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 grinding at an established community favorite such as Planet 7 Casino or a recent upstart.
The good news is that in 2017, the casino favorite of the rich and famous can now be enjoyed by you at home and on your computer for real money.
But, how do you play, 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'), and the goal is to create a hand with a points total closest to 9, without exceeding it.
Players at the table simply place a bet on the Player or 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 numbers, so it pays to be up to speed on these rules before playing.
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 9 and 8 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.
There are certain cases where the 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 online casino's screen, but it's still worth remembering them so you can follow the real money betting action much more clearly.
Previous results will also be shown on the screen, so if you're superstitious or into betting systems, these may help you decide how to play the next hand.
Betting real cash 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 (see Tips) – pays out 8/1. However, this is the least likely of all outcomes.
If the regular real money betting action in baccarat seems a little skinny, the good news is that many online 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 for 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 on 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, and remember, you don't even have to bet on the main game, you can play baccarat purely by betting on side action.
Whatever real cash baccarat game you want to play, it's essential to find a good casino online. There's nothing that sucks more than having a crummy Internet betting 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 real money deposits on, the casinos with the fastest cashout times so you can get your hands on your winnings instantly, and the juiciest welcome bonuses so you can start earning as soon as you start playing.
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.
All good casinos want your business – it's only natural – and they will all entice you in with promises of riches. New 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 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?
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 baccarat websites have great customer support where you are to help 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 good range of games and limits to suit every betting budget. After all, nothing's worse than signing up to your first real-money baccarat casino, only to discover that they only cater for high rollers.
We also check that baccarat casinos online offer a decent amount of tables and variations – if any. Player traffic and a high number of games shows that a site is popular, well-run and respectable. Follow the players – if canny gambling fans online are playing there, it should be good enough for you too.
If the thought of ditching the tux, slipping on the bathrobe and playing baccarat on your laptop sounds good, things have just got better: now you can play anywhere you want on your smartphone or tablet.
Real money mobile casinos are rising in popularity exponentially, and the ease with 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 at your favorite casino, 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 casino website via your web browser in instant play games. As long as you have a decent Internet connection and good Wi-Fi wherever you are, you shouldn't have too many 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 online we recommend here 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 online casino – make good use of them.
2. Never Bet On A Tie
As a rule, 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 with which to play with, 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. The ‘Martingale' betting system – where players double their bets in the advent of a losing bet.
OK, so we've covered the real cash Baccarat basics for you. What about the different variants of the game you may find at top online casinos in 2017?
Mini Baccarat is a smaller version of the popular casino card game, where players can play for smaller stakes and at a smaller table, making it perfect for new players or those unfamiliar with the rules of baccarat.
You can even play Mini Baccarat Live with a real-life dealer calling the shots as in conventional Live Baccarat. 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 2017 is that you're not restricted to just playing against a computer dealer in what is effectively a computer game.
Live Baccarat for real money 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 a human croupier – you can see him or her 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 – 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 allays the fears of those Internet gambling fans who aren't 100 percent comfortable with the RNGs used to govern the shuffling of cards in virtual casinos. Those RNGs are independently audited, of course – and all our top links will have great audited software – but the “human element” is something many players prefer.
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.
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