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What is baccarat?
Baccarat was first played in the 1400s. Believed to have started in Italy, the game was originally played with Tarot cards. Soon after, it spread to France where it was played with a standard deck of playing cards. The French nobility, in particular, was very fond of Baccarat and it became a game associated with high rollers and big bets.
As the game grew in popularity and spread around the world, many new versions were formed including Punto Banco and Dragon Tiger. Today, Baccarat is one of the most popular table games and found at most casinos, both online and land-based.
The game itself is really straightforward, which makes it perfect for beginners. Like in Blackjack, you’ll be dealt cards, and the aim of the game is to get your hand close to a certain number. You’ll be playing against the dealer, also known as the banker in Baccarat. Before any cards are dealt, you can place a bet on whether you either you, the player winning, the banker winning or the game being a tie.
In Baccarat, every card has a value. Most versions of the game have the cards from two to nine with their face value. Tens and face cards are worth zero and Aces are worth one. The object of the game is to have your hand as close to nine as possible. Landing nine exactly is known as a natural.
Most game types deal with the cards face up. The sum of your hand is the total value of the cards. However, if the total is double digits, i.e. ten and above, then your hand value is the second digit of your hand value. For example, if you have a hand value of fifteen, from an eight and a seven, your value will actually be five. For a hand with two sixes, you’d have a hand value of twelve because two is the second digit of six plus six.
It sounds a little confusing at first, but once you start playing, it’s honestly very simple and easy to grasp. If, after the cards are dealt, neither player has a value of nine or eight, then a third card can be dealt with. If the player has a five or less, they need to receive a third card. If they have six or more, they’ll stand.
Whether the dealer takes another card or stands will depend on what cards the player has and the actions of the player. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, only that your bet was successful. The player and dealer bet both payouts even money, but we’ll cover this in more detail later in the guide.
Why play baccarat?
Baccarat is an old game that’s still highly popular today. So what exactly does everyone live so much about the game? Well, there are lots of different reasons, and depending on who you ask, some might be more important than others. Here’s our list of reasons why we enjoy playing Baccarat so much at online casinos:
- Simplicity – Baccarat is a really straightforward game to get into and start playing. It doesn’t take much practice to get to grips with the game, and you can be playing hands and landing naturals in no time. On top of that, most of the variants of the game are easy to understand too.
- Low house edge – Baccarat has an incredibly low house edge on banker bets. If you bet on the banker, the advantage to the casino is only 1.06%. This can sometimes depend based on which game type you’re playing, but for the most part, it’s still a lot lower than a lot of other casino games. This means that you have a pretty good chance of consistently coming out on top if you get some good luck.
- Fast-paced – Baccarat usually only involves one bet and four cards being dealt with. It can sometimes take a bit longer if there’s no natural nine or eight on the first draw. But, even then, it’s still a lot quicker than many other table games.
- Skill levels don’t matter – Because Baccarat is more heavily based on luck than some games like Blackjack or Poker, it doesn’t matter how good you are. Provided you know the rules of the game you can get started and win just as often as someone who has been playing for years.
- Good variety – Baccarat has plenty of different options available at most good online casinos. If you prefer to play high stakes, then you’ll usually be accommodated, and there are normally lower minimum bet options too. The variety means that even if you get tired of playing one version, you can always check out another game type and have fun.
Online baccarat tips
Before you begin playing, it’s important to make sure you understand the game fully. We’ve already covered some of the simple rules. However, it’s worth considering that some game types have different rules and slight changes. Make sure you check out the most common Baccarat game types we’ve listed further down in the guide.
In this section, we’ll be giving you some tips on how to make the most out of playing Baccarat online. Baccarat is a game that’s heavily dependent on luck, but there are still some strategies you can use to have a better experience. Follow our advice below, and you’ll hopefully start landing some bigger wins at the Baccarat table.
Understanding baccarat bets
When playing Baccarat, you’ll have three different options to bet on before the cards are dealt. Baccarat is a little unusual in that you can actually bet against yourself winning. Because there’s no way to affect the outcome of the game, you won’t be able to bet against yourself and then throw the game.
We’ll quickly cover the three betting options, here. First, you can bet on the Banker/dealer to win. Secondly, you can bet on the player, and finally, you can bet on the tie. Here we’ll talk about the house edge of each and also let you know the payouts:
- Banker bet – The banker in Baccarat is another name for the dealer. The dealer will be dealt with cards, just like you and you will be playing against them. This is an even-money bet. In other words, if you bet $10 on the Banker and the Banker wins, you’ll win $10. House edge for this bet is usually 1.06%. Bear in mind that some game types charge a 5% commission on all wins on the Banker.
- Player bet – The player in Baccarat is, of course, you. If you think you’re going to win this hand, place the bet on yourself and if you win, you’ll win the bet. This is another even money bet, so betting $10 will win you $10 if you win. House edge for this bet is usually 1.25%, slightly higher than the banker bet.
- Tie – Finally, if both the player and the banker reach the same value for their hands, the game is a tie. There’s no tiebreak, and any bets on player or banker will generally be pushed. That means you’ll get your stake back or can choose to leave it in play for the next hand. Some versions of the game will take your stake in this case, however. Normally, the payout on a tie bet is around 9 to 1 or 8 to 1. This means if you bet $10 on a tie, you could win $90 or $80.
Some different variations of Baccarat may have other bets such as betting on the suit of a card or on whether a hand will be above or below. Make sure to check the rules of the game you’re playing to see if there are other betting options for you.
While the outcome of Baccarat is largely determined by luck, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of winning and get more enjoyment out of the game. Remember that online Baccarat games are based on RNG, so there isn’t anything you can do to influence the outcome. You can adopt smarter playing strategies, however. Here are a few:
- Understand the rules – This is a pretty obvious one, but a lot of players might think that just because they’ve played one type of Baccarat, it means they know it all. However, you should know that there are lots of different version of the game out there and many have completely different rules and betting options. Pick a game type that you want to play and learn the rules before you join a table.
- Pick your bets well – In the above section, we explained the different types of bets available in Baccarat. Remember that betting on the banker is statistically the best option. While there are other bets available, you should avoid most of them. Betting on a tie, in particular, has a very high house advantage, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense to bet on it, even if the payouts can be much bigger.
- Manage your bankroll – Your bankroll is how much you have available to bet, and you should take care of it. Set aside a certain amount each day to bet with and be sure to change how much you bet depending on the size of your bankroll. If you’re playing with a smaller bankroll you should also be avoiding high stakes tables as although you can win more, your bankroll will disappear much faster.
- Don’t look for patterns – Sometimes it’s tempting to bet on the player after the banker wins or bet on a tie after there have been two ties in a row. You should remember that each round is completely random and based on RNG. This means that patterns don’t exist, even if it sometimes seems like they do.
- Limit your losses and wins – When you’re gambling, it’s always important to set a limit on how much you lose before you stop playing. This way, you can avoid chasing losses and losing more than you can afford. As well as loss limits, you should also know when to quit while you’re ahead. If you keep playing after going over your win limit, you’re bound to lose it eventually.
- Look for the low commission of no commission games – Obviously, you want to get as much cash out of your time playing as possible. Banker bets are the best for house edge but usually come with a 5% commission on all winnings. To get around this you can look around for sites that offer low commission Baccarat. Some sites even offer no commission games. Just make sure to read all the details about the rules and payouts before you play.
Playing baccarat online for free
If you’re brand new to the game of Baccarat, you might be tempted to jump straight in and put everything into practice. However, here at Xfire, we always recommend that new players try out a game risk-free before playing for real money.
How do I do that you ask? Simple, just log into your online casino account and go to the games. Find a version of Baccarat that you want to try out, and there should be an option to play a free demo. A demo is a version of the game that works exactly the same as the real thing only you won’t be betting real money.
This way, you can try out the game without any risk, get a feel for how everything works and then feel more confident about playing the real game. It’s always a good idea to try out a demo before you play for real as this way you won’t be risking your own cash when you still might not understand all the rules fully.
Just bear in mind that not all casinos offer free demos and that you, unfortunately, won’t be able to try out a free version of a live casino game. Find out if a casino has free demo games by checking out our online casino reviews here at Xfire.
Bonuses are one of the best aspects of online casinos. If you’re as big a fan of online casino bonuses as we are, you’ll be glad to know that you can use your bonus to play Baccarat in most cases. Almost every online casino out there offers some kind of welcome offer to new players. If you’re signing up for the first time, you can collect this bonus simply by signing up and depositing funds into your account.
Often these bonuses will give you bonus cash based on how much you deposit. For example, you might get a 100% bonus up to $300. You’ll then be able to use your bonus cash to play certain games at the casino, letting you play with minimal risk.
Most casinos will allow you to use your bonus to play Baccarat, but it’s always a good idea to check the full terms and conditions before you sign up. A lot of bonuses will have wagering requirements, that’s a restriction on withdrawing your bonus before it’s been wagered a certain number of times. In some cases, the casino might have a higher wagering requirement if you’re using the bonus to play table casino games.
If you want to discover the best bonuses that you can use to play Baccarat and other casino games, you should check out our latest casino bonus page. Here at Xfire, we’re always searching for the biggest and best bonuses around. We post them here on our site with all the details on how to unlock the bonus. We let you know whether there are any restrictions to be aware of. You’ll also find the latest bonus codes here on our site so make sure to check back in often.
Popular baccarat variations
Baccarat has been around for a long time. This has led to loads of different variations of the game being released. Today, you can find plenty of different options when you decide you want to play a little Baccarat. The amount of choice on offer can be a little confusing for new players, so we’ve broken down some of the most popular games. Here we’ll talk about the specific rules of each game and whether there’s anything you need to watch out for:
This is the main type of Baccarat you’ll usually find when playing at online casinos in the UK and the rest of Europe. Unlike American Baccarat, if the player hits a five, they’re able to choose whether they stand or draw another card. The dealer also has the option of drawing a third card from the deck if they want. Other than that, it’s quite similar to the American version of the game.
Punto Banco is the main American version of the game. The name is Spanish and comes from Cuba, where the game originally became very popular. If you see a game titles American Baccarat, it probably follows the same rules as Punto Banco. Make sure you double-check the rules just in case. Occasionally you will see some variations on whether the player is allowed to draw an extra card on certain numbers.
This is a popular game in Asia and is pretty much a simplified version of the popular Baccarat format. Evolution Gaming has produced a great version of this game which can be found at online casinos. Rather than player and banker, the two positions are known as the Dragon and the Tiger. Players have more betting options, including card suits and whether the total is over or under seven.
Chemin de Fer
Chemin de Fer is another popular version of Baccarat you’ll often find at casinos across Europe. This is more closely related to the original game of Baccarat that the French nobles used to play back in the day. When the banker loses a round, the role of the banker goes to a new player. The banker puts in how much they want to risk, and other players can choose to match that bet by betting on themselves. If players have a value of five, they may choose to either draw another card or stand. Cards are dealt face down in this game mode.
Baccarat Banque is very similar to Chemin de Fer. The main difference is that, instead of a new banker being made when the current banker loses, the banker is whoever makes the largest bet at the table. The player will stay as the banker until their bankroll is finished or the complete shoe or cards has been used up.
Popular baccarat game providers
Baccarat is one of the most popular table casino games, so it’s unsurprising that some of the biggest casino software providers have a version of the game. Here are some of our favourite software developers that offer online casino Baccarat:
NetEnt is probably the best-known online casino software company in the business. While you might know it better for producing quality slot games, NetEnt also produces some table games. These include a good selection of Baccarat games. NetEnt Baccarat games include the highly popular Baccarat Pro which uses Punto Banco rules.
Evolution Gaming is the absolute number one developer when it comes to live casino games. The company has a very impressive library of live games including several versions of live Baccarat. Most big online casinos that offer live games will have at least some of the titles from Evolution Gaming. Some of the company’s hits include games like Live Speed Baccarat, Live Dragon Tiger and No Commission Baccarat.
Microgaming is one of the biggest names in the casino industry, and you can find its games at sites across the world. Among its huge catalogue of casino games are lots of fun to play Baccarat titles. Microgaming offers Baccarat version like Mini-Baccarat, High Limit Baccarat and Baccarat Gold. These all present different ways to play and new rules which make things more interesting.
Online baccarat vs land-based baccarat
Baccarat has been popular in land-based casinos for hundreds of years and still remains one of the most popular table games today. It’s hard to beat the atmosphere and excitement that comes from playing at a land-based casino, but online casino games manage to be more exciting in different ways. If you’re wondering why online casinos are becoming so popular, we’ve listed some of the top reasons below:
- Convenience – With online casinos, you don’t need to leave your home and travel anywhere to play. All you need to do is load up the site on your computer, and you can play from the comfort of your sofa. Even better, most online casinos now allow mobile play so you can take your favorite games wherever you go.
- Better variety – If you go to a land-based casino you, might find one or two varieties of Baccarat, but it will depend on the size of the casino and availability of dealers. Online, you can play loads of different types of Baccarat and other games all in one place. If your favourite site doesn’t have the game type you’re looking for, you can easily go to another.
- Casino Bonuses – Online casino bonuses are one of the top reasons for the popularity of online casinos. Most sites will offer players some kind of bonus just for signing up or depositing. Whether it’s a no deposit bonus, matched deposit bonus or free spins, everyone can agree that casino bonuses are brilliant.
- Availability – Unlike at a land-based casino, you’ll be able to play Baccarat whenever you want. There are no opening times to worry about, just load up the game, and you can play RNG Baccarat at all times of the day. Just be aware that some live games aren’t available at all times.
At Xfire, we all love online casino games, but sometimes nothing beats the thrill of a real casino experience. If you’re like us and wish online casinos could be a bit more visceral, you’ll love live casino games. Rather than using RNG and a computer to determine the outcome, live casino games use real decks of cards and a real dealer.
The dealer in live baccarat is live-streamed to your computer from a Baccarat table at a specially made studio. Just like at a real casino, you’ll be able to chat with the dealer and experience the authentic thrill of real casino play, all from the comfort of your home.
If you’d like to play live casino Baccarat, make sure you check that your casino offers it before signing up. While live games are growing in popularity, some smaller casinos still don’t offer a big selection of games. If you’re unsure, check out our live casino page. We make sure to test the live game selection of every site we review.
The ability to enjoy games wherever you want is part of the reason why online casinos are so popular. If you enjoy playing casino games on your mobile, you’ll be glad to know that you can play Baccarat while out and about. Most major online casinos will let you access their site and play all your favorite games from a mobile device, including smartphones and tablets.
If you fancy playing some Baccarat while out, make sure you have a decent internet connection, then head over to your favorite site. Load up the site in your browser and find the game you want. It’s usually as simple as using the desktop site, and most casinos make it easy to search for your favorite games.
If you’re unsure whether your online casino supports mobile players, check out our mobile casino page. We always check the mobile capability of a site when we review it. We’ll let you know whether the site works on all mobile devices, whether you’ll need to download anything and if all the best games are available to play.
Some sites offer mobile apps that let you access casino games with even more convenience. While it does mean you’ll have to download the app, it will let you quickly access the site whenever you want. Some games also run a bit smoother in the app and you may be able to receive special bonuses directly to your phone.