,000 stake and one player places a KSH 80,000 wager, while another stake KSH 20,000, it means that no other player will be accepted during that particular round.

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EZ Baccarat

EZ Baccarat plays the same as regular baccarat, with the main difference being that this variation eliminates the 5% commission after every winning bank hand.  Thus, instead of taking a commission when the bank wins with a total of 7 consisting of 3 cards, then the banker bet will be a ‘Push’ or ‘Barred.’

Play Online Baccarat for Free or Real Money

Online baccarat allows you to play for free and for real money. If you are looking to pass time and have fun with no risk involved, or if you are a beginner looking to enhance your gameplay before wagering with real money, the free baccarat version is the best option. However, for the ultimate gaming experience, playing for real money allows you to have fun and win real cash.

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Play for free

Online baccarat is available in demo versions in our recommended Kenyan casinos, and you don’t have to fund your account to play.  If you are a beginner, we recommend you start by implementing the strategies we have discussed in this article using the free baccarat version. Playing free baccarat will also help you master the game rules and understand the odds of each bet type.

Be sure to check the baccarat payout table of the variation you choose to play and keep track of your winnings and losses. Although you only get to play with virtual money, it is important to place reasonable bets, as you would when playing for real money.

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Play for real money

Although playing for free gives you peace of mind while playing since you don’t have your money on the line, playing for real money is the real test for your gaming ability. This is so because it helps you remain focused on the game and make informed decisions both when you are winning and losing streak.  It also enables you to develop a strategy that best works for you over time.  More so, baccarat is one of the casino games with the lowest house edge, and it also has simple rules and strategies for beginners.

Play Like a Professional- Tips and Strategies

Baccarat is a game of chance, and as such, it means that your chances of winning are mostly based on luck. However, the fact that there is no mathematical formula to win at baccarat does not mean there are no effective strategies to help you play for longer.

Online baccarat tips

  • Tip 1: Understand the Rules – Before you start wagering, make sure you understand the basic rules of baccarat, as these will come in handy during gameplay and help you make proper betting choices. Apart from the rules, it is important to know the values of each card, the third card rule, and other details of the game
  • Tip 2: Always Check the Odds of the Game – Although this may sound obvious, most players forget to check the odds of baccarat bets based on the variation you choose to play. Most casinos will deduct a 5% commission on the Banker’s bet, although there are casinos that charge less than 5%, with others charging as much as 25%.  A Player’s bet offers normal odds of 1:1 while the Tie bet pays at 8:1.  Although the Tie bet has a high payout, the possibility of getting it is low, and the high house edge does not make it any better
  • Tip 3: It’s Best to Bet on the Banker – It is obvious that the Banker’s Bet is the best since the Banker will win slightly over 50 percent of the time. The Banker’s side also has the lowest house edge compared to the Player’s, which means that even with the 5% commission, you still stand a chance to get value for your money.
  • Tip 4: Play Short Sessions – The house edge will eventually take a toll on your bankroll, and no betting strategy can protect you from this. This is why it is advisable to set out the number of games you wish to play in a particular session and stick to this limit regardless of whether you are winning or losing.
  • Tip 5: Don’t Bend the Rules of Your Betting Strategy
  • If you have decided to use a specific strategy, don’t change it regardless of the outcomes. Most players get frustrated when on a losing streak and are easy to get tempted to change the rules to recoup their losses.  Regardless of the betting strategy you use, it is crucial to keep in mind that there will always be losing sessions.
  • Tip 6: Manage Your Bankroll – This tip not only applies to online baccarat but all online games.  Having a fixed budget and limit on the number of rounds you will bet will help you secure your winnings and protect you from chasing your losses where you could lose more.

Baccarat online strategies

As a game of luck and chances, baccarat does not have any fixed strategy that guarantees a sure win in the game. However, there are many tried theories that players can implement as strategies when playing baccarat. These include

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1-3-2-4 Strategy

This strategy is used by players when looking to bounce back from losses in previous rounds. With this strategy, you will be varying your bet amount with every round where you start with 1 unit bet in the first round, 3 units in the second, 2 in the third, and 4 in the fourth round.  As long as you are winning, it is advisable to keep following this strategy, and once you lose, you have to go back to the start (1).

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One-Sided Strategy

When playing baccarat, there are three possible outcomes you can bet on- Player, Banker, or Tie.  When using the one-sided baccarat strategy, you are only focused on betting on one side-either the Player or the Banker.  This means that if you decide to wager on the Banker, every wager you place will be on the Banker. The ideology behind this baccarat strategy is that over time, the player and the bank will gain an advantage giving you an overall odd of 4:1 at the end of the game.

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Breaking the Double Strategy

Breaking the double baccarat strategy is a popular approach among baccarat players where one looks to bet the opposite of the zigzag pattern of outcomes streaking between the Players (P) and the Banker (B).

For example; if the zigzag pattern is P B P B P B P B P B, using this approach, you are expected to bet the opposite and continue with this pattern of betting.  In the case where you don’t achieve your target, then you can double down once.

Mobile Baccarat

Baccarat is among casino games that can be classified as classics. However, baccarat has been absorbed by technology to be the game we know today. You can easily place your wagers from your mobile device while on the go.

In addition to playing your favorite baccarat variations from your preferred casino using a web-browser, you also have the option to download mobile baccarat apps. These apps come in handy since they allow you to play at your own pace without worrying about other player’s bets.

Mobile gaming allows you to place real money wagers while on the go without being glued to your computer screen.  You will still have the same gaming experience as you would when playing on your desktop. The only difference is that the baccarat mobile apps are optimized to work on smaller screens, which means that graphics will be smaller but still functional and of high-quality. You can play mobile baccarat on all mobile devices, including Android, iOS, and Windows, among others.

Glossary

  • Banco – The Spanish word for ‘Banker’ and the Banco can be the dealer or player
  • Banker -The dealer in the game of baccarat
  • Bankroll – A player’s money
  • Croupier – The dealer in the game responsible for dealing cards and handling player’s bets
  • House edge – The mathematical advantage that a casino holds in a game
  • Monkey – Terms used to refer to any card valued at zero in baccarat (10, Jack, Queen, King)
  • Natural – An 8 or 9 dealt in the first two cards
  • Odds – The likelihood of an event occurring
  • Punter – The player in the game
  • Shoe – Holds the cards before they’re dealt. Can hold up to 8 decks of cards
  • Tie – A betting option where you believe that the Player’s and Banker’s hand will end up with a matching value

FAQ's

  • Are baccarat outcomes random?

    Yes, the outcomes are random.

  • How does baccarat compare with other casino table games?

    The house edge in baccarat is considerably lower compared to other table games. At just over 1%, the banker bet offers a lower edge compared to craps, roulette, keno, and slot machines.

  • What is the difference between a Banker, Player, and Tie bet?

    A Banker bet is placed on the Banker to win the hand while the Player bet is placed on the player to win. A tie bet is placed with the hope of the banker and player getting cards with equal value at the end of the hand.

  • What should I avoid doing when playing baccarat online?

    The tie bet is one of the things you should avoid when playing baccarat online. Although the bet has a high payout, the odds of getting a tie are low, and the house edge is very high.

  • Should I always bet on the Banker?

    It is not advisable to always bet on the Banker, but with a mathematically proven odds of 45.85% for the Banker bet to win compared to the Player’s bet whose odds are 44.62, placing a bet on the Banker has a higher odd of winning.

  • What is the baccarat commission?

    Most casinos will charge a 5 % commission on a winning Banker bet.

  • How do I win at baccarat?

    You can only win when you correctly predict which hand between the Banker or the Player will be close to 9. You can also bet that both hands will result in a tie.

Peris is an enthusiastic content creator and she mostly specializes in the gambling and betting niche. With more than 5 years of experience, she understands the dynamics of the industry and the evolution of players’ wants. As such, all her content is focused on the readers’ needs and you will get unbiased advice, recommendations, and guidance to help you become better at your game.

All Reviews by Peris Wambu

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