baccaratBaccarat is thought of as an elite game favoured only by online casino high-rollers. Perhaps this comes from the land based casinos where the baccarat tables are often in a roped off corner or maybe James Bond regularly playing the bacarat game has something to do with it.

But you should remove this myth from your head. Baccarat has a very low house edge - that is to say odds in favour of the casino when playing the Banker wager - which means you have a better chance of winning more often. In addition, the baccarat game is pretty easy to learn and fairly easy to master. So even if you are not rich, why not give online baccarat a game or two?

How to Play Baccarat

The object is to assemble a hand of two or three cards with a points value as close to nine as possible. The perfect hand is one that totals nine in the first two cards. Eight is the second-best hand and, along with the nine, it constitutes the two "natural" hands. The only hand that will beat a natural eight is a natural nine. If any player hand or the Bank has a natural eight or nine, the others may not draw a third card. In a tie, bets are called off.

Aces count as one, picture cards as 10 and the others their face value. If your hand total is in double figures, then the first figure is ignored. So a hand totaling 18 would count as eight.

The player with the most money is usually is declared the banker - this is the casino in Baccarat Banque and rotates in Chemin de Fer. The banker deals three hands of two cards each, face down. These hands are for two players, one to the right and one the left of the banker, plus his own hand. Other players at the table may bet on either hand (cheval) or both to beat the banker's hand. If a player declares "banco", it means they are betting the total value of the bank's funds and all other bets are withdrawn.

If either player has a count less than eight or nine, he may stand (saying "non") or get one more card face up (saying "carte"). The player must stand on six or seven and must draw on four or less. Casinos usually take their percentage of the bank and bets as their fee for the game.

Baccarat Side bets

baccarat side betsWhen you play the game of Baccarat at some online casinos you may notice that you have the opportunity to place side bets in addition to the usual bets on the Player, Banker and Tie.

A side bet is a bet which gives you the chance of winning a separate prize if particular conditions are met, and if you ever find that playing the game in the traditional manner gets a little stale, side bets are something that can help to enrich your Baccarat experience. Baccarat is played using six decks of cards and it offers six different side bets, as follows:

Side Bet Explanation
Player Pair This is a bet that the first two cards dealt to the Player hand will have the same rank. If this bet wins you will be paid odds of 11:1.
Banker Pair This is a bet that the first two cards dealt to the Banker hand will have the same rank. The odds for success are 11:1.
Either Pair This is a bet that the first two cards dealt to either the Player hand or the Banker hand will have the same rank. The odds here are 5:1.
Perfect Pair This is a bet that the first two cards dealt to either the Player hand or the Banker hand will have the same rank and suit (for example, two King of Spades). The odds for this bet are 25:1.
Big This is a bet that the number of cards dealt to both the Player hand and the Banker hand will total 5 or 6. The odds here are 0.54:1.
Small This is a bet that the number of cards dealt to both the Player hand and the Banker hand will total 4. The odds here are 1.5:1.

These are the side bets and odds offered in a Baccarat game at a particular casino, and the side bets and odds offered at other casinos may therefore differ. That said, the above range of online Baccarat side bets serves to illustrate the kind of thing that you can expect to come across if you keep your eyes peeled. Whether or not you place any Baccarat side bets, enjoy your time at the tables and good luck!

Baccarat Trends

Baccarat trends are patterns of results that some online baccarat players like to use to try and make a profit. The basic idea is that by betting on the outcome that was previously successful, the player can latch onto any winning trend that occurs.

For example, let’s imagine that the previous hand was won by the Banker. The player bets on the Banker for the next hand. If the trend continues, the player wins, and he would bet on the Banker again, hoping that it will keep going. If the trend doesn’t continue and the Player’s hand wins, the player would change his allegiance and bet on the Player for the next hand, hoping that a new trend is being established. If a Tie occurs the player waits for the result of the next hand so that he can once again choose to bet on Player or Banker.

When the results come in clusters then this approach to the game can be very profitable. Consider the scenario where we have the following run of results:


The player sees the Banker win the first hand and bets on the Banker. The bet loses because the Player’s hand wins, so the player switches allegiance and bets on the Player. He wins four consecutive hands before losing on the Tie. He waits for the next hand and sees the Banker win, so he starts betting on the Banker and wins another four hands in succession before hitting a loser. In this scenario the player has placed ten bets and had eight winners.

Of course, Baccarat is not a game where the outcome is determined by past results, so trends such as these are purely coincidental. If results are choppy the player betting on Baccarat trends would lose money just as easily. Consider the following results:


Here the player betting on the same outcome that occurred in the previous hand (and waiting a hand after a tie) would place eleven bets and have eleven losers.

As you can see, although Baccarat trends have the potential to be profitable, it is clear that they also have the potential to be costly. Our advice is therefore to follow trends if that is something that appeals to you, but always be aware that doing so is not a guaranteed route to riches by any means.

Baccarat Mistakes to Avoid

Baccarat is quite a simple game that offers players a great alternative to other card games such as blackjack and casino-style poker, but the simplicity of the game doesn’t mean that players can’t make mistakes. In this brief article we will identify three of the most common mistakes that baccarat beginners make and at the same time we will provide whatever advice is necessary to help you avoid them.

Making these mistakes will almost always cost you money, so invest a couple of minutes reading about the mistakes to avoid and your baccarat bankroll will love you for it…

Mistake #1 – Misunderstanding the Game

The first mistake that people tend to make when playing online baccarat is not taking a few minutes to understand the game in the first place. Our advice is to read through the rules specific to the version that you intend to play before getting started. That done, play at fun money tables until you know what you are doing before you jump straight into real money play.

Mistake #2 – Ignoring the House Edge

The house edge is that percentage of turnover which the online casinos expect to retain as profit over the long term. In baccarat you can bet on the Player, the Banker or the Tie, and in all variations of the game the Tie bet is the one that gives the house its greatest edge. Our advice here is therefore to focus on Player or Banker bets and leave the Tie for other people to entertain. You won’t make any friends with the casino management, but at least you won’t be throwing your money away!

Mistake #3 – Tempting Fate

Although players sit down to play the game in the hope of getting lucky and making money, many players tempt fate by continuing to play even when they have won a decent amount. You don’t need to stop playing baccarat altogether after you have made a profit, but you might want to switch to a different version of the game or even to a different online casino rather than tempt fate by remaining where you are. Remember, the longer you play, the more chance there is of you losing money when the cards turn against you!

Punto Banco

punto bancoThe basic rules of Punto Banco are much the same as in the original Baccarat game, but there are some slight differences concerning execution and presentation.

The first difference is that the house always acts as the banker in Punto Banco. When playing online baccarat it could be said that the house acts as the banker anyway, so in this respect online Baccarat is effectively Punto Banco anyway.

Another difference between Punto Banco and Baccarat is that cards are always dealt face-up, whereas if you were to play Baccarat offline this would not be the case.

As far as presentation is concerned, in Punto Banco the terms used in the game are Punto for the bet on the Player, Banco for the bet on the Banker and Egalite for the bet on the tie.

When you take all of the above into consideration, you should see that in all but presentation, most online baccarat games are in fact Punto Banco games. That said, some online casinos do offer separate Baccarat and Punto Banco tables so that players can enjoy the Punto Banco style of presentation if they choose to do so.