Baccarat is a card game often offered at land-based and online casinos. Many know of it from James Bond novels and movies, depicting the classy felt-covered table full of spectators standing behind the players. The game is quite easy to play, but with different versions and odds available, it is important to learn the basics before getting started. And that is exactly what you can do here!
In this baccarat guide, we will go through how you can play the game – no matter if you prefer to gamble online or offline. We will cover everything you need to know so that you can enjoy the game known as James Bond's favorite. Once you feel ready to try it for yourself, you can head over to our selection of free baccarat games that can be played without any registration, download, or deposit needed.
How to play baccarat
Baccarat is a card game played between two hands: "player" and "banker". The goal is to have the highest valued hand. Each round of the game, called a coup, has three possible outcomes: "player", "banker" or "tie". This simply means if the player has the highest score, the banker has the highest score, or the score is the same, respectively.
The game is played using regular decks of cards, like in blackjack, but the highest hand value possible is only nine. This is because hands reaching a sum of more than 9 will only count for the units digit of the sum. For example, a hand consisting of a 5 and an 8 (13 in total), is worth 3. The valuation of cards is as follows:
- Ace: 1 point
- 2 to 9: Face value in points
- 10, J, Q, and K: Zero points
The banker and the player hands are most commonly (in "punto banco") both dealt by the casino. In these versions, players do not draw their own cards and play against the player like in blackjack. Instead, "player" and "banker" are simply two different hands that players can bet on, in addition to the "tie" outcome.
For each coup, two cards are dealt face up for each hand, alternating between player and banker. Depending on the hand values, a third card might be drawn and once a winner is clear, the dealer will announce the outcome and pay out winning bets.
Winning odds and payouts
When betting in baccarat, the "player" or "banker" winning both pay 1 to 1, but note that the banker hand normally comes with a 5% commission for the casino. The odds are in the favor of the bank, with 45.85% for the banker hand and 44.6% for the player hand. A tie is less likely, with a 9.5% odds, but this is also where the biggest payout waits. A winning bet on a tie gives an 8 to 1 payout, or even 9 to 1 in some versions.
Different baccarat versions
Depending on the baccarat version played, the rules and odds might differ slightly. The most common version is called punto banco, but you might also come across Chermin de fer, Baccarat banque, Macao, and more.
One of the major differences to make note of, especially when playing in person, is who deals the cards. In punto banco, the casino will deal and play both hands. But in other versions, such as the French favorite Chemin de fer, players take turns being the banker. The terms "player" and "banker" can quickly cause confusion, but it is important to always know who is playing and how you can bet.
How to play baccarat online
Put simply, baccarat is played by betting on one of the three possible outcomes: banker, player, or tie. The simplicity of the gameplay has made it a popular alternative at both land-based and online casinos.
These days, you will find at least a few versions of baccarat at most online casinos and other sites offering card games online. The rules will be the same as offline, but everything will happen on the screen in front of you. Buttons will be available to adjust and place bets and winning bets will normally be announced and paid automatically.
Online baccarat can be played in both virtual and live versions. Virtual baccarat games online are video-generated games developed by software companies using RNG technology. This means that, as long as the games are from reputable and licensed providers, the results are 100% random and fair. The game will look very similar to how it works at a brick-and-mortar establishment, but it will all be virtual with no real people involved on the screen.
Live casino baccarat, on the other hand, is played in real-time, with real people. These games have gained huge popularity in recent years and improved immensely in tact with technology improvements and increased competition. While the games are still played online and displayed on screen, what is shown on screen is live streamed from a gaming studio. Here a real person hosts the game and it is normally possible to chat with the dealer and/or other players joining the game from around the world.
Tips for playing baccarat online
Baccarat is a game of chance and therefore relying on strategies won't be very effective. However, we want to share some tips that you can keep in mind as you start playing.
First of all, we highly recommend that you start out by playing baccarat for free. This way, you can familiarize yourself with the rules and try different versions without spending any money. If you later wish to try playing some rounds with real money, it is important to only play at reputable and licensed establishments and websites where you can rest assured that your money is kept safe. And of course, it is important to practice responsible gambling and set (and follow) clear limits on spending.