Despite being popularised by James Bond in the movie theatres and being enjoyed across Macau and other Asian land-based casinos, Baccarat is neither an Asian nor a British game. Baccarat, or its predecessor Baccarat Banque, was the game of choice amongst the 19th Century French aristocracy.
This original version of the popular table game required three participants, while its later variants, Chemin de Fer and Punto Banco, evolved to be played by two players. This change in the game allowed one of the players to hand the bets and the cards, which boosted the game's popularity immensely due to its taboo status.
While the French origins of the card game are the most held, some believe it has its roots in 14th century Italy. Some sources claim that an Italian gambler, Felix Falguiere, adapted the then-popular game of Tarrochi into an early form of Baccarat using tarot cards.
The first official document case for Baccarat appeared in 1847. Mathematician Charles Van-Tenac published a 13-page mathematical analysis of Bacarrat and its probabilities in his book, Album des Jeux.
Not long after this French publication, we see the card game crossing the Atlantic and appearing in the United States. An 1871 article in the New York Times discussing the Club-house casino at Long Branch refers to its roulette tables and “Baccarat board”.
It was not until the launch of the Las Vegas Sands casino in 1959 that we heard of Baccarat becoming part of mainstream American gambling culture. The prominent casino offered players the chance to enjoy a modified version of Punto Banco, stripped of Tie bets and offered side bets on natural hands.
Popular Baccarat Terms
If you are new to Baccarat and want to learn the lingo, here are fifteen easy-to-remember terms that will help you understand the flow of the game better and sound like a pro when playing with others.
- Baccarat: The Italian word for zero is Baccarat. Hence, in this game, a hand with a zero value is called Baccarat.
- Banco: Banco is Spanish for a banker or a bank. In Baccarat, Banco translates to the player who is dealing the cards or who has the shoe. The Spanish word for ‘banker’ is banco. In a game of Baccarat, this is the term used for the player dealing the cards.
- Burn: This is the term used for the practice of discarding the top cards before dealing players their cards during a new game.
- Carte: Calling for another card is known as hitting. The term carte is the French word for this call.
- Croupier: The French term for the word dealer.
- Cheques: When playing Baccarat in a brick-and-mortar casino, you will place your bets with special chips known as cheques.
- Cheval: A cheval is a side bet where the bet is won only if both active players win the hand. If they both lose, then the side bet is also lost. In a scenario where only one player loses, the side bet is considered undetermined and stays in play.
- Dragon Bonus: The Dragon Bonus is a popular side bet where players bet on the point spread of the winning hand. The bet is won if the point spread is four or more or if a natural hand occurs.
- Fading: A popular term in live dealer and land-based Baccarat and refer to the act of betting against other players.
- La Grande: This is the most substantial hand in Baccarat. It means a natural 9.
- La Petite: This is the second strongest hand in Baccarat. It means a natural 8.
- Monkey: This is table slang for any card with a value of 10.
- Natural: The strongest hand you can get in Baccarat is a two-card combination valued at 8 or 9. However, in the case of two natural hands, a natural 9 is more robust than a natural 8.
Rules For Playing Baccarat
Getting started as a new Baccarat player is easy and fun. Here is a simplified look at the rules you need to know to begin playing Baccarat online today.
Who is at the table?
Baccarat is a game where you, and the other players in a live dealer game, compete with the House, not each other. Each hand aims to guess which box will be dealt the best strongest hand and back that box for the win.
What is on the table?
The table consists of three boxes names Player, Banker, and Tie. Your only decision is to choose a box to wager on. There is no player intervention in deciding which cards to hold, making it a game of chance.
Place your bet.
Before placing the cards in the Player and Dealer boxes, you will have a chance to place a wager. Here you guess the outcome of the upcoming cards by betting that the Player will win, the Banker will win or that the round will be a Tie.
Know your cards.
The House will deal two cards to the Player and the Banker. All cards are dealt face-up, so the result of the hand will be instantly apparent once all four cards are dealt.
Win or lose?
Baccarat aims to achieve a point total of 9. Face cards, traditionally worth 10, therefore count as zero in Baccarat. The sum of the two cards closest to 9 wins. Any box with a Natural 8 or Natural 9 wins immediately, regardless of the other cards. In the case of two naturals, the 9 will win. Some rules will force either Player or Banker to draw a third card. This rule activates when the hand in question is 5 or less based on the initial two cards.
Given the risk to the casino, each betting option has a different payout. Player bets payout 1:1, Banker bets payout 19:20 (this is 1:1 less 5% commission) and Tie bets payout 8:1. Always remember that if the House is being generous, there is a minimal chance that you can win with that bet.
Besides the incredible sense of community, Baccarat, one of its most appealing aspects is its simplicity.
First off, online Baccarat is a game of chance. While there are higher probabilities of specific options winning based on the game rules, there are no guarantees. Instead, Baccarat allows players to consider the odds and run with their gut.
The 3 top strategies for new players are these:
- Always bet on the Banker: The best course of action in Baccarat is to place low house-edge bets. The Banker bet offers the casino the lowest advantage at only 1.06%. While it does not guarantee a win, it gives you the best chance of coming out on top.
- Avoid Tie bets: Once you begin to play with the board and spread your bets around, do not place Tie bets. This bet offers the House an exaggerated margin of 14.36% because wins and losses both favour the casino.
- Ignore betting systems: With an understanding of the low edge offered by the Banker and the fact that Baccarat is a game of chance, there is no reason to waste your budget chasing the false promises of betting strategy. They also tend to rob the game of its entertainment value and encourage you to pursue losses
Baccarat is one of the most engaging and entertaining casino games ever. Here are tips and tricks to get started the right way to help you find your feet as a new player.
Always Be Comfortable
Before starting to play Baccarat, make sure you are in a peaceful location, a peaceful state of mind and playing on a platform that suits you. This setting ensures that you can learn the game and enjoy every moment, rather than being stressed out and making rash decisions.
Get To Know the Basics
While Baccarat is a straightforward game, there are still best practice guidelines. These guidelines include knowing how the hands are calculated, which players are best to back, how bet limits work and what makes a winning hand. Our helpful guide covers all of this and more.
Choose Your Game Type
Baccarat has a massive global audience and naturally has several variants, each with its own rules and playstyle. Take the time to read up on these variants on this page. Choosing the best version for your playstyle will make it infinitely more enjoyable to learn and entertaining to play.
Ignore False Promises
Regardless of what you might see online about winning systems and guaranteed payouts, please ignore it. While Baccarat is played with cards, it is not a game of skill, it is a game of chance, and as such, there is no way any system can guarantee that you will win every hand.
We always recommend setting a budget for your spending and time at the tables ahead of time. Baccarat is a great game that provides much entertainment but do not chase losses, play for too long or gamble if you're in a bad mood, as this can lead to poor decision making.
With Baccarat being a high-energy, easy-to-learn card game, it is not surprising that it is played worldwide, both online and at land-based casinos. This fact does, however, mean that many localised variants add something unique to the experience.
One of the world's most popular card games, Baccarat allows you to bet on whether you think the Player, Banker or Tie box will be dealt the strongest two-card hand. Simple to play, easy to learn, with fast rounds, Baccarat is a global gambling sensation.
The players versus the house nature of Baccarat makes it a great community game. This competition has been brought to life online with the addition of high-quality live dealer Baccarat titles where players can team up against the House once more on pc and mobile.
Dragon Tiger is a slimmed-down version of Baccarat where players get to bet on either the Dragon box or the Tiger box instead of Player and Banker. The main difference is that Dragon Tiger players are only dealt a single card, not two, as in Baccarat.
Live Dragon Tiger
Playing Dragon Tiger live with other players worldwide is a whirlwind of excitement and action. The games are fast-paced and community-driven, making a lot of noise should players choose to bet against the popular consensus. It is all good fun, and it remains the players versus the House.
Given the fixed payouts associated with Baccarat, the invention of Lightning Baccarat was a game-changer. This game version sees random cards drawn every round, and winning hands using those cards can trigger win multipliers of up to 262,144 times the initial bet.
Far from simply being Baccarat with a Spanish name instead of a French one, Punto Banco comes with a deep rule set which determines when the Banco draws additional cards. Seven hands decide if Banco must draw again depending on what cards the Punto has.
While the gameplay in Baccarat Banque is the same for the player, it is very different for a live dealer. For them, the table is split into two different games, and they play one hand of cards against both tables simultaneously.
Baccarat Squeeze is all about the theatrics. As we like, "they added the squeeze just to tease". This version of the game is played just like the prior version. The only difference is that the cards are dealt face down, and the dealer lifts the corners of the cards to tease you with the value. The main currency in this title is anticipation.
If you are short on time and want to get in a few rounds of Baccarat, then Speed might be the ideal game mode for you. Speed Baccarat games only take a maximum of 27 seconds to play, with the option for additional side bets to boost the game's maximum payout potential.
Mini-Baccarat is the natural evolution of the main game. It is a small version limited to 7 punters and a dealer. The Player cards are also dealt face down and only revealed later. Other than that, it plays just like online Baccarat.
FAQCan I play Baccarat at an online casino?
Yes, online Baccarat is a top-rated table game that can be found at many top-rated online casinos. Please look at our recommended baccarat casinos for safe and fair options.Are online baccarat games rigged?
If you choose a safe and regulated online casino, you can rest assured that the baccarat games you play will not be rigged. Licensed online casinos ensure that their games are audited regularly and run through RNG software.Can I play Baccarat for free?
Yes, many online casinos offer demo versions of baccarat games for players to explore and test before spending real money.Can Baccarat be played on a mobile device?
You can load up and play Baccarat from your mobile browser at our recommended casinos. Many online casinos also offer mobile apps that feature several types of Baccarat.How are winning hands created when playing Baccarat online?
The aim of Baccarat is to create a hand that is closest to 9 in value. If the hand you're dealt is more than 9, the first digit is dropped, and the remaining number is your final hand.What is the best bet to place in Baccarat?
When playing Baccarat, you can bet on the player, the Banker or a tie. Betting on a Tie is often the worst bet, with the best bet being the Banker as it has a slight edge over the player.Are there different variations of Baccarat?
There are many versions of Baccarat available online. You can play mini Baccarat, play with a live dealer or try your hand at games like punto banco. For most of these games, the aim remains the same while the rules may change slightly.Is Baccarat considered a game of skill?
Baccarat is all about the luck of the draw. There is not much skill to the game except when placing a bet. Due to the randomness of the cards, you still have a fair chance of winning.Is card counting possible when playing Baccarat online?
Card counting is possible when playing at a land-based casino, but online casinos have made this impossible thanks to RNG software that generates random cards on each draw.What is the best online baccarat strategy?
Many agree that the best strategy when playing Baccarat online is to always bet on the Banker. Other than this, there isn't a real strategy that could sway the game in your favour.