How to Play Baccarat

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When you see baccarat played and depicted in Hollywood movies, usually spy flicks of the James Bond variety, the game is invariably presented as a complicated contest involving only the savviest and sophisticated of gamblers.

In reality, baccarat online or land-based is nothing more than a guessing game based on just two choices: banker or player.

Most similar in spirit to betting the color on a roulette wheel, baccarat asks that you decide which hand, player or banker, will reach the total closest to 9 using either two or three cards.

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An Easy, Playable Game – Baccarat Online

Part of baccarat’s reputation for complexity comes from the game’s post-deal mechanics. Using a scoring system that reverse’s that of blackjack, 10s and face cards are worth 0 in baccarat rather than 10.

For players accustomed to blackjack, this change can be confusing enough, but baccarat tends to lose most new players when it comes time to explain the tableau.

How to Play Baccarat Online – Dealing the Cards

Based on the first two cards dealt to the banker and player hands, a third card may be distributed to complete the hand. Determining whether each hand will take a third card involves comparing their values relative to one another, and a dense assortment of traditional rules known as the tableau is applied.

Memorizing the multiple iterations of the tableau can be quite difficult, even for experienced baccarat players, but fortunately for newcomers, there is no need to learn these rules.

The dealer will always administer the tableau when the need arises, and as a player, you don’t need to do anything more than pick a hand, place your wager, and wait to see how the cards lie.

A Favorable Game -Baccarat Online

After overcoming the initial trepidation associated with learning how to play baccarat, new players tend to realize that the game is actually one of the most straightforward and simple affairs on the casino floor.

What brings players back to the table is the significant value baccarat represents. Sporting a house edge as low as 1.06 percent on the banker’s bet, baccarat online offers one of the most favorable table games in any casino, provided you know how to play the game properly.

bacarrat online

Baccarat Odds

Baccarat odds are easy to learn because only three baccarat bets exist: Banker, Player, and Tie. The banker bet has a 45.84% chance of winning, a 1:1 payout and a 1.06% house edged.

The player bet has a 44.62% chance of winning, a 1:1 payout, and a 1.24% house edge. The banker bet and the player bet are the best wagering options in baccarat, so stick to these.

Another baccarat bet exists. The tie bet has a 9.54% chance of winning and two potential payouts: 8:1 or 9:1. If you receive a 9:1 payout on the tie bet, the house edge is 4.85%.

If you receive an 8:1 payout on the tie bet (which is more common), the house edge is 14.40%. That’s a sucker bet.

Types of Online Baccarat

Big Baccarat

The game of baccarat online (or land-based) can be played as big baccarat, which is the standard format using a full table, up to 14 players, and at least three dealers. Big baccarat is usually spread in the casino’s high-limit area, and minimum bets typically start out at $100.


The second type of online baccarat is mini-baccarat, which is an abridged version of the game using a single dealer and up to seven players arranged around a blackjack-like table.

Mini-baccarat can be found in the low limit table game area, and minimum bets usually start at $5. For the most part, beginners tend to stick to mini-baccarat, both because the stakes are lower and the game itself involves fewer moving parts so to speak.


In big baccarat players take turns passing around a shoe – or a container holding between 6 and 8 decks – and dealing out the cards. In mini-baccarat, however, the table dealer takes care of this task, and thus the game runs along at a brisker pace.

Basic Baccarat Rules

The object of baccarat online is to wager on the outcome of a contest between two hands, the banker’s hand and the player’s hand, based on their total values.

Rules icon

1. In baccarat the cards are valued differently:

  • The 2 through 9 cards are valued at their numerical rank
  • Aces are valued at 1.
  • The 10s and face cards (jacks, queens, and kings) are all valued at 0.

2. A hand’s total can never reach 10 or above:

When this occurs the left-hand digit of the two digit number is simply removed to give the actual total. As an example, consider a hand containing a 7 and a 9. These cards add up to 16, but removing the ‘1’ leaves an actual total of 6.

3. Play with Baccarat’s naturals:

Whenever a 10 value card is dealt along with an 8 or a 9, this is called a natural and the hand is an automatic winner.

If two naturals are dealt on the same hand, a natural 9 always beats a natural 8, and two natural 8s result in a standoff or a push.

Player Options and House Edge in Baccarat Online

As a player, your options are as follows:

  1. Bet on the banker’s hand to win
  2. Bet on the player hand to win, or
  3. Bet that both hands will tie (a standoff).

In terms of House Edge and Payouts in Baccarat Online, you’ll have:

  1. The player and banker bets pay out at even money: with the banker’s bet (1.06 percent) offering slightly lower house edge than the player’s bet (1.24 percent).
  2. The standoff bet pays out at 9 to 1: but the 14.36 percent house edge renders the wager as an overall loser avoided by knowledgeable players.

Understanding the Tableau

Baccarat table

The two hands (banker and player) are dealt out one card at a time face down, and based on the rules of the tableau; the dealer determines whether either hand will draw an additional card.

The player hand always draws first, which gives the banker bet its slight advantage over the long run.

The first rules applied to determine the draw are:

  • When the player hand total sits at 0 through 5, an additional card is always dealt.
  • When the player hand total sits at 6 or 7, no card is dealt and the player’s hand stands.
  • When the player’s hand stands, the banker’s hand then applies the previous rules to determine if a third card is dealt.
  • In instances when the player’s hand draws a third card, the banker’s hand proceeds to apply the most complex tableau of rules to determine if another card will be dealt.
    • Players in both big and mini-baccarat have no need to memorize the complete tableau, as the dealer in both games will always ensure that the third card is drawn properly.

The third card drawing tableau for the banker is as follows:

  • When the player hand’s third card is a 2 or 3, the banker hand draws on a 0 through 4 and stays on a 5 through 7.
  • When the player hand’s third card is a 4 or 5, the banker hand draws on a 0 through 5 and stays on a 6 through 7.
  • When the player hand’s third card is a 6 or 7, the banker hand draws on a 0 through 6 and stays on a 7.
  • When the player hand’s third card is an 8, the banker hand draws on a 0 through 2 and stays on a 3 through 7.
  • When the player hand’s third card is a 9, 10, face card or ace, the banker hand draws on a 0 through 3 and stays on a 4 through 7.

After the tableau has been applied completely, the final hand values are totaled, and the closest to 9 is deemed the winner. Wagers on the winning hand are paid out at even money, and wagers on the losing hand are claimed by the house.

Baccarat Betting Strategy

Baccarat strategyGiven the game’s binary, one or the other betting system, it’s no surprise that the optimal strategy for beating baccarat is as basic as it gets: bet on the banker’s hand every time out.

The math is clear on this subject, and the banker’s wager offers a house edge of just 1.06 percent on any given hand, which is slightly better than the 1.24 percent house edge affixed to the player bet.

Put another way, the banker’s hand wins 45.483 percent of the time while the player hand wins 44.615 percent, and 9.543 percent of hands result in a tie.

Use Common Sense

Besides sticking to the safe play of the banker’s bet, you can reduce your variance in baccarat online just by using a little common sense.

While other players at the table might try to convince you to adopt their hand tracking system, or to otherwise predict the outcome of the next hand, never succumb to this temptation.

Superstition will always reign supreme within the confines of a casino, but by alternating between banker and player based on perceived systems, patterns, or trends, you’re only costing yourself precious equity and expected value.

Basic Casino Baccarat Betting Strategy

Basic online casino baccarat players who want the best betting strategy should bet on the banker. Common sense states that a 1.06% house edge is the best bet.

If you get bored making the 1:1 banker bet or you’re the type to play hunches, then the safest basic baccarat betting strategy is to bet on the player (1.24%). This sacrifices only 18¢ per $100.00 wagered. For penny players and mid-stakes bettors, the difference is negligible.

How to Play Baccarat Strategy

One basic baccarat online betting strategy calls for you to vary bets according to the number of wins or losses you have. Also, you don’t bet when the win varies between banker/player every other hand.

Instead, once you see two losses of a kind happen, you wager one unit that two losses in a row won’t become a third loss: that is, keep betting either banker or player three times in a row.

If you suffer three losses in a row, then you wager 3 units that you won’t lose again. If you lose four bets in a row, wait until the next shoe of cards begins.

On the other hand, if you win 3 out of 4 bets, then you start the betting sequence from the beginning. The advantage of this strategy is you don’t bet as often, so you limit the potential damage.

Advanced Baccarat Online Betting Strategy

An advanced online baccarat betting strategy high rollers use is to “ride the horse” — that is, to bet on a rare event.

If either the bank or the player wins several times in a row, high rollers often choose to keep wagering on the same winning results, while doubling the bet each time (12 units, 24 units, and so on).

This is betting on the hot cards. Others prefer to switch bets after 6 wins in a row, because the other proposition is “due”.

How Do I Play Baccarat Strategy?

Many online baccarat tips discuss which betting patterns are best. The strategy discusses varying bets if either the player or banker wins two hands in a row.

This is based on a flawed understanding of the gambler’s fallacy, which suggests the odds change after one betting proposition wins twice (or more) times in a row.

Varying your bets is not an advantage over flat betting, but the system above avoids the pitfalls of the Martingale scheme, which calls for exponential increases after each loss.

Odds of winning don’t change if you use a true random number generator. Instead, the stated odds above remain the same, no matter how many times the banker or player wins in a row.

Tips to Win at Baccarat Online

To learn how to play baccarat online, remember these few handy baccarat tips. In truth, only about 4 baccarat strategy tips help.

In the list of online baccarat winning strategies below, the first four tips are based on baccarat betting strategy, while the final three are based on etiquette, tradition, or superstition.

  • Avoid the Tie Bet: Avoid making the tie bet, because it is considered a sucker bet. Though it has a higher payout by far, the odds usually are over 14%, so only suckers make that wager.
  • Shop for Commissions: The default commission played on the Banker Bet is 5%. If you can find a table with a 4% or lower commission, this increases your odds of winning. Online and live baccarat tables sometimes lower the commission.
  • Choose Banker over Player: If you want the play baccarat online with the best odds, always bet on the banker. This is especially true for high stakes bettors because a negligible difference really makes a difference when you wager big cash.
  • Play Short Sessions: The trick to enjoyable baccarat is playing shorter sessions. Blackjack rewards players for staying late in the shoe, if the odds begin to favor them. Baccarat does not, so whether you’re winning or losing, walk away from the table sooner.
  • Bet the Big Player: Tradition states that you bet with the biggest bettor at the table if you make small bets. If two high rollers bet against one another, you are free to choose. This tradition could be based on common sense, because sometimes the high roller at the table who takes things personal might not be the type of person you want to offend.
  • Squeeze the Cards: In Mini-Baccarat, the banker cards are dealt to the dealer and the player card to the biggest bettor. The big bettor squeezes the card to reveal its value, which creates suspense and is good luck.
  • Turn the Cards: Some players prefer to turn the cards when they receive them, to bring better luck. Baccarat players who know edge-sorting techniques use this tradition to learn the card’s value. Otherwise, there is no baccarat bonus derived from turning the cards.

Baccarat Casino’s Commission

It’s true that most casinos will charge players a 5 percent commission on winning banker bets, or a tax which is tabulated by the dealer and paid out when a player leaves the table.

This is intended to offset the extremely generous odds provided by the banker’s bet in baccarat online, but even after deducting this cost, your expected return when betting banker will always be better than any other bet in baccarat.

The reason for the banker hand’s advantage is that the player hand must always draw first. This is similar to blackjack, where the house edge is derived from the fact that the dealer always acts after players.

Counting Cards in Baccarat

Card counting takes place in baccarat. Baccarat players use card counting in live casinos and online live dealer casinos, though in standard online and mobile baccarat it is useless.

Card counting in baccarat is not illegal. However, casinos can forbid it if they want, but don’t worry, most do not as they see card counting as unfruitful in baccarat. If you use a real shoe for the cards in baccarat, card counting has some value.

Potential card counters are going to have several questions. They’ll want to know if card counting can be done and whether it’s worth the trouble.

If card counting is viable, they’ll want to learn a card counting system that works. Read baccarat card counting FAQ section below to get all the answers.

Is counting cards possible in baccarat?

Yes, but most baccarat experts do not consider card counting worth the trouble. A gambler can get an advantage over the casino with baccarat card counting, but the system is more complicated than blackjack card counting. Also, you can only expect to win about 70¢ for every $1000 wagered.

Given the margin of error, even if you count cards and wager large amounts, you can only expect to win about 50% of the sessions. Counting baccarat cards helps save money, though, so I’ll explain how it’s done.

How to Count Cards in Baccarat

To be a card counter in baccarat, you’ll need a 6-deck or 8-deck shoe of cards. Start with a fresh shoe; never start in the middle of the count. The count starts at 0. For every card that appears, use the following system to make your count.

+/- Count – Card Type Drawn
  • +1 Count – When an Ace, 2-card, or 3-card appears.
  • +2 Count – When a 4-card appears.
  • -1 Count – When a 5-card, 7-card, or 8-card appears.
  • -2 Count – When a 6-card appears.
  • 0 Count – If a card counted as 0/10 appears (10-J-K-Q), do not adjust the count.

If the count reaches +16 or more, then make the banker bet. If the count reaches -16 or more, then make the player bet. Do not bet if the count is between +15 and -15.

That is a big problem with baccarat card counting because it’s suspicious to stop wagering for large stretches of the game and keep watching the game. In Asian casinos, players track the “flow” (chi) of the game, so it’s less suspicious.

Does card counting work in Baccarat?

A player can get a small advantage by card counting in baccarat, but the advantage is negligible. The player edge you’ll get is 0.07%, which amounts to 7¢ per $100 wagered. The house edge on baccarat without card counting is 1.06% on the banker bet.

That means you can shift the results by $1.13 per $100 wagered. Baccarat card counting which achieves those results is more complicated than blackjack, requiring at least two perfect counts at once, so most players do not count cards in baccarat.

Live Dealer Online Baccarat

The live dealer online baccarat experience is the best way for Punto Banco players to test their skills. Not only do the live dealers deal real life baccarat cards, but they use a card shoe to deal cards.

You can test your skills without the dealers and the pit boss watching you like a hawk. Here’s how live dealer baccarat online works, along with a few pros and cons you should consider.


  • Ultimate Convenience: Online baccarat already was convenient, but mobile live dealer baccarat lets you play anytime all day, anywhere you go.
  • Baccarat Shoe: A live dealer deals from a real card shoe, so you can try to practice baccarat count cards if you want. If you’re a superstitious player, you can call it finding the ebb-and-flow of the game.
  •  Real Time Play: The game is streamed live to your desktop or mobile screen in real time. The camera films the baccarat table from several angles, which you can choose. Baccarat card game strategies like card counting are possible with live dealers
  • High Bet Limits: The best live dealer baccarat casinos have to please all types of customers. That means you’ll see maximum bet ranges at $5000 to $10,000 and minimum bets as low as $1.


  • Baccarat vs. Poker: No baccarat betting system relies on skill the way poker does. Poker involves math, psychology, and bluffing skills. Baccarat requires a knowledge of baccarat rules, a bankroll, and little else.
  • Mini-Baccarat Game Style: You can’t deal the cards yourself, of course. For that reason, live dealer baccarat is more like mini-baccarat than classic casino baccarat. Keep in mind the baccarat payout is the same for mini-baccarat, though the game goes faster.
  • Bonus Confusion: Some casinos have lower welcome bonuses for live dealer baccarat. Other online casinos do not let live casino play meet your wagering requirements. Read the terms and conditions closely.

Top Real Money Online Casinos to Play Baccarat

Online baccarat is the most convenient way to play baccarat for real money. Traditionally, many gamblers enjoy playing real money baccarat in a brick and mortar casino more than an online casino, because they don’t like online baccarat played with a random number generator.

Live baccarat online has all the advantages of both games, which is why the top real money online casinos for baccarat are those which offer live baccarat.

Players get a big selection of game variants and bet limits, with all the fun and social interaction one gets from live baccarat play on your screen.

Online Casinos for US Players

Bovada Casino and BetOnline Casino are our two recommendations for online players in the United States. Bovada offers US bitcoin players a huge $5000 bonus, while both sites provide a $3000 welcome bonus for those who use other deposit methods. Each site offers classic Punto Banco-style live baccarat, along with a live baccarat variant called Super 6.

Bovada Casino

  • Live Dealer Options: Live Baccarat, Live Baccarat Super 6.bovada logo
  • Payouts: Bitcoin, Local Bank Transfer, and Courier Check.
  • Deposit Types: Bitcoin, MasterCard, Visa, Verified by Visa, Prepaid Debit Cards, and Local Bank Transfer.
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BetOnline Casino

  • Live Dealer Options: Live Baccarat, Baccarat Super 6. betonline live baccarat
  • Betting Limits: Live Baccarat: $5-$100, $25-$500, $250-$5000, Super 6: $5-$100, $25-$500, $250-$5000.
  • Payouts: Skrill, Skrill One-Tap, Neteller, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Automated Teller Machine (ATM), Person2Person, Check by Mail, Check by Courier, and Bank Wire Transfers.
  • Deposit Types: MasterCard, Diners Club, JCB, Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Direct, Visa Electron, Skrill, Skrill One-Tap, Neteller, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Money Order, MoneyGram, Western Union, Person2Person, Ria Money Transfer, and Bank Wire Transfers.
  • Bonuses: $3,000 Welcome Bonus.

Online Casinos for Non-US Players

Our online casino suggestions for non-US players are 888 Casino and Betway Casino. Both have multiple live dealer roulette games.

Both also handle online baccarat for high rollers and low rollers alike. Each has a large welcome bonus and a live dealer bonus, along with many deposit and withdrawal options.

888 Casino

  • Live Dealer Options: Speed Baccarat, Baccarat Squeeze, Dragon Tiger.888-logo
  • Betting Limits: Live Speed Baccarat ($1-$5000), Live Baccarat Squeeze ($10-$5000), Live Dragon Tiger ($1-$1000).
  • Payouts: Maestro, MasterCard, Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron, Apple Pay, PayPal, Skrill, WebMoney, NETELLER, Postepay, QIWI Visa Virtual, EntroPay, iDebit, and Bank Wire Transfer.
  • Deposit Types: Maestro, MasterCard, Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron, Apple Pay, PayPal, Skrill, WebMoney, NETELLER, Postepay, Paysafecard, Transferencia Bancaria Local, eps, GiroPay, iCheque, iDeal, Trustly, Yandex, Przelewy24, Qiwi Wallet, InstaDebit, MB Multibanco, Nordea, PayR, QIWI Visa Virtual, EntroPay, Boleto Bancário, Citadel Instant Banking, Diners, iDebit, and Direct Bank Transfers.
  • Bonuses: $1500 Welcome Bonus, $20 No-Deposit Bonus, £100 Live Casino Bonus.

Betway Casino

  • Live Dealer Options: Baccarat, Speed Baccarat, Baccarat Squeeze, Control Baccarat Squeeze (Macau)betway live casino
  • Betting Limits: Baccarat: £1 to £10,000 (Main Bet) and £2,500 (Side Bet). Baccarat Squeeze: £5 to £10,000 (Main Bet) and £2,500 (Side Bet).
  • Payouts: MasterCard, Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron, Entropay, EcoPayz, Neteller, iDebit, Fast Bank Transfers, eCheck, EFT, and ACH.
    Deposit Types: Visa, Visa Debit, Visa Electron, MasterCard, Maestro, eps, iDebit, Giropay, Neteller, PayPal, Entropay, Mpass, EcoPayz, Zimpler, Trustly, Euteller, Fast Bank Transfers, and eCheck.
  • Bonuses: $1,000 Welcome Bonus, £250 Live Dealer Bonus