How to Play Baccarat | May 2024

If you venture to any reputable casino, you will likely find a crowd gathered around Baccarat tables. For centuries, players and crowds have flocked to this elegant card game for its simple betting strategy, the chance to have high betting limits and more.

From the halls of French and British royalty to being a fixture of American casinos like Atlantic City and Vegas, Baccarat continues to flourish online.

If you're looking to play Baccarat online compared to traditional casinos, or you want to learn how to play Baccarat for the first time, this guide gives you the inside scoop on which online casinos do James Bond's favorite casino card game justice. ​

Below, we'll explore the basic rules of how to play Baccarat and share essential baccarat tips. We'll also even help you develop the right baccarat strategy to force the banker's hand and draw a third card.

The History of Baccarat

Painting of people playing baccarat

Baccarat's origins and true history remain shrouded in mystery. Some claim that Baccarat is an Italian invention, dating back to the 1300s, when Felix Falquiere came up with the simple baccarat rules, strangely from tarot cards. It is believed the original name was Baccara (zero).

But, the most accepted baccarat origin is from 15th century France, as an ode to the French town Baccarat, and quickly became inseparable from the French elite.

As France relaxed gambling laws, day-to-day citizens quickly caught onto one of the most popular casino games with the first betting system set up for Baccarat Banque, which requires at least three baccarat players.

It would take until the late 19th century for Baccarat to come to America. However, one of the most enduring and elegant variants, Chemin de Fer, would soon follow, especially among New York gamblers in the 1910s.

The Chemin variant is often glamorized by Hollywood films and television series, including A Hard Day's Night and Rush Hour 3. It was also the game in which the world got its first glimpse of Ian Flemming's 007, played by Sean Connery, in Dr. No. But most casinos, including online casinos, feature Punto Banco as their staple game.

Baccarat: How to Play

To win at Baccarat–more often than not–requires understanding the different betting systems, how banker hands work, and how to tie bets enter the mix. Regardless of the variants, the banker and the player bet to get a winning hand to get to nine or as close as possible.

Players can also bet on the banker, getting a winning hand, or winning bets can also apply to the tie bet where neither you nor the banker wins or has identical hands.

All baccarat games have a dealer who is considered the banker. Before the cards are dealt, the banker and the players place their bets. Unlike brick-and-mortar casinos, online casinos usually offer flexibility on minimum bets because they usually have more variants.

Still, for those who prefer high stakes, Baccarat is ready for you to join the table, including the live dealer. The banker deals players two cards. Unlike blackjack, Baccarat doesn't have players go bust. Below, we list their face value.

  • Cards two through nine are counted at face value.
  • Tens, Jacks, Queens, and Kings are counted as zero, hence the title "Baccarat."
  • The Aces contribute one point to the betting hands.

As we mentioned, Baccarat doesn't have players go bust. A natural win is when a player hits nine with the first two cards dealt. But if a banker draws a third card, a player's third card, or the first two exceed nine, the last number in the overall value is counted.

For example, if your cards are 9 & 9 the overall total being 18, your baccarat total would be 8.

If the player wins, they at least win more money if they place the minimum bet. However, if the banker's hand is a winner, it might not always result in even money payouts because each casino usually takes a percentage, otherwise known as a commission, on the winnings.

Rules of Baccarat Dealing

To learn to play Baccarat successfully, you must go beyond understanding the house edge or using the correct betting strategy. Instead, to play Baccarat online with long-term success, you must know more than the basic rules, like when to stand or when the player draws a third card.

The banker is the dealer and the one who deals cards from the shoe. When all players bet at the baccarat table, the banker passes each player the first two cards. The banker gets the cards last. If the playing hand is a nine, it is a natural win.

Also, if the banker has a nine, the banker's hand wins. However, if the first two cards are an eight or a nine, the fixed drawing rules don't allow for drawing a third card, so the player stands.

However, if the first two cards are below eight, the player can stand or elect to draw a third card. But, if the player's hand starts at five points or less, the third card rules kick in, and the player is dealt an additional card.

But if the player chooses to stand on values between five or less, the banker draws a third card if its first two cards are worth two points. If the player's third card brings their total to eight, the banker must draw a third card if the banker's hand is three points. But if the player's first hand is six or seven, they must stand. The six and seven-point rule also applies to the banker.

At this stage, a winning baccarat strategy takes into account more complex scenarios, such as if the player's third card is a zero and the banker's hand is four, the banker has to draw a third card. The banker or variants where players serve as the bank or the house, draws a third card unless the banker's hand is a seven, and the player has to stand.

No matter the scenario where the player or the banker draws a third, the one closest to nine wins after the third card is dealt.

Read: Learn more in our casino glossary

Types of Bets in Baccarat

As you can see, winning at baccarat tables hinges on more than the banker's or the player's third card. Knowing how to play Baccarat online to win often involves mastering essentials like the tie bet or when to bet on the banker. Below, we list the most common baccarat wagers so you can choose the one that best fits your ideal baccarat strategy.

  • Main betThis is where players make banker bets or bets on the player to win before the cards are dealt. Both winning bets result in even money payouts. However, the banker bet is subject to casino fees. A successful tie bet leads to higher payouts, sometimes at a 9:1 ratio, depending on the variant.
  • Side betSome variants support side bets like pair and the egalite bet, which involves the points on the tie bet. The pair side bet involves gambling on whether the first two cards are identical. Another popular side bet involves wagering on the first two cards as a natural winner. Side bets are complex and shouldn't be used if you're first learning how to play Baccarat.
  • Player betBetter known as the punto wager, and is where you bet on the player to win.
  • Banker betThe banker bet is another simple wager in which you bet on the banker's hand to win.
  • Tie betThis is when you gamble on both the banker hand and the player hand being the same.

Baccarat Odds

Baccarat, like other casino games, has various odds based on the different bets and the particular variant. Most online casinos maintain the house edge on the games, and Baccarat is no exception.

If you're learning the ropes about how to play Baccarat, the player and banker bets offer even money odds at a 1:1 ratio. Simply put, a successful $20 bet rewards you with $40, which includes the ground bet and more complex wagers.

More sophisticated wagers like the tie bet or various side bets dramatically shift the house edge due to the lower odds. For example, most tie bets offer 8:1 to 9:1 payout ratios because the odds are not in favor of player bets

The House Edge in Baccarat

The house edge is associated with all casino games. It gauges the advantage, or, if you want to look at it this way, the disadvantage a player has towards winning.

The basic player bet has a house edge of approximately 1.24%. In contrast, for most variants, especially for punto banco, the banker bet has a low house edge of 1.06%. But when you factor in the casino's cut, the house edge dips slightly below 1%.

More sophisticated bets like the tie bet greatly swing the house edge to over 14%. Many lost bets come from side bets like the pair betting system, where the house holds strong up to 11%.

However, the high-risk reward egalite bet, where you bet on the point total of the tie wager, overwhelmingly gives the house up to a 30% advantage.

How do you win in Baccarat?

In its simplicity, winning at Baccarat is to have the initial dealt cards or a third card equal nine or eight.

After winning or losing, to maximize wins or, depending on how you look at it, slow down losses, players use methods like the Martingale or Reverse Martingale.

What is a "natural win" in Baccarat?

It is when your first two cards equal nine or eight. Nine-point totals automatically make you the winner without the need for a third card.

Types of Baccarat Games

Baccarat game

Unlike the baccarat table on the casino floor, online casinos offer more variants, including live dealer play. The online variants are also budget-friendly, so players can comfortably deposit funds to win in a classy fashion. Below are the most common baccarat variants, with some offering free games.

Baccarat Banque

Banque is one of the oldest variants born from French gambling parlors. In the Banque variant, there is no dedicated banker. Instead, one of the players is chosen to be the banker. The designated player deals from the shoe to the other players. The basic baccarat rules still apply, as do the face-value cards.

However, some casinos might have slightly different rules when dealing the third card based on the player's hand or the banker's two-card point total. An excellent example of Banque in action is the Mission Impossible episode, Odds on Evil, where the climactic scene takes place with the Banque variant.

Chemin de Fer

In the Chemin de Fer, all the players rotate, serving as the bank and dealer. In this baccarat variant, it's typical that the bank's cards are dealt face up. The basic game rules and wagers apply to the Chemin variant. Besides Dr. No, James Bond fans will recall the Chemin version in Thunderball.

EZ Baccarat

If you're looking for the best way to learn how to play Baccarat, the EZ variant is designed specifically for beginners. Robin Powell is accepted as crafting this variant. With EZ Baccarat, winners of banker bets can forget about paying a commission because they are eliminated.

The EZ game also features exotic side bets like the Dragon 7 and Panda 8. Dragon 7 pays out on banker wagers with winning hands worth seven points. The Panda 8 shells out winnings for players who bet they have a winning hand worth eight points.

Lightning Baccarat

The Lightning variant is usually played with a live dealer. While players can make standard bets, including one for the tie, the Lightning variant introduces Lightning Cards that contain a specific value.

Before you're dealt the first two cards, a Lightning Card will have a winning multiplier up to eight eight-times to be added to whatever your winning bet turns out to be.

Mini Baccarat

Mini Baccarat is another simple version of classic Baccarat that is highly suitable for understanding how to play Baccarat. Brick-and-mortar casinos have a smaller table to accommodate and play this variant because fewer players play at a time.

For the most part, conventional rules and standard bets apply to the mini variant.

Punto Banco

Punto Banco is the standard version at retail casinos and most legal iGaming parlors. It's best to understand your strategy before the game starts because the Punto version doesn't allow for in-game changes.

Minus some slight exceptions, the Punto variant follows classic baccarat rules and betting conventions. Players can gamble on the player's hand, the banker or for a tie. The films Golden Eye and On Her Majesty's Secret Service show Punto Banco in all its glory and elegance.

Super 6

Super 6 is also available for live dealer play at select virtual casinos. With Super 6, the game plays and follows conventional Baccarat, but players can make an exclusive Super 6 side bet where, in addition to betting on the banker, the banker wins with a winning hand of six points.

Due to the high risk of the Super 6 bet, if successful, players can walk away from the table with 12:1 to 15:1 payout ratios. But be prepared to deal with a house edge up to a frightening 29%, depending on the variant.

Baccarat Strategies

Baccarat table

Like other games, succeeding with Baccarat often requires a battle-tested strategy. If you're familiar with Roulette, you can apply many of these same strategies, including the D'Alembert and the Martingale method with Baccarat.

To help you best master how to play Baccarat to win, please consider these tested strategies used by professionals.

Martingale Strategy

Similar to Roulette, the Martingale strategy calls for players to increase losing wagers twofold. That way, not only can the winning wager recoup the loss, but you can rebuild your profit margin.

Should your wagers pan out, the Martingale strategy calls for returning to making the previous winning bet.

D'Alembert Strategy

When your Baccarat bet pans out, the D'Alembert method calls for you to gradually increase the amount of the next bet. And should you lose, steadily decrease the next bet.

The method to the madness of the D'Alembert method is to minimize losses as much as possible by not blowing through your bankroll. If you're looking to play Baccarat for the first time, the D'Alembert method is a solid strategy.

Paroli Strategy

If you come from a roulette background, you might already be familiar with the Paroli method, which is commonly called the Reverse Martingale method.

The Paroli method calls for you to increase winning wagers by two times, and for losses, go back to the previous winning bet amount.

Edge Sorting

Edge sorting, in many ways, can be considered a form of card counting in the sense that players strategize on what cards will be dealt.

Those who use edge sorting have become so polished by reading the patterns on the back of the card to know its value. Often times, they will use this as grounds for throwing out the card, or the entire deck.

Is Online Baccarat Legal?

Seven states, Rhode Island, Connecticut, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey, which set record profits in 2023, and Michigan, sanction real-money online casinos that feature legal Baccarat iGaming options.

New Jersey became the first state to officially legalize online casinos in 2013, thanks to Chris Christie's efforts to increase tax revenue and expand past the original Atlantic City pact.

These seven states might soon get some welcome company because Maryland and Alabama are making serious strides toward legalizing real-money casinos in their states.

At the beginning of the year, New York State Senator Joe Abbaddo introduced a bill to have twenty real-money casino apps come online in The Empire State, which would include online baccarat games.

Where To Play Baccarat Online

While virtual Baccarat selections aren't as abundant as other table games like poker, the marquee US iGaming sites have the ones that matter most, including live dealer play. The online casinos may even have great bonuses for new baccarat players.

Get to know the best iGaming parlors to play the timeless classic and phenomenon, Baccarat.

BetMGM Online Casino

Like its sister Borgata, BetMGM gets all the glamor and prestige from its world-famous parent company, MGM Casino and Resorts. The glamor and sense of high society feel with Baccarat at BetMGM no doubt come from MGM's Hollywood Studio success. BetMGM has three options, including the Punto Banco variant for standalone play.

Install BetMGM's official app for your specific state directly from the website for Android and Apple, and match wits with the live dealer with two variants. Put your Baccarat method to work with a leg up thanks to BetMGM's $25 no-deposit bonus, followed by the sizzling $1,000 new member welcome package.

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Borgata Online Casino

Like BetMGM, Borgata has three options. While Borgata is only available in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, players can seamlessly download the apps for iOS and Android phones and tablets.

From anywhere in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, players have 24/7 access to live dealer play. Borgata takes the stress off new members with a $20 free chip that works for Baccarat.

Get up to a $1,000 Deposit Match + $20 in Bonus Credits!

DraftKings Online Casino

DraftKings has one of the largest virtual Baccarat libraries in the United States, bar none. To sweeten the pot, one of the early pioneers in daily fantasy sports wagering has nine compelling options. Four of those options have progressive jackpots that are updated in real-time. Even live dealer selections like Classic and DraftKings Baccarat have over $1 million mega jackpots.

Besides the live options, you can play free games with Golden Wealth and High Limit Baccarat Squeeze. DraftKings' apps offer Baccarat selections to play anytime and anywhere. Refer a friend to play Baccarat and receive $150.

Get $35 in Casino Credits + a 100% Deposit Match up to $100!

Fanatics Online Casino

Fanatics Casino recently went online in Michigan after acquiring a pre-existing license. Baccarat lovers can easily download the official app from Google Play and the Apple Store if they are in Pennsylvania or West Virginia.

Or they can download the app directly from the main website using a QR code. Fanatics keeps Baccarat simple with the Classic variant available for live play. Fanatics members get cashback on their wagers.

Deposit and Get 250 Free Spins!

FanDuel Casino

Also a stalwart and pioneer for daily fantasy sports, FanDuel continues to hold its own as a mega iGaming force with four games. FanDuel considers its member's budgets and makes them highly affordable with wagers as small as twenty cents. FanDuel also has a live version of First Person Baccarat to give you an up-close look at your winning hands.

FanDuel frequently updates its Apple and Android apps to provide the latest cybersecurity measures and superior casino game software. Members can also tailor their FanDuel apps to meet their gaming preferences. Set your new member journey on the good foot with up to $1,000.

Deposit $10, Get $20 In Site Credit & Play It Again $1000!

Playing Baccarat Online Responsibly

With so many daily and weekly bonuses and the thrill of getting a great hand or a natural player hand at any moment, despite best efforts, it's easy to slip into unhealthy gambling habits or full-blown gambling addiction.

Fortunately, legal American iGaming sites have a dedicated, responsible gaming section. There, members, at anytime, can set betting limits and other measures like loss limits and playing sessions.

If you are on a roll, once you reach your limit, the game ends so you can protect your winnings and mental health. But if you need professional help, please don't hesitate to reach out to these reputable and dedicated resources.

  • National Council on Problem Gambling: Help is a call away at 1-800-GAMBLER
  • Responsible Gambling Council: Take the first step by visiting the website
  • Gamblers Anonymous: Retake control of your life by visiting their website

Besides these esteemed national organizations, states where online gambling is legal have their own state-run organizations to deal with problem gambling.

Frequently Asked Questions about How to Play Baccarat

As you can see, there are many nuances and subtleties that come up when learning a baccarat game, including what banker hand wins, which variant is the easiest, and when to draw a third card. We'll now answer the most common FAQs about Baccarat below.

Is online Baccarat legal?

Yes, but only in the states that support online gambling. These states are Rhode Island, Michigan, West Virginia, Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. For the best and safest results, we strongly urge you to only deal with these legal states.

Is playing playing Baccarat online safe?

Most certainly. As a license condition, legal iGaming casinos must use and stay updated with the latest cybersecurity measures to combat devastating cyber threats. Members can expect multi-factor authentication and intense login verification measures.

When creating accounts, be prepared for multi-factor verification measures, including photo identification, to verify your identity and that you are at least 21.

What is the legal age to play online Baccarat?

Regulated real money virtual casinos require members to be at least 21 to play casino games.

How many decks are used in a game of Baccarat?

Most variants use either six or eight decks. However, the mini variant often uses fewer decks.

What is a tie bet?

The tie bet is when you gamble on both the player hand and the banker hand, finishing the hand with the same point value.

What is the three-card rule in Baccarat?

Depending on the variant, if the player has a certain point total, usually between five and seven, they can draw a third card to strengthen their hand and reach nine. The banker must also follow certain rules to draw a third card to win.

Can I play live online Baccarat?

Most legal virtual casinos support live play. First Person is a popular live feature. Evolution Gaming is the brainchild and the power behind live play.

Where can I find free baccarat games online?

Some sites like DraftKings offer demo play, but it depends on the specific site. However, the live dealer doesn't support practice play.