Baccarat is one of the casino’s oldest games and still it remains one of the most popular. In this article, we’ll run through all you need to know so you can approach the table with a swagger like baccarat’s most famous player, James Bond. Better still, we have a specially-curated list of the finest casinos where you can play baccarat poker online for free and real money and experience live dealer tables.
Alongside roulette and blackjack, baccarat forms parts of the ‘Big 3’ of classic casino games. Meaning there is an abundance of casinos where you can play this game. The game is available in virtual format, which uses random number generator (RNG) software, and live dealer tables. Most casinos have one or the other, if not both. But, as mentioned, you don’t need to go searching the internet, as our list has the best lined up for you.
What Is Baccarat Poker?
So what is baccarat poker and how do you play it? To put it simply, it’s a card game where you’re betting which of two hands, the player’s or the dealer’s, gets the closest to 9. It’s usually played with six or eight decks of cards and there are three outcomes:
the player’s hand wins
the dealer’s hand wins
the hand is a tie.
Baccarat Poker Rules
If you’ve never played this game before, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s easy enough to get to grips with. The baccarat poker rules are quite straightforward and they don’t actually require you to do anything at all - the game is played according to set rules, with both hands being acted on according to set rules. There’s no decision-making required of you and all you have to do is simply place your bet and watch as the game proceeds.
In baccarat, the cards are worth different numbers of points. An ace is worth 1, the cards 2-9 are worth their face value and the remaining cards (10, jack, queen and king) are all worth 0. When determining the value of a hand, you add up the individual cards and only count the rightmost digit of that total. Therefore, if you have a 6 and a 7, this would normally count as 13; however, in baccarat, it would count as 3 (since you ignore the leftmost digit, 1, and only count the rightmost one, 3).
First of all, you place your bet. You can choose whether to bet on the player’s hand or the dealer’s - the choice is yours. Once your bet’s been placed, each of these hands receives two cards, with all cards dealt face-up for everyone to see. The total value of each hand is determined. If one hand has an 8 or 9 and the other doesn’t, that hand wins and bets are paid out accordingly - this is called a natural win.
If neither of the two hands has a total of 8 or 9, the player’s hand gets to go first. If the player’s hand totals 6 or 7, they stand (this means they don’t take any more cards). If the player’s hand totals 0-5, their hand gets given a third card. If the player stands, the banker follows the same procedure, i.e. standing on 6-7 and drawing a third card on 0-5.
If the player draws a third card, what the dealer then does is determined by a set of rules. These are laid out in the table below. It lists the different possibilities for the player’s third card and what actions the dealer can then do depending on what the value of the dealer’s own hand is.
Player’s Third Card
Draws on 0-4, stands on 5-7
Draws on 0-5, stands on 6-7
Draws on 0-6, stands on 7
Draws on 0-2, stands on 3-7
9, 10, face card or ace
Draws on 0-3, stands on 4-7
Once the player and the dealer have both acted, the total of their hands is added up and whoever is closest to 9 wins. Ties happen in only around 9.5% of all games. If you don’t count ties, the dealer’s hand has a 52% chance of winning, whereas the player’s has a 48% chance of winning. This is why it’s better to bet on the dealer’s hand winning.
A tie pays out at 8:1 and a player’s hand win at 1:1. As for a dealer’s hand win, this pays out at 0.95:1. Technically, it pays out at 1:1, but you’ll find that most casino’s take a 5% commission.
Baccarat Poker Bonus
Online casinos are always keen to reward you with bonuses, whether it’s free spins for signing up or cashback for staying loyal to the casino. There are plenty of baccarat poker bonuses you can claim and these are mostly deposit bonuses. The way these bonuses work is as follows: you make a deposit and a percentage of that deposit is added to your account as bonus money.
For example, let’s say a casino’s advertising a 100% deposit bonus of up to £100. You deposit £10 and receive 100% of it back as bonus money. You therefore have £10 in real money and £10 in bonus money, for a total of £20 to play with. For this particular offer, the highest amount of bonus money you can claim is £100, even if your deposit is more than that.
Bonus money can usually be used on all of a casino’s games, including its baccarat games. It’s worth taking advantage of these bonuses - it is free money to spend, after all - though there’s nearly always a catch: the wagering requirement. This is the amount you must wager before the bonus money and winnings from it can be withdrawn. It pays to check this is advance so you know exactly what the requirement is. You can then decide if the bonus is worth accepting.
Play Baccarat Poker Online
So, if this game sounds appealing to you, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of baccarat poker casinos where you can play the game for real money. Most casinos let you play the game for free as well, so you can get some practice in before you starting risking your own money. It’s one of the most popular table games and you’ll find that most casinos have at least one baccarat game available; many have both animated and live versions ranging from low limit to high stakes tables waiting to be played.