Baccarat is one of the simplest casino games on the Web. It’s also very easy to find and excellent value for money – when you know which bets to avoid, that is. Here’s our guide to playing real money baccarat, covering everything from rules and bet types to where you can enjoy the best punto banco games online.
Best online baccarat sites
Best online baccarat games
Though most of them follow the same rules of play, there is a wealth of diverse baccarat options at our top-ranked Australian casino sites. Here are just a few of our favourites.
NetEnt Baccarat Pro – Like all the Net Entertainment Professional Series games, Baccarat Pro and Punto Banco Pro offer superb graphics, smooth browser-based gameplay, and three selectable table limits so you can stake anywhere from $0.10 to $1000 per hand.
Microgaming Baccarat Gold – Inspired by the large-scale punto banco tables of old, Gold Series Baccarat allows you to handle and squeeze the cards as though you’re right there in the flesh. Combine that with flawless presentation, mass availability and a $500 bet limit, and you have one of Microgaming’s most impressive online casino releases to date.
Evolution Gaming VIP Baccarat – If it’s live dealer baccarat you’re after, we highly recommend the real-time tables at Evolution Gaming casinos such as Guts.com and Thrills.com. Live Baccarat VIP, with a $1000 maximum bet, caters especially to the high-stakes casino gamblers out there.
Playboy Live Baccarat – Available at the best Microgaming casinos, the Playboy Baccarat tables rank among the hottest live dealer games on the World Wide Web. Gorgeous ladies and real money gambling streamed in HD to your home – what more could you want?
How to play real money baccarat
The overwhelming majority of Internet baccarat games are based on punto banco, which is played heavily in Australia, Macau, the United States and most other places outside Monaco and France. Its popularity stems from its simplicity, as it only takes seconds to learn.
Punto banco is usually played with six to eight standard decks (with the Jokers removed, of course). Each card carries a point value:
- Ace = one point
- King, Queen, Jack, 10 = zero points
- All other cards = face value (e.g. Nine = nine points)
Nine is the highest possible score. If a hand’s point value reaches double figures, only the second digit is considered (e.g. an Eight and a Seven counts as five points, not 15). Thus, unlike blackjack, a hand can never bust.
As with most other baccarat games, punto banco features two hands: one called ‘player’ (punto) and another called ‘banker’ (banco). The winner is whichever scores the highest. You can bet on either hand to win, or else that both hands will finish on the same score. To do this, you simply move your chips to the appropriate betting box on the baccarat table.
And now you know how to play baccarat – that’s all there is to it. You don’t need to learn any gameplay actions or complex strategies. Just choose your wager, place your chips and let the dealer take care of the rest.
Punto banco drawing rules
Once all bets are down, the croupier will deal two up-cards each to the player and the banker. What happens next depends on the respective hands’ initial scores.
If either hand scores eight or nine points on the initial deal (called a ‘natural’, like a two-card 21 in blackjack), then the hand is over and the result declared. If neither picks up a natural, then the following drawing conditions apply:
– If the player has six or seven points, then the hand stands and no further cards are taken
– If the player has five points or less, then a third card and final card is dealt
– If the player stood with two cards, the banker follows the same rules as above
– If the player took a third card, the croupier acts as per below
|Player’s third card||Banker hits||Banker stands|
|Two or Three||Four points or less||Five, six, or seven points|
|Four or Five||Five points or less||Six or seven points|
|Six or Seven||Six points or less||Seven points|
|Eight||Two points or less||Three points or more|
|Zero, Ace, or Nine||Three points or less||Four points or more|
Baccarat bets and house edge
There are three core bets in Australian baccarat: the player, the banker and the tie. The player pays even money (1 to 1), the banker pays 19 to 20 (even money minus a five per cent commission), and the tie usually pays 8 to 1.
But are any of these options worth the risk, or would you be better off sticking to online blackjack? Here are the house edge figures for a standard eight-deck baccarat game:
- Player bet = 1.24 per cent
- Banker bet = 1.06 per cent
- Tie bet = 14.36 per cent
Returning just under $99 out of every $100 staked, the player and banker wagers are among the best bets in the casino. To put that into perspective, the odds on these two options are roughly the same as playing a regular blackjack games by intuition (i.e. no basic strategy). For a game that requires no skill whatsoever, that’s very good value.
The baccarat tie bet, however, is one of the worst wagers around. The house edge gets even higher when you play with a smaller shoe, rising well above 15 per cent for a single-deck baccarat game. Therefore, as with any side bets that might be on offer, the tie wager is one to avoid if you want to maximise your chances of success.