You've all seen the films – James Bond sitting in a dinner jacket in a swanky European casino, cleaning up at the baccarat tables.
But there are also plenty of thrills and spills to be had in the comfort of your own front room, regardless of whether you're playing baccarat online at an established favorite such as Slots.lv or a recent upstart.
The good news is that in 2018, the casino favorite of the rich and famous can now be enjoyed by you at home and on online, playing for real money.
But how do you play baccarat online, where can you play, and how can you beat the house for everything they've got? Worry no more, we've got you covered on all counts!
Baccarat is a table game played with several decks of cards, kept in a 'shoe'.
Cards are dealt out to the player and the dealer (or 'Banker'), with the goal being to create a hand which has a points total closest to 9, without exceeding it.
Players at the table simply place a bet on the Player, the Banker or the hands ending in a Tie.
The dealer then deals two cards to each side and the winner is the side closest to a total of 9. In some circumstances play may advance to a third card, but never beyond.
Several basic rules determine how to count the score on the cards, so it pays to be up to speed on these rules before starting to play baccarat online for real money.
Picture cards count as zero, and if the total is over 10 then the left-hand digit is dropped. For example, 18 becomes 8 (the 1 is dropped), 16 becomes 6, and so on. Hands worth both 8 and 9 are called "naturals", with 9 beating 8. If the Player hand or the Banker hand has a natural 8 or 9 and the opposing hand has a lower point value, the natural hand wins.
Baccarat rules state that there are certain cases where a third card is dealt.
Let's consider the Player's hand first. If the total of his cards is 5 or less, another card is dealt to him. For the Banker, there are rules too. If his total is 2 he draws another card, no matter what the Player's third card is. If his total is 3, the Banker draws a third card unless the Player's third card is an 8. If he has 4, the Banker draws unless the Player's third card is a 0, 1, 8 or 9. If the Banker has 5, he draws if the Player's third card is 4, 5, 6 or 7. If the Banker has 6, he draws a third card if the Player's third card is 6 or 7. Finally, if the Banker's total is 7, he stands.
It's worth writing these rules down, or making mental notes on them – they will be clearly shown on your screen, but it's still worth remembering them so you can follow the online baccarat action much more clearly.
Previous results will also be shown on the online casino's screen, so if you're superstitious or into betting systems, these may help you decide how to play the next hand.
Betting real money in baccarat gives you three options: you can bet on the Player, the Banker or a Tie. If you bet on the Player and win, you will receive a 1/1 (even money) payout, so a $10 bet would pay back $20 ($10 plus your original $10 stake).
A winning bet on the Banker also pays out even money, but you must pay a 5% commission back to the casino, collected at the end of play. The commission exists because the Banker has a statistical edge over the Player.
Betting on the Tie – although not recommended pays out 8/1. However, this is the least likely of all outcomes.
If the regular real money betting action in baccarat online seems a little skinny, the good news is that many casinos offer an array of side bets to spice things up a bit.
Just click on the relevant button on-screen to place your extra bets. Players can bet on Player Pair, Banker Pair, Perfect Pair, Either Pair, or Big and Small.
The Player Pair and Banker Pair side bets win if the first two cards dealt to the Player and Banker form a pair, e.g. the Banker gets the King of Diamonds, and the Player gets the King of Hearts. The Either Pair wins if the first two cards on either the Banker's or the Player's hand (or both) make a pair. The Perfect Pair, meanwhile, wins if the first two Player's or Banker's cards form a pair of the same suit. The Big wins if the total of the cards dealt to Player and Banker make 5 or 6, while The Small pays out if the total between Players and Banker is 4.
There will be a paytable in your real money online casino with the payout odds of each of these side bets. Side bets are a fun way of keeping the action interesting while you play baccarat online and remember, you don't even have to bet on the main game, you can play purely by betting on side action.
It doesn't take a genius to know that your personal details and funds are of paramount importance when gambling online for real money. After all, who wants their account hacked into and either their information stolen, or worse, their hard-earned winnings?
That's why sticking with only the best, most popular, most trusted, betting sites is the way to a happier online gaming experience. Follow our top links as we only recommend those sites with the proper SSL security procedures in place and eCOGRA auditing.
While we're on the subject of security, you need to know that the baccarat website you're playing on has fair shuffling, above-board Random Number Generators and safe software overall. The very best casinos are independently and regularly audited so that any problems with their encryption and software is solved.
It's only natural that all good casinos want your business, and they will all entice you in with promises of riches. New online baccarat customers will be offered deposit bonuses so you can have a chance of earning some free cash.
Normally, the bonus will be 100 percent up to a certain amount – say, $200 – and it works like this: you deposit your cash with a special promo code, start playing, and once you've 'played through' (win or lose) a certain amount of hands, in a certain timeframe, you will get paid out the bonus – usually in increments. So, for example, let's say you put $200 into an online casino. You play through 16x that amount in the first month of play (standard) and the casino will then pay you $200 totally free.
Don't get starry-eyed about welcome bonuses straight away. They do offer lots of lovely cash, but unless you're seriously going to play through hundreds and hundreds of baccarat online hands in your first few weeks of play, they may not be for you.
Got a problem with your casino connection? Don't understand how that real money deposit bonus works? Suspect that the RNGs may not be so random? Confused about how baccarat online games work?
That's what the customer support team are there for. Every top casino has good customer support, but not every casino is created equal: some casinos online may only have customer service for a few hours a day, they may be available during hours that are totally unsuitable – especially true if the online casino is based on the other side of the world from you – or you find that they're downright unhelpful and unknowledgeable.
By following the top links on our pages, you'll be OK. All our recommended online baccarat websites have great customer support who can help you out with any problems you may have. If a casino has bad customer service, we won't recommend them – it's that simple.
Good online casinos should have a broad range of limits to suit every betting budget. After all, nothing's worse than signing up to your first baccarat casino, only to discover that they only cater for high rollers.
If the thought of ditching the tux, slipping on the bathrobe and playing baccarat online on your laptop sounds good, things have just got better: now you can play anywhere you want on your smartphone or tablet.
Mobile casinos are rising in popularity exponentially, and with the ease which they allow gamblers to play betting games on the move, they're surely set to grow and grow.
Good casinos on your mobile will offer a whole range of games you know and love, and the games will be tailored to fit your screen. So don't worry if that 3.5” touchscreen seems a little small to start with!
You can play mobile baccarat for real money via the casino's downloadable app – available from the App Store for iPhones and iPads or Google Play for Android devices – or by simply playing instant play games. As long as you have a decent Internet connection or good Wi-Fi wherever you are, you shouldn't have any problems.
1. Learn The Rules And Table Layout
OK, this probably goes for most betting games, but start off playing for free first before making a real-money deposit. All of the top casinos we recommend will have play-money versions of baccarat so you can ‘try before you buy.' Get a good feel for the layout of the baccarat table and where bets are supposed to go. You can also access online stats and betting histories at your casino, so make good use of them.
2. Never Bet On A Tie
As a rule, baccarat online casinos offer payouts of 8/1 or 9/1 on a Tie bet, and while this may seem tempting, it rarely happens. Also, the house edge is around 14% on a Tie so steer clear.
3. Know Your Limits
As with all online betting games, set aside a bankroll and never exceed it. Keep track of all your bets (the casino online will have a history tab to enable you to do this), wins and losses. And, of course, if you're having a downswing, know when to turn off the machine and walk away.
4. Forget Card Counting
Card counting is possible – although frowned upon by land-based casinos – in baccarat, just as it is in Blackjack. However, don't think about card counting in online baccarat – the RNGs (Random Number Generators) are far too sophisticated for any patterns to be picked up.
5. Ignore The 'Systems'
There are many betting systems out there for baccarat, but they generally rely on an exponential rise in betting in order to cover any losses, such as the ‘Martingale' betting system where players double their bets in the advent of a losing bet.
OK, so we've covered the baccarat basics for you. What about the different variants of the game you may find at top online casinos in 2018?
Mini baccarat is a smaller version of the popular casino card game, where players can play for smaller stakes and at a smaller table. This makes it perfect for new players or those unfamiliar with the rules.
You can even play mini baccarat live with a real-life dealer calling the shots as in a conventional casino. This is great if you want to learn the ropes and ask plenty of questions while you do it!
The beauty of online casinos in 2018 is that you're not restricted to just playing against a computer dealer.
The live game allows you to play against a real-life croupier sitting in a real-life casino environment, dealing real-life cards for all to see.
In live baccarat online a human croupier, you can see them via the casino's webcam, will deal out the hands and prompt the betting in real-time. This way, when you're dealt either a Player, Banker, or Tie hand, you'll be able to see exactly what's going on and exactly whom you are competing against.
And if you're new to the game, don't worry – you can simply type a question into the chatbox and it will be read by the croupier and answered right away. But don't stop at newbie questions, you can flirt, indulge in some banter, and enjoy your game just as if you were playing in person at a brick 'n' mortar casino.
Live dealer baccarat not only allows you to interact with a real-life croupier, it also means that fans who aren't 100 percent comfortable with computer RNGs can see the cards actually being dealt. Those RNGs are independently audited, of course – and all our top sites will have fair software – but the “human element” is something many players prefer.
Whatever real cash baccarat game you want to play, it's essential to find a good casino online. There's nothing that can sour the fun of Internet gambling quicker than a poor user experience, and that's where we come in.
Use our reviews, scour our top links and you'll find only the very best places to play real money baccarat online. We pick out the best sites for making deposits on, the casinos with the fastest cashout times for your winnings, and the juiciest welcome bonuses - so you can start earning as soon as you start betting.
The total money a player wagers during a baccarat session.
From the Spanish word for 'banker', the Banco is the dealer or player with the show who deals and plays the hands.
From the Spanish word for 'banker', the Banco is the dealer or player with the show who deals and plays the hands
A player's money for playing baccarat with.
The card removed from the deck after each shuffle.
A word for the dealer, who controls the flow of the game.
The French version of baccarat.
Divide the deck in two after the cards have been shuffled.
Depending on whether a baccarate bet wins or loses, your next bet is either increased or decreased.
Place the same bet as in the previous round.
Clear the table of previous bets.
Distribute the cards to the players.
The player acting as banker who also 'deals' the cards and is sometimes called the dealer.
A card dealt face down.
Jack, Queen, King. Which all have a value of zero in baccarat.
A player bets the same amount on each hand of baccarat.
The cards dealt and played during each round of baccarat.
The advantage that the casino has over the players, expressed as a percentage.
A French term for a 'Natural 9'.
An online form of baccarat where you get to play with a real-life croupier via a webcam.
An online version of baccarat using a smaller table than conventional baccarat.
Baccarat games specially tailored to your smartphone or tablet.
An 8 or a 9 that is dealt in the first two cards.
A popular variant of baccarat played in US casinos.
Holds the cards before they're dealt. Can hold up to eight decks of cards.
A card dealt face up.