How To Play Baccarat

online baccarat screenshot

Baccarat was invented during the Middle Ages and is named after its worst hand, a zero. Baccarat is played with six decks of cards (reshuffled after each hand) and with two players, you and the banker. 

One hand is dealt with each of you. To win, you must pick the hand with the highest total, the highest score being 9, and the lowest a zero. If you bet on a tie and win, you get paid 9 to 1 for bigger wins.

Baccarat Basic Rules

Ok, so you can bet on the player, the banker, a tie, or a combination of all three. The player plays first. If the total of the player’s hand is between zero and 5, draw another card. If the total of the banker’s hand is 7, 8, or 9, a new card is not drawn.

If the total is zero, 1, or 2, the banker draws another card. There are two buttons involved: you can pick ‘player,’ ‘banker,’ or ‘tie’ with the bet button. Click on the chips at the bottom right to wager them. To deselect chips, click on them in the betting area, and with the ‘deal’ button, you start the game after you have placed your bet.

You will win:

  • If you picked a tie to win and there is a tie;
  • If you bet on the player and the hand wins, you win what you bet. A €5 bet pays back your €5, plus an additional €5;
  • If you bet on the banker and the hand wins, you win your bet minus a 5% commission*. For example, a €5 bet pays back €5, plus an additional €4.75;
  • You bet on a tie, and you get nine times your bet if the tie wins. A €5 bet pays back €5, plus an additional €45.

The commission is 5% of the bet and is rounded up to the next quarter. For example, a minimum bet of €6 would deduct a 50 cents commission. 5% of €6 = 30 cents, but since the commission is rounded up to the next 25 cents, the commission is actually 50 cents.

Baccarat Table Variations

As with most casino table games, baccarat comes in several different variations. Below, you’re going to be able to look at some of the different game types, all of which are available to play right here at many of the online casinos listed here at Casinomeister.

American: American baccarat is also known as punto banco, and it’s one of the oldest formats of the game known to man. It’s commonly played at land-based casinos throughout the USA, and the goal is to score as close to 9 points as possible.

Chemin de Fer: Chemin de Fer (although still normally called baccarat) is a popular European version of the game found in most land-based casinos in Europe. The game differs slightly from the American version, and the number of decks used during play is 6 instead of 8.

Super Pan 9: Super Pan 9 is quite hard to come by online, and it uses some pretty strange rules. The game is actually played with a modified deck of cards, and there’s a total of 36 cards in play here at any one time. Each player is dealt three cards initially, and you have the option of drawing one more card if you wish.

3-Card: 3-Card baccarat uses just one deck of cards, and the value of these cards is the same as all the other game variations. Where things differ is that if you make a winning 3-card hand, you win, similarly to getting a 5-card trick in Pontoon.

Baccarat Side Bets

As with most casino games, baccarat can be played with a variety of side bets. Below, we’re going to take a look at some of the primary and most popular side bets you’ll find, both on regular online versions of the game as well as some found in live dealer games.

Progressive Baccarat

Progressive jackpots are incredibly popular. While they’re most commonly seen on video slots, they can also be found in casino games like roulette, blackjack, and baccarat. Progressive baccarat gives you the option to place an optional side bet every time you play a hand. Every player who places this side bet will have a portion of their wager added to a pool, a jackpot that continues to grow until it’s won!

These progressive jackpots can get incredibly large, especially if you play baccarat from a leading game developer that has the game integrated at many online casinos. While each game variation awards progressive jackpots in different ways, most follow a somewhat similar structure.

For example, if both the banker and the player have cards dealt that are a suited ace and an 8, the progressive jackpot is awarded. Once the cards are dealt, you’ll be able to see whether you win the progressive jackpot right away.

When you place a progressive jackpot side bet, you don’t have to hit this specific combination to win. There are lower payouts for other hands, too. For example, if you and the banker draw an unsuited ace and 8, you can win, say, 1000X your total bet. Even regular hands like a natural 9 or a natural 8 are paid at 25X and 20X, respectively.


Another popular side bet you’ll find offered on many Baccarat variations is the pairs bet. This is a preferable bet for many players as it doesn’t matter what the winning hand is as it’s based just on your hand or the banker’s hand.

Once the cards are dealt, if you or the banker’s hand is a perfect pair — two cards of the same suit and the same value — you’ll be paid out at around 25/1. If both of your cards are a pair but not of the same suit, you’ll be paid out at 11/1. If the banker’s hand is the same, the payout for this bet is the same.

You’re then paid out for both hands if the cards are dealt and form a pair, so you basically have four cards to make a pair. This bet pays out at 5/1. 

Small / Big

The small/big bet is another side bet that you’ll find offered at many baccarat games online, although it’s especially common in live dealer games. It allows you to bet on the total number of cards dealt in a specific game round. This means that it’s not just cards one and two; the third card also contributes towards winning bets.

If you choose to bet on the ‘small’ option, you win if the total number of cards dealt is 4. This bet tends to pay 1.5/1. If you choose to bet on the ‘big’ option, you’ll win if the total number of cards dealt is 5 or 6, and this bet tends to pay 0.54/1.

Sum Bonus

The sum bonus bet isn’t the most commonly played bet, but it’s available at some online casinos, and some live dealer games offer it as a side bet. This bet wins when the combined value of both the banker’s hand and the player’s hand is either below five or above 14. For example, if the banker’s hand and the player’s hand are over 14, the payout is 1/1. If the total of both hands is under 5, the payout is 2/1, and this payout structure can go all the way up to 50/1!

One of the good things about the Sum Bonus side bet is that it doesn’t matter who has the winning hand, whether it’s a banker win, if the dealer draws a third card, or if you draw a third card; it’s all down to the total number of cards on the table.

Tie Bonus

The tie bonus bet is similar to the main tie bet you can place in baccarat, but it’s slightly different. In addition to paying out if the game is a tie (like conventional tie bets do), this side bet also awards a payout if the bet misses by 1. For example, if you miss by one, you get paid out at 1/1.

However, if you have six cards that tie at 7, you get paid at 10/1. There’s a wide variety of payouts, up to a five-card tie at three, which pays out at 50/1.

Egalite Extra Bonus

This is one of the more unusual side bets you’ll find. While the house edge is relatively high, it offers the biggest payouts at the baccarat table (aside from progressive jackpots), and it’s placed on individual tie bets. You’re generally able to wager on more than one Egalite position, and once all the cards are dealt, unless there’s a tie, this bet is classified as a losing one.

For example, if the individual egalite is 0, the payout is 150/1. If the egalite is 9, the payout is 80/1, with various other payout structures in between.

Tips and Strategies

Of course, baccarat is a casino table game, meaning that the casino will always win in the long run. However, you can do a few things to improve your chances of winning. Below, we look at some of the best ways to increase your chances of winning the game.

Choose The Right Bet Type

There are (generally speaking) three possible bet options in baccarat. You’ve got the banker, the player and the tie bet. The house edge is lowest on the “banker” bet, and the casino has just a 1.06% — that means you get a very good amount of playtime. However, the tie bet has a very high house edge — a whopping 14.4% — so you can see why this is a bet we wouldn’t recommend you play. 

Forget About Systems

While casino systems can help you sometimes win, usually in the short term, in the long run, they’re pandering to what online casinos want you to do; keep betting. A baccarat system is not a proven strategy to win money. If you want to be in with a chance of hitting a big win, you’ll do far better by reading through the game rules and knowing “what’s what” when it comes to playing the game.

Play For Free

If you’re new to baccarat and haven’t quite sussed out how it all works, then you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a way you can play for free. Here at Casinomeister, you’ll be able to view several different Baccarat games. All of these games can be played for free and without you needing to sign up for an account. 

This allows you to get a feel for the game without registering. It also means you can enjoy playing without putting any of your own money at risk, ensuring a smooth, hassle-free and exciting Baccarat experience!

Live Baccarat

Today, one of the most popular ways of playing baccarat online is live baccarat, found at virtually every online casino on the planet. Below, we’re going to look at four of the most popular live baccarat games and how they differ from one another.

Evolution Gaming’s Single Player Baccarat

Evolution Gaming is, by far, the biggest and most well-renowned game developer in the live casino industry, and their live baccarat is hugely popular among players. It’s played with eight decks of cards, and there are no burn cards when a new shoe is brought out, which is quite unusual, both for baccarat at online and land-based casinos.

The game offers a couple of side bets, including the banker/player pair side bet and the banker/player bonus side bets. The deal-to-deal time is 40 seconds; the dealer always draws a third card where a third card would be dealt in a land-based version of the game.

Playtech’s Single Player Baccarat

Playtech is another of the world’s leading software providers, although, unlike Evolution Gaming, they also develop non-live games like video slots and casino table games. Playtech’s baccarat is played with eight decks, and the cards get burned at the beginning of each new shoe; the dealer’s show gets changed when there are two decks left in the shoe.

There are a couple of side bets, including big/small, egalite and banker/player pairs, and the deal to deal time is just 30 seconds, so it’s a good game for those looking for faster gameplay than Evolution Gaming’s version.

Pragmatic Single Player Baccarat

Pragmatic Play has been a relatively well-known game developer for the last few years, and they’re well-known for their video slots, many of which have become some of the most popular in the entire industry. Last year they entered the live casino industry, and their Baccarat game is one of the most popular live dealer games they offer.

It’s played with eight decks, and the cards are burned at the beginning of every new shoe. The side bets include the big/small bet and the super 6 bet, and the game has an average deal-to-deal time of 40 seconds, the same as for Evolution Gaming. 

One noticeable thing about Pragmatic’s version of baccarat is that all bets are returned if a tie occurs; this decreases the house edge and ensures that when the cards are dealt, and it’s a tie, you don’t lose your stake!

LuckyStreak Live Single Player Baccarat

LuckyStreak Live isn’t one of the world’s biggest game developers. However, they’re still fairly popular in the live casino industry, and many players enjoy playing their live dealer games since their user interface is very user-friendly and responsive.

LuckyStreak Live’s Baccarat is played with eight decks, and the shoe is shuffled when three-quarters of the shoe is played. A few side bets are offered, including banker/player pair, big/small and pairs. The average time between games is 40 seconds, the standard for most game developers.


What happens if the banker draws a third card?

One of the most confusing things for new baccarat players is that of the third card; for example, when a third card is drawn, do you have to take a third card? And what happens when the dealer draws a third card? While the rules can vary a little bit depending on the specific game you’re playing, whether or not the banker draws a third card depends both on what they have and what you have.

There are tables online that show you when the dealer will take a third card, which will help you see when they do and when they don’t.

What happens if it’s a tie?

In most baccarat games, only players who’ve bet on the ‘tie’ bet option will win if it’s a tie. Those who’ve bet on the player or banker bets will lose their stake.

Should I play baccarat online?

Yes! Today there are many online casinos offering baccarat. There’s also more game variety than ever before which means you can enjoy playing the game at a stake size you’re comfortable with.

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