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Online Baccarat - A Complete Guide

Baccarat, Punto Banco, Chemin de Fer - call it what you may; any casino that is the real deal is bound to have numerous variations of the game. And with such a history to it, it's no wonder that it's a James Bond's favourite! As we delve into this article, we take a look at all there is to know about Baccarat and why you want to be playing it. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of things we'll start off with where you can actually play online.

Top 9 Baccarat Online Casinos

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More On This Topic

Above is a list of our top 10 baccarat online casinos that offer some of the best gaming experiences this card game has to offer. You can expect to find all of the classic titles from software giants such as NetEnt & Playtech as well as others that offer brand specific variants. Boasting some of the highest limits in the iGaming market, low wagers and swift payouts, high rollers are in for a treat.

Types of Baccarat Casino Games

Although Baccarat in itself is a pretty simple card game, the rise of online casinos and increase in game providers has lead to the emergence of countless variations. The general context is similar in most cases but there are some slight differences that attract specific types of players. We couldn't possibly look into all of the variants out there on the market so here's an insight into some of the more popular ones. One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of online casinos also offer Live Baccarat which basically provides a more realistic gaming experience due to real-time play. Be sure to check out Betfair's live dealer section for some great offers including a welcome bonus.

Punto Banco

An American favourite, the name Punto Banco is in itself an explanation if the actual rules with punto meaning player and banco meaning bank. The aim of the game is to bet on the hand closest in value to 9. Players can either wager on the punto or the banco and in the case of a tie, known as an individual egalite', players retain their stakes. The game is basically a stand-off between Punto and Banco. Although extremely similar to Baccarat, the main difference in Punto Banco is the size of the table but this is more evident in land-based casinos.

Chemin de Fer

Moving into Europe, originating from France, Chemin de Fer is pretty similar to Punto Banco with the main difference being that players bet against each other and the house receives a fee hence eliminating all risk from their end. Furthermore, each player has a turn as Banker (no longer referred to as Banco) and has an option to take a third card or stick to their two-card total. You might also here of Baccarat Banque which is another French classic with the difference that it is three-deck rather than six-deck or eight-deck.

Ez Baccarat

One of the most popular types of Bacarrat especially in China, Ez Baccarat follows the general rules of Punto Banco with a few differences that are subtle but add a lot to the actual excitement of the game. The biggest difference is that the banker's total is 7 then their bet will push. This variant is also popular due to side bets such as Panda 8 & Dragon 7 which vary in their respective house edge. One thing to keep in mind is that the latter is not the same as another popular side bet known as Dragon Bonus. 

European Baccarat

European Baccarat varies from the American version in that a play can choose to stand or draw on a hand value of 5. The Banker's hand is determined by the casino with players given the option to cover the bank's bet by calling out Banco. If this occurs, other players are not allowed to make further bets. 

Mini-Baccarat

Another game that is becoming increasingly popular at both land-based and online casinos. You'll even find some options to play in real time such as at PokerStars' live casino. As the name implies, this is basically a smaller version to the original with the same face values. It is often seen as more attractive than other baccarat games due to its lower limits. This said high rollers seeking higher stakes should look at other options. The game also takes place on a smaller table know as a mini-baccarat table which is notable in brick and mortar casinos. 

Macau Baccarat

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In a lot of the previous game types, the dealer has full control. At this stage, it's worth looking into a baccarat game variation which allows players to touch the cards. Macau Baccarat does, in fact, allow players to perform certain rituals on the card which they believe will bring them luck. Having said this, it is probably more relevant to real life casinos since online casinos provide a virtual gaming experience. You can still find Macau variations online and they usually have additional features. It is possible to place bets on 'Player Pairs' & 'Banker Pairs' with high payouts. You'll even find some side bet options with progressive jackpots such as at bet365 that boast a great live-dealer section.

How to Play?

For anyone who had never heard of Baccarat prior to reading this article then lets start right at the beginning. You may be more familiar with the terms Punto Banco or Chemin de Fer but as seen previously they are all similar. Forming part of the table game section in online casinos. this is a card game just like Poker. Depending on the type, the game is usually played using 4, 6 or 8 standard 52-card decks. Due to most online baccarat games using 8 decks, counting cards becomes extremely difficult. This said, most players find the element of the unknown pretty exciting as is the case in casino games like Slots & Roulette. Baccarat tables are usually made up of 12 to 14 players.

Any card game expert will tell you that baccarat is actually a mix of craps and blackjack.  Starting with craps, the game is simple with one player (sometimes referred to as punto) going up against the banker position. The other plays place bets on who they believe will win. Some baccarat tables will charge commission on bankers bets and this can be up to 5%. The other option is to wager that the result of the next hand will be a tie. This is known as an Egalite bet or a tie bet.  Players who’ve placed a tie bet are paid out 9 to 1 or 8 to 1, depending on the house rules. As you can see a lot of the rules are similar to craps.

Now we move on to Blackjack and the most notable similarity is that the cards have the same values in baccarat. The exceptions is the ace since in the latter this only holds a value of one. In Blackjack, an ace can also have a value of 11. The difference is in how the hand totals are added up. Cards from 2 to 9 have a face value and when added together, the first digit is always removed.  Face cards and Tens are called baccarat cards. Since the first digit is removed, they all have a value of zero. As in most card games, certain etiquette is adhered to such as the use of a cut-card to deal. The dealer will then give out 2 cards to each player. The aim of the game is to get a hand total closest to the number 9. A hand total of 8 or 9 is known as a natural and if either player achieves this, drawing ends there. Otherwise, the game moves on to what is known as the 3rd Card Rule but we'll actually look into this in our next section.

When put in layman's terms, the game is actually quite simple. The complexity comes in how to place bets and whether to opt for side bets. It's also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the house advantage as this will be specific to the baccarat table you play at. One great thing to all of this is that you won't need to remember all of the rules as you will be guided by the dealer. Also, we suggest always keeping a paytable handy. Beginners will feel right at home at Lapalingo with some great variations to choose from.

Advanced Baccarat Strategy - Does It Work With Real Money?

We have taken a look into the basic baccarat rules as well as the different types out there. At this stage, we would encourage new players to try out some of the free baccarat online. This will help to actually get a better idea of the game. You'll also get to see how point totals are added for both player hand and banker's hand. For those who know the basics, we move on to the actual strategy behind the game. 

We are going to let you in on a secret here, when it comes to strategies, there are thousands out there. If you came here looking for a secret formula on how to win real money fast through baccarat then you'll have to look elsewhere. The truth is that anyone promising you a winning formula is lying. As is the case with most forms of gambling such as Keno, luck plays an important role on baccarat tables. Strategies tend to come about through gaming experience and are pretty subjective. This said, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to building an actual gaming strategy in your head. Getting to know the ins and outs of the game is key and LeoVegas is probably a good place to start.

Third Card Rule

An important decision in baccarat or Punto Banco is choosing whether to place a bet on the banker hand or player hand. Although each has its advantages and disadvantages, the banker tends to win more often than the player. And this is where we come into the third card rule...

As we saw previously, there are instances when player or banker will receive a third card. The rules are different for each individual. Whilst the player always takes a third card if their hand total is between 1 and 5, it gets complicated with the banker. A formula is used which takes into consideration the banks initial hand as well as whether the player has been dealt a third card and the value of this. The result is that the banker is placed at a slight advantage.

If it were this simple it would always make sense to bet on the banker. The issue arises when the casino places a commission on banker hand bets. Suddenly the decision of who to place bets on becomes harder. Betting on the banker will mean that you win real money more often but the actual quantity of real money will be less in comparison to winning on a player bet. And this is what makes it impossible to devise a winning strategy. Strategies will also depend on the type of variation you opt for. Some casinos like Casumo have a pretty decent range to choose from.

Tie Bets

Other than betting on the player or banker, another option is to place an egalite bet. This means placing a wager on a tie. With the biggest payout of 8 to 1, it is definitely an attractive option. The only problem with this is that statistically, it is least likely to happen. In fact, the house edge is usually over 15%. 

Pattern Spotting

This is extremely popular in brick and mortar casinos who even provide counting sheets for players. Basically, pattern spotting is a strategy whereby bettors keep track of hands dealt. They then place bets based on any common outcomes they have spotted. In our opinion, this is a strategy destined for failure. Even the fact that the casinos themselves are encouraging should raise suspicion. It is illogical to base future hands on past cards that the dealer has dealt with.

Is It Safe To Play Online Baccarat

A common question in online baccarat is whether it is actually safe to play with real money online. Online casinos and their casino games are constantly raising suspicion mostly because everything is virtual. The rise of live casinos has helped to remove some of the doubt but it is still not the same as playing in a land-based casino. Luckily a lot of online casinos are carrying out all the necessary tests to help put players' minds at rest. Furthermore, they have all the paperwork to prove it. It might also help to read a casino review or two to see what others think.

How Is Virtual Baccarat RNG Tested?

Your first step to ensuring that your online baccarat games are fair is to ensure that you choose a reliable casino to wager real money at. Primarily check to make sure that they have a valid e-Gambling license in place. Most licenses will impose certain criteria on the casino to ensure they are trustworthy. One of which is that their baccarat games are subject to regular RNG testing and they must have the certificates to prove this.

RNG stands for random number generator which is a software used to ensure all draws are kept random. Most top game providers will, in fact, ensure this and you'll usually see an RNG watermark in the footer section on the casino's landing page. Furthermore, the software must be checked by independent auditors such as eCOGRA & iTech Labs as further proof. Some casinos will actually publish this or at least make all the RTP stats fully transparent. 

Although playing online can raise doubts, we took a look at some of the gambling forums in online communities and most gave positive feedback. Players did admit that their experience with online baccarat games at reliable casinos was in fact fair. One thing they like about playing online is the fact that they could view their hand history and this actually showed if they hadn't won in a while. Although you won't many casinos offering first deposit bonuses on baccarat games, some do offer cashback bonuses on losses which also helps to keep things fair. 

Money Management & Bet Manipulation

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Although the actual gaming experience might be a fair one, online baccarat games are still a form of gambling. And with the rise of VIP tables with limits that are sky high as well as lucrative side bets it is easy to go overboard. In fact, online baccarat has become increasingly popular with gamblers who are high rollers.  This is where money management comes into play. You can expect to see some high limits at Rizk Casino for instance.

Whether you are playing slots, poker, blackjack or any other form of gambling the primary rule is to separate your bankroll. Remember that this is just a game and the odds can never always be in your favour. It would be foolish to use the same money you need to actually survive. If you'd like to experience the game without having to use any money there are many free baccarat games out there. If you do have some extra money then ensure that you set a limit and stick to it. There are various betting manipulation systems to stick to that will help with money management. Here are a few of our favourite systems although there are other more complex ones such as the 1-3-2-4 strategy:

Martingale System

The way this works is that basically every time you lose you double your ante. When you win you return to your original bet. In theory, this is a good system as it is easier to win money back. The issue is that due to table limits you could run out of money fast. The trick to all of this is to calculate the number of hands you can bet within the limit prior to betting. The system tends to work particularly well with online baccarat or as some people know it baccara. This is due to the game having relatively higher minimum bets and maximum limits than others.

Paroli System

Working in the opposite way to the previous system, Paroli is progressive. We like this system as it stops you from losing large amounts in one go. Also once you lose, you return to a smaller amount. The drawback is that this system does not allow tie bets as these could break the bank. 

Parlay System

This is similar to Paroli in that it is also progressive. The way it works is that you start with an initial bet and each time you win you add this to the bet of the next hand. When you lose you go back to your initial bet. The issue with this is that you could end up losing a lot. In fact, our suggestion is to stay true to your limit and know when to exit.

Baccarat Online FAQs

How can I win money playing baccarat online?
As we saw in the online baccarat rules section, you win by having the hand that is closest to 9. Winning hands can either be two-card if their total adds up to 8 or 9. In this case, cards are placed face-up. Otherwise, the third card rule applies. Punters can also win money by placing side bets during the game. The amounts won will depend on pre-determined house rules. The game is sometimes referred to as Punto Banco but the theory around winning is the same.
Why do high rollers play baccarat online?
In places like Las Vegas, baccarat games generate some of the best revenues for casinos. This is also the case online and mostly its because it attracts high rollers. They find the low house edge and high stakes enticing and it is also played fast. This means that you can win alot in a short amount of time.  Furthermore, limits tend to be high especially in Live Baccarat. Payment methods such as Neteller also tend to have high withdrawal limits. Thus transactions can be made swiftly to further compliment things.
Meet the Author
As the Editor-in-Chief of CasinoCountdown, I'm always on the hunt for fresh casinos and slots. After all, it's my job to ensure you have the facts you need to make the right online gaming decisions for you. Once I find something I think you'll like, I always try it out myself. Only the best sites and games are given my seal of approval. You'll also find me sharing my casino knowledge on our guide and strategy pages. With many years of experience in the iGaming sector, I'm sure I can help you.