Baccarat may be best known as a game played by rich VIPs in secluded areas of the casino, but don’t let that reputation fool you. It is a game of simple rules and limited strategy, meaning it can be played by anyone – not just a select few. And since you can play baccarat online for real money at much lower limits than in a live casino, you don’t have to be a VIP to enjoy the great odds baccarat offers for casino gamblers!
Where to Play Baccarat Online
Baccarat will be fairly similar no matter where you choose to play it. Every online casino we’ve run into has offered the same 5% commission on banker bets, and while some casinos may offer slightly better odds on the tie bet, we still don’t recommend making it (more on that below). This means that if you want to play baccarat online, you’ll probably want to make your decision based on which casino you believe has the best software, bonuses, deposit options, and other features.
How to Play Baccarat
In contrast to the reputation the game has received over the years, baccarat is actually really simple to play. The object of the game is to predict whether the player or the banker will have the better score at the end of each hand. The names of the hands are used to distinguish them, but players are free to bet on either; in most versions of baccarat, the dealer controls both hands, meaning the player only has to make a bet and then watch the action.
Play begins with both hands receiving two cards. Hands are scored based on the value of their cards; tens and face cards are worth zero points, aces are worth one point, and other cards (2-9) are worth their rank. To score a hand, add up the value of all cards in that hand, and then take only the last digit of that total. For instance, if a hand has cards totaling 15 points, the score for that hand is 5. The best possible hand is a 9, while the worst possible hand is a 0.
After both hands are dealt their initial two cards, one or both may be given a third card depending on several rules. The rules for dealing additional cards to each hand are as follows:
- If either the player or banker hand has a score of 8 or 9, both stand and the hand ends immediately. Otherwise, look at the remaining rules.
- If the player hand has a score of 5 or less, it will be given a third card. Otherwise, the player will stand.
- If the player stands, the banker will follow the same rule: hitting with 5 or less, and standing with 6 or more. If the player hits, the value of the player’s third card, along with the banker’s score, will determine if the banker takes a third card.
- If the player’s third card is 0 or 1, the banker will hit with a hand of 3 or less.
- If the player’s third card is 2 or 3, the banker will hit with a hand of 4 or less.
- If the player’s third card is a 4 or 5, the banker will hit with a hand of 5 or less.
- If the player’s third card is a 6 or 7, the banker will hit with a hand of 6 or less.
- If the player’s third card is an 8, the banker will hit with a hand of 2 or less.
- If the player’s third card is a 9, the banker will hit with a hand of 3 or less.
After any third cards are dealt, the two hands are compared, with the higher score winning. Winning player bets pay even money, while winning bets on the banker hand win even money minus a 5% commission (in other words, they win $19 for every $20 wagered). If the two hands tie, both bets push. However, there is a separate Tie bet that typically pays 8-1 and wins only if the player and banker tie.
There is very little strategy that can be employed when playing baccarat online for money. Sure, at a live table, you’ll probably see most of the “serious” baccarat players making notes of every single hand, tracking the numbers that are coming out in order to figure out which hand is most likely to win next. Don’t bother joining in; tracking numbers won’t give you any insights into future results.
Instead, if you want the best odds possible when playing online baccarat, simply bet on the banker every time. The banker bet has a house edge of just 1.06%, as compared to an edge of 1.24% for the player. Both of these are among the best odds you’ll find anywhere in a real money online casino. On the other hand, we highly recommend avoiding the Tie bet; that one has a house edge of approximately 14.36%, and has a rather high house edge even if the bet pays 9-1, as it does in some online casinos.
Does Card Counting Work Playing Baccarat?
Many players wonder if, as in blackjack, card counting can be an effective strategy in baccarat. Because the game is dealt out of a shoe, and there are some cards that benefit the player or banker hand more, it is possible that the remaining shoe could at any given time tilt in favor of one side or the other.
Unfortunately, from a practical perspective, card counting simply doesn’t work in baccarat. Even if you could count perfectly – meaning that you memorized the exact values of every card and used no approximations – and the penetration of the shoe is very deep, you’re likely to find a spot where either the banker or player bet no longer has a house edge only once every few hundred hands or less. Even this isn’t a very exciting proposition, and these conditions aren’t likely to pop up very often, meaning card counting isn’t really an option in baccarat.
Even if the above sounds like something you’d like to try, it’s not something to attempt in an online casino. Online baccarat games reshuffle the cards after every hand, making card counting an impossible task – the same problem that card counters encounter in online blackjack games.
Find out where to play online baccarat, where to get baccarat bonuses, how to play and how to win baccarat and some great reasons to play baccarat online, here.
Why Play Baccarat Online
Playing baccarat online has several advantages over playing in a bricks and mortar casino. These include:
It’s highly unlikely you have ever walked into a real world casino and been given double your money, or a stack of free casino cash to play with.
Online casinos are keen to attract new players, and so you can claim lots of baccarat bonuses like first deposit matches, no deposit bonuses, and free hands of baccarat.
These allow you to double your cash or even play baccarat free for real money.
Try walking into a Vegas casino, putting your feet up on the table, and taking off your shirt, and see how long you get to stay at the tables.
All of this is possible when you play baccarat on the internet because you can do so right from your own living room, and live by your own rules.
Add to this you don’t have to travel to a casino, don’t have to sit in traffic to get there, and can just play baccarat instantly from any internet enabled device, and you have unrivalled convenience.
Variety of Games
You can play lots of baccarat variants at most online casinos. There aren’t as many available at real world venues, and you can play mini baccarat, punto banco, baccarat gold, high stakes baccarat, and even live dealer baccarat all at the same online casino.
Of course, if you get bored playing baccarat you can jump to any other game. Online casinos typically have hundreds or even thousands of games all in one place.
This ease of access to lots of different games is another great reason to play online rather than at a physical casino.
If you want to keep your casino gaming secret, online casinos are an excellent way to do so.
Due to the fact you can use third party payment methods like PayPal or Neteller, you can keep your casino activity totally anonymous online. Banks, spouses, and bosses don’t have to know anything about how you relax and enjoy yourself.
Online casino gaming can be totally private and safe. Playing baccarat at online casinos which allow banking with these third party means is a great idea if privacy is a concern.
You can play baccarat on mobile devices like iOS and Android phones and tablets.
This brings another level of convenience and anonymity to gaming, and for this reason, mobile players are now in the majority (51% as of 2016).
Here are a few reasons to consider playing mobile baccarat:
You can claim bigger and sometimes exclusive mobile casino bonuses. Casinos know mobile players are the future and are keen to attract you. Take full advantage of these bigger and better mobile bonuses where you find them.
Play on the Move
Playing from home is convenient as it is, but playing baccarat at a mobile casino is even more so. You can play from a traffic jam in the back if a taxi, while stuck in the office on a slow day, or basically, anywhere you please.
Mobile Casino Apps
You can download a mobile casino offering baccarat directly to your device. This allows you instant access to baccarat and all your other favourite casino games.
These mobile casino apps are lite, compact, and secure.
Playing live dealer baccarat has become somewhat of a fad in recent times, and we expect the online casino industry to continue in this direction.
As long as you have a fast, stable internet connection you can play live baccarat with real dealers. This makes the games more real to life and adds a social element many players feel is missing from digital baccarat and other games.
Most live dealers are friendly, happy to chat and run the games extremely professionally. These games essentially bring the casino to you wherever you are.
Online baccarat with real dealers can even be enjoyed on mobile devices, although be sure your screen size is big enough to enjoy the experience fully, and be sure your signal is stable.
How to Play & Win Baccarat
The rules of baccarat are easy to understand and the simplicity of the game is why it is so appealing.
The Objective of Baccarat
You win baccarat by betting on the player or banker, with the winner being he who has a total closest to nine.
Both player and banker (neither of which is the house) get dealt two cards to begin. If either has an eight or nine, this is called a natural win, and no third card will be dealt to either party.
It is possible for player and banker to tie. It is also possible for you to bet on this outcome and this bet pays out 9:1. In this case, all player and banker bets will be returned.
After two cards have been dealt, the totals are calculated. If either has a total of ten or more, the first digit is dropped and the second digit is the total. For example, if the total is 12, the first digit is dropped and the new total is two.
If neither the player or bank has a total of eight or nine, a third card may be dealt.
There are rules governing when the player or banker gets a third card.
Baccarat Card Values
When considering totals, consider the baccarat card values. All numerical cards are worth their face value, whereas tens and face cards are worth zero. Aces are worth one.
When Does the Player Get a Third Card in Baccarat?
The player gets a third card if neither he nor the banker has been dealt a total of eight or nine in the first round, and his total is between zero and five. He will not get a third card if his total is six or more.
When Does the banker Get a Third Card in Baccarat?
The rules governing when the banker gets are a little more complex. They are as follows:
If the player draws no third card, the banker will draw a third card if he has a total between zero and five and will stay if his total is six or more.
If the player draws a nine, 10, Ace or face card, the banker will get a third card if his total is between zero and three.
If the player draws an eight, the banker will get a third card when his total is between zero and two.
If the player draws a six or seven, the banker draws a third card when his total is between zero and six.
If the player draws a four or five, the banker draws when his total is between zero and five.
If the player draws a two or three, the banker draws when his total is between zero and four.
There are some baccarat game terms which you will need to be familiar with to help you understand baccarat and increase so your chances of winning.
This basic baccarat glossary covers most of the game terms:
Banco – The banker is sometimes called banco.
Face Cards – Jacks, Kings, and Queens are face cards.
House Edge – The casino’s inbuilt advantage. In baccarat this is the commission on banker bets.
Natural – When the first two cards dealt equal eight or nine. This is a natural win.
Punto – The player is sometimes called punto.
Shoe – A wooden box (usually) used for holding and dispensing cards.
Standoff – A tie, it is possible to bet on this in baccarat, although it is improbable.
Baccarat players can take advantage of several types of bonus at online casinos.
No Deposit Bonuses
These will essentially let you play free baccarat for real cash. Be aware of wagering terms before you can withdraw winnings.
Many casinos will match your first deposit 100% or more. These welcome bonuses allow you to play 2 hands of baccarat for the price of 1.
More free real money baccarat is available if the casino you choose offers reload bonuses. These work the same way as deposit bonuses, with casinos matching further deposits up to 100%.
Live Casino Bonuses
Playing baccarat in live casinos could see you get a typically smaller amount for free. These bonuses might be $/£/€ 10 or $/£/€ 20 but still equal free casino cash.