Baccarat

A little bit complicated, and considered by many the exclusive domain of high rollers, baccarat is actually more accessible than it may seem. This is especially true if you aim to play baccarat online at our recommended online casinos for Canadians, where the rules and odds are extra clear. And while at land-based casinos, like those found in Las Vegas or Niagara Falls, baccarat players may be relegated to a separate room, online you’ll find this engaging card game right in the casino lobby. Play your cards right, and you can win yourself some serious cash!

Ready to play online baccarat? Check out our top choices below, with the best baccarat bonus offers, and overall game play.

Rules of baccarat

The rules of baccarat: The more accurate name for the version you play online, Punto Banco – are at first glance somewhat complicated, and (unfortunately) what deter many potential players from this awesome card game. Do NOT be deterred. Figuring out how to play is not actually that hard. It just takes a bit of concentration, and some practice to get it right. So here’s how it goes…

Baccarat is a game based on points: Each card has its own value towards collecting these points, and it’s not always obvious.

  • 2-9 are worth their face value in points
  • 10, J, Q and K are valued at zero
  • Aces are worth 1 point each
  • Jokers are not part of the game

The points from each of your cards is added up: and this total’s rightmost digit is what’s used for determining your hand’s value. So, for example if you have a 2 and a 3, then your hand is worth 5. If you have a 6 and a 7 (which add up to 13), your hand is worth 3. Since it’s it the rightmost digit that’s being used, this means a 9 value is the highest possible hand.

A card comparing game: Punto Banco baccarat is played between two hands – that of the player and that of the banker. As such, it has three possible outcomes: player, banker or tie. While you are technically the player, you can actually choose to bet on either the banker or the player as you see fit.

In standard baccarat play, 6-8 decks of cards are used: For each round (called a coup), two cards are dealt, face up, to each hand, alternating starting with the player and then to the dealer. If either has an 8 or a 9 at this point, the round is done. If not, a third card may be dealt to either the player or the banker (depending on very specific drawing rules), and the results from this hand determine the winner.

Baccarat odds

Punto Banco is a game of chance: Period. The cards that are dealt are the cards that are dealt. In the Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque versions of the game (as detailed below), there is an element of choice involved, which means there is some skill which you can put into play to improve your baccarat odds. In Punto Banco there is nothing you can do but bet wisely.

Winning odds for baccarat clearly favour the bank: The house edge is generally in the 1% range, and depends on who you’re betting on. For example, in 8-deck play it would be about 1.06% for a bank win and 1.24% for a player win.

An interesting fact is that, in places like Macau, over 90% of the casino’s total income has been known to come from Punto Banco play! And casinos can regularly win or lose millions of dollars in a night, just on baccarat. Take that as you will.

Variations of Baccarat

Maybe we should have emphasized this more strongly before, but it’s important to get one thing straight. What is generally referred to as baccarat, especially by North Americans (and that includes you, my Canadian friends), is actually more accurately Punto Banco. The same is true for baccarat online, which is usually Punto Banco as well.

Other baccarat games you may encounter, more likely offline, include:

  • Chemin de Fer – This version of baccarat, in play since the 19th century, is the most popular form of baccarat in France. Played with 6 decks of cards, it involves all those seated at the table who each take a turn at shuffling and dealing the cards. A faster-paced game, it has different wagering rules and more individual decisions regarding the cards dealt as well as the wagers placed.
  • Baccarat en Banque – This game is quite similar to Chemin de Fer, except that here the banker position is more permanent, usually three decks of cards are used, and more cards are dealt per player. The rules for who gets dealt cards when and how, as well as wagering specifics, are quite complicated, so this may not be your best choice if you’re new to the game.
  • Online high roller baccarat games – As is the case in land-based casinos, online high roller games are played in a separate room. Keep in mind, this is for the crème de la crème of clientele, offered by invitation only. If you want to work your way into one of these coveted online baccarat rooms, then you’ll need to put in a lot of legwork, playing a whole lot of baccarat for a whole lot of money.

Top 5 baccarat tips

Remember, as a game of chance, there’s nothing you can do to really improve your baccarat odds. Instead focus on other strategies to make the most of your play.

  • Online baccarat for Free: New to the game? You can always play online baccarat for free, at any of our recommended online casinos.
  • Baccarat bonus: While you’ll rarely encounter a baccarat bonus per se, most bonuses can be played on baccarat games, and count towards fulfilling wagering requirements.
  • House edge: Since the house edge is lower on the banker win, this is generally considered the better (i.e. safer) bet.
  • Odds: The tie bet may have the highest payout, but it also has the worst odds with a house edge of something like up to 14%.
  • Responsible gambling: You are not James Bond, and you may not be rich, but you can still enjoy gambling on baccarat. Just make sure to keep within your betting style in a manner that suits YOUR budget.

Conclusion

Wondering what baccarat is all about? This action-packed card game is really far easier than it seems, and incredibly fun to play! Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’re all but guaranteed to fall in love.

And playing online is the best way to go. This way you’ll always have access to a table, enjoy the betting limits that suit you, and have the support available as you need. Visit our recommended baccarat casinos today, for a first-hand taste of the hottest baccarat action around.