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Baccarat - The complete guide

Bojoko helps you learn to play baccarat. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about this classic casino table game, including:

What makes this baccarat guide worth your time?

We cut straight to the chase and show you what you need to know about baccarat card game. This guide is peppered with:

Unlike most online baccarat guides out there, we don't just scratch the surface. With this guide, you'll be ready to hit the real baccarat tables, both online and at your local casino.

In addition, you can also check out our in-depth guides to:

PART 1:

How to play baccarat?

Baccarat is a simple card game that is easy to learn. Behind the rituals, french terms, superstition and seemingly difficult third card rules lies a super straightforward concept: guess who gets a better hand. Choose correctly and double your money. In this section, we walk you through the basics and explain how baccarat works.

What is baccarat?

Baccarat is a gambling game played with one or more standard 52-card decks. The most common baccarat version is called Punto Banco.

There are two main betting possibilities: the Player and the Banker. Your job is to guess which of these wins the next hand.

Just to be clear: you can bet on either the Player or the Banker. This is not blackjack where you're automatically betting on the Player.

Baccarat rules

  • You can bet on either Player or Banker to win the next round
  • The dealer will deal out two cards to both the Player and Banker positions
  • In some situations, the dealer will draw a third card to either or both hands
  • Card values: A=1, 2-9 = 2-9, 10-K = 0
  • When calculating the total value of the hand, you only count the last digit, i.e. 15 counts as 5.
  • The hand closest to 9 wins the round
  • A winning Player bet pays 1:1, i.e. you double your money
  • A winning Banker bet pays 0.95:1, i.e. you double your money but the casino charges a 5% commission
  • If there's a tie, you get your bet back

See also:

Example round of baccarat

First, you place your bets on either the Player hand or the Banker hand. You can also bet on a Tie, but it's a sucker bet and we recommend steering away from it.

Next, the dealer draws 4 cards face open: two for the Player hand, two for the Banker.

If either the Player or Banker has a hand with a value of 8 or 9, the round ends and the higher hand wins. This is known as a "natural".

However, if neither hand had a 8 or 9, the dealer draws more cards according to preset rules. After the cards are drawn, the highest hand wins.

If you did bet on the winning hand, you win 1:1, i.e. you double your money.

Card values

In baccarat, the hand values are as follows:

  • A = 1
  • 2-9 = pip value 2-9
  • 10, J, Q, K = 0

When you calculate the total value of a baccarat hand, you only count the last digit, i.e. you ignore the tens.

EXAMPLE: 7+7 counts as 4 instead of 14. 7+7+7 counts as 1 instead of 21.

Baccarat third card drawing rules

This is probably the most confusing thing about baccarat. Sometimes, you only draw two cards to the Player and two cards to the Banker, and that's it. However, there are situations when either or both hands get a third card. We explain these below.

You don't need to know the third card rules by heart. The dealer draws the cards and you can just trust that they know what they're doing. If you are unsure of whether or not a specific hand should get a third card, you can ask.

Natural

If either the initial Player hand or the Banker hand totals 8 or 9, this is known as a natural. Neither hand gets a third card. The hand closest to 9 wins.

Player gets a third card

Extra card rules for the Player hand are very straightforward:

  • If either the Player or the Banker has a natural (8 or 9), neither gets more cards
  • Player stands on 6 or 7
  • Player draws on any hand from 0 to 5

Banker's third card rules

The third card rules for the Banker hand are a bit more complicated. You'll need to take into account whether the Player gets another card, the value of the Banker hand and the value of the Player's this card. Here's how it works:

  • If the Player stands, the Banker gets another card if their hand is between 0 and 5
  • If the Player draws a third card, the Banker may get a third card too

This depends on the Banker hand and the value of the Player's third card, not the total value of the Player hand.

Baccarat banker third card rules

Payouts

In the standard Punto Banco version of baccarat, there are three possible bets, outcomes and payouts:

We look at the mechanics of each baccarat bet below.

Baccarat payouts

Player bet

Player bet is the most straightforward bet in baccarat.

  • Win. If the Player hand beats the Banker hand, you get back 2 chips for every chip you bet.
  • Lose. If the Banker beats the Player, you lose your bet.
  • Tie. If both hands end up with the same value, you get your stake back.

The house edge of c.a. 1.24% for the Player bet is fairly slim. It equals an RTP (return to player) of 98.76%, roughly the same as French roulette.

Banker bet

Banker bet is pretty much the same as the Player bet. However, the Banker hand has a slight advantage compared to the Player. That's why a 5% commission is deducted from all the winning Banker bets. So instead of paying 1:1, the Banker win pays 0.95:1.

  • Win. If the Banker hand beats the Player hand, you get back 2 chips for every chip you bet, minus a 5% commission.
  • Lose. If the Player beats the Banker, you lose your bet.
  • Tie. If both hands end up with the same value, you get your stake back.

Despite the commission, the Banker hand is still your best bet in baccarat. With a house edge of only 1.06%, it offers a generous RTP of 98.94%. The only games with comparable odds are blackjack and video poker - both requiring some skill.

Tie bet

Since a Tie results in returning the stakes for both Player and Banker bets, the Tie bet is not technically part of the main game. However, this side bet is available at most baccarat tables. That's why it's important to explain how it works and why you should avoid playing it.

  • Win. If both hands end up with the same value, your Tie bet pays 8:1.
  • Lose. If either the Player or the Banker wins, you lose your Tie bet.

This doesn't sound so bad unless you know the odds. On average, the Player and Banker bets return almost 99¢ for every dollar bet. Not so for the Tie bet. The house edge is a massive 14.36%, resulting in a return rate of 85.64%.

Obviously, the high payout of 8:1 is tempting, but that's just the point: to lure suckers in. An experienced player avoids the Tie bet like a plague and sticks to the Banker bet which offers the best odds.

Baccarat odds & house edge

Each bet in baccarat has slightly different payouts. The Banker is your best bet, closely followed by the Player bet. We recommend skipping the Tie bet.

Below, you'll find a breakdown of the payouts, odds and house edge for each bet type in a standard Punto Banco baccarat game:

Baccarat odds

FAQ - Basics

What does baccarat mean?

Baccarat is the name of a casino card game. Where the word comes from isn't exactly clear. It can refer to a French town of Baccarat. Its name in turn could be interpreted as coming from Latin "Bacchi ara" or altar of Bacchus. Bacchus is the Roman version of Dionysus, the god of wine, theater, insanity and many other things.

Many sources also say "baccara" is Italian for "zero" or "nothing" and that a French spelling with a "t" at the end was later adopted worldwide. Thematically, this would make sense. The picture cards are worth 0 in baccarat.

How do you play baccarat?

You bet on one of three outcomes: Player win, Banker win or Tie.

The dealer draws the cards for each betting position according to the preset rules. The hand with the total value closest to 9 wins.

  • The Player bet pays 1:1.
  • The Banker bet pays 0.95:1
  • The Tie bet pays 8:1

See also:

What is the best hand in baccarat?

A natural 9 is the highest score in baccarat. The hand closest to 9 wins the round.

If the hand you're betting on gets a total value of 8 or 9 with the initial two cards, this is known as a natural. No new cards are drawn.

See also: Card values

How many cards can you draw in baccarat?

At the start of the round, both the Player and Banker hands get 2 cards each. Both the Player hand and the Banker hand may get a third card.

The third card rules in baccarat are a bit tricky. We explain them in detail in the section When does the dealer draw more cards?

Can I play more than one spot in baccarat?

Not really. There are only two hands dealt: one for the Player position and one for the Banker. However, you can choose between these two. Unlike in blackjack, you don't automatically bet on the Payer. Actually, the Banker bet has a slimmer house edge, so we recommend sticking to that.

What are the odds of winning in baccarat?

That depends on your bet. The odds of winning the at any given round are

  • 44.62% for the Player bet, pays 1:1
  • 45.86% for the Banker bet, pays 0.95:1
  • 9.52% for the Tie bet, pay 8:1

Of these, the Banker bet has the best return to player: 98.94%

See also: Baccarat odds

Why is baccarat so popular?

We think there are 5 main reasons for this:

  • There's no skill element so it's a beginner-friendly game
  • The house edge is very low
  • It has a reputation as a high-roller game that is played with big bucks
  • The game is surrounded by rituals and superstition
  • Up to 1995, it was the go-to game of James Bond

Who invented baccarat?

Baccarat is an old game and its exact origin is not clear. In its article about the history of baccarat, Crescent School of Gaming and Bartending mentions Felix Falguiere or Falguierein as the inventor of baccarat. Falguiere lived in Italy in the 15th century.

According to the Crescent article, the game is based on an old Etruscan legend In it, a throw of a 9-sided die determined the fate of a virgin aspiring to become a priestess. 8 or 9 would let her in, 6 or 7 would cut her out of any future religious events, and anything below that she'd end up banished to the sea.

In his comprehensive book on the history of gambling, David G. Schwartz explains how baccarat originated in Italy and spread to France during the reign of Louis XIV (1643 - 1715). It was a favorite game of the nobility, but also found in illegal gambling houses. It survived the gambling bans of the mid 1800s and made its way to the new casinos of French Riviera. From there, baccarat made its way both to the English and French speaking countries around the world.

Is baccarat dangerous?

Baccarat is a form of gambling, so it has its risks. However, it's not any riskier than other casino games, arguably less so.

From the player's point of view, it gives you much better odds of winning than e.g. slot machines. However, the minimum bets at brick-and-mortar casinos' baccarat tables are often out of reach for penny slot fans.

The potential payouts in baccarat are comparatively modest. By sticking to Player and Banker bets, you can only double what you wagered each round. Since the outcome of the game is usually a fairly steady alternation between wins and losses, the volatility of baccarat is quite low.

Is baccarat rigged?

From the casino's point of view, baccarat is a hard game to rig. That would require pre-arranging the cards and forcing players to bet in a certain way. As long as the dealer is drawing the top card of the deck, we'd say you don't have to worry about baccarat being rigged.

On our Baccarat strategies page, we also look at how players have tried to cheat the casino in baccarat.

Is baccarat a good game for beginners?

Absolutely. It has a razor-thin house edge of 1.06%. This means on average, you win back NZ$98.84 for every NZ$100 you put on the table.

In addition, there's no skill element. You just have to decide whether to bet on Player or Banker. The results are completely random and the Banker hand has a slightly better chance of winning. So on average, you'll be better off betting on the Banker.

Is there any skill in baccarat?

No. It's all random. Betting strategies or studying baccarat charts doesn't improve your chances of winning. However, they can make playing more interesting.

Can I play baccarat for free?

Yes. Many New Zealand online casinos and their game suppliers let you try baccarat in demo mode to get the hang of the game. This way, you'll know how the game works when you want to play it with real money. In addition, some no deposit bonuses also let you use the bonus funds in baccarat. We explain this in more detail on the Free baccarat page.

What is a commission?

Commission is the 5% fee the casino charges on all Banker wins on most baccarat versions. The Banker hand has slightly better odds of winning, so the casino adjusts for this with the commission. Otherwise, everyone would always bet on the Banker and win more often than not. Then the casino wouldn't be able to make money and run the game.

At online casinos, commission is deducted automatically from all winning Banker hands. In the Brick-and-mortar baccarat section, we explain how commission works at physical casinos.

See also: No-commission baccarat

PART 2:

Baccarat online

Online casinos offer a great variety of baccarat for every budget and preference. Try a completely digital version starting with only 10¢ per hand. Alternatively, you can enjoy the authentic casino experience at live dealer baccarat tables and bet up to NZ$20,000. In addition, online baccarat offers many different versions of the game. At some casinos, you can also get bonuses to use in baccarat. In this section, we explain how it all works.

What is online baccarat?

Online baccarat is a baccarat version you can play at an online casino. There are several variants available, the most popular being Punto Banco.

Why play baccarat online?

  • Available 24/7
  • No need to leave your home
  • Play on any device, including mobile
  • Lower table minimums, starting at 10¢
  • High table maximums, up to NZ$20,000
  • Many tables to choose from

Best casinos to play online baccarat

Most New Zealand online casinos offer at least some options for playing baccarat. You can usually find a selection of live dealer tables from Evolution, Ezugi or both. In addition, there's usually at least one RNG baccarat to get the hang of the game at your own pace.

Below, you'll find a list of the best baccarat casinos in New Zealand:

Baccarat apps

There's a lot of downloadable and browser-based baccarat software available online. Separating the best from the rest isn't easy.

Besides, baccarat isn't a skill-based game. Instead, you try to guess the outcome of the next hand and bet on the winner. It's like playing rock paper scissors for fun. If there's no skin in the game and the outcomes are totally random, it can get repetitive very quickly. Just saying.

How to play baccarat online for real money?

Find a casino

Bojoko helps you find online casinos where you can play baccarat. Here's how:

Use our selection tool to find the sort of casinos that interest you. Apply quick filters to see baccarat casinos, baccarat bonuses etc.

Once you've found a site that seems worth your time, you can read casino reviews to see what other players have said about it. On Bojoko, each site has been tested by an experienced casino expert. This test includes a real money deposit and withdrawal to make sure you too can get your money out.

In addition, every registered member of Bojoko can leave their comments and rate casinos.

Not a member yet? Sign up for free!

Sign up

The easiest way to enter the casino is using one of our green PLAY HERE buttons. If the casino has a special deal for Bojoko users, you can usually see this offer on the landing page.

Next, you need to create an account. It's just a matter of filling in some basic details. The info asked varies a bit but usually includes your:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email

In addition, you'll need to set up a password. You may also need to confirm your email by clicking on the link sent to your inbox.

Get a no deposit bonus

Many casinos give you a signup bonus just for creating a player account. These bonuses let you try the casino and its games with bonus money before you risk your own.

Unfortunately, baccarat is often on the list of restricted games for these bonuses. However, grabbing the signup bonus doesn't hurt: you can use it to explore what else the casino has to offer.

In our casino reviews, you can easily see what kind of signup bonus each casino offers and what hoops you'll need to jump through before it's credited to your account. For example, some require a special no deposit bonus code.

We explain this in more detail on our No deposit bonuses page.

Deposit money

Once you have a casino account, it's time to top it up with money before hitting the tables.

Online casinos usually put the deposit buttons on very prominent places on each page. This will take you to the banking section of the casino.

Next, you'll need to choose your deposit method. On the banking page, you'll see more information about each available option. Make sure you pick one that:

  • You're already familiar with
  • Also supports withdrawals
  • Has low or no processing fees
  • Has deposit and withdrawal limits suiting your budget

Once you've picked a method, choose how much you want to deposit. Then you'll click on the DEPOSIT button and follow the instructions on the screen. The exact steps vary between banking methods. After that, the money should appear on your players account.

When making a deposit, you also have the option to accept or decline a deposit bonus. We explain this in more detail below.

Grab a deposit bonus

When you're on the deposit page, the casino usually offers you a deposit bonus. You can either take it or leave it. Just remember that casinos only offer the best deals on your first deposit and you usually cannot apply them for the subsequent deposits.

If you want to take advantage of the bonus deal, make sure you read at least the key terms. You'll need to understand how the bonus works and what you need to do to get it. For example, you need to deposit a certain minimum amount to unlock the bonus.

This is explained in the terms and conditions, but the info may be quite technical legalese. We recommend checking out our casino reviews too. There, our casino experts walk you through the process using layman's terms.

We also recommend reading the Baccarat bonuses section of this chapter. It'll help you understand the most common limitations specific to playing baccarat with bonus money.

Find baccarat games

At online casinos, baccarat games can usually be found at one or both of the following sections:

  • Table games
  • Live dealer

At the table games section, you'll find baccarat games powered by a random number generator or an RNG for short.

At the live dealer section, there are baccarat tables run by real human dealers.

In RNG baccarat, there usually aren't many versions to choose from. It's usually just Punto Banco without side bets. In live dealer baccarat, you have more options.

Play baccarat

Once you've chosen a game you like, it's time to play it.

First, you'll need to select a chip denomination. Depending on the table, your chip size can be anything from 10¢ to thousands of bucks.

Then you just click on the betting area to place your chips on either Player or Banker. Some versions also support a wide variety of side bets.

In RNG baccarat, you'll need to hit the DEAL button to resolve the round.

In live dealer baccarat, the dealer calls "no more bets" once the timer runs out and deals out the cards.

Once the round is over, losing bets are removed from the table and winnings are paid out automatically. Possible commissions are also deducted automatically from winning Banker hands.

Withdraw your winnings

When you want to withdraw your winnings or take out your remaining deposit, head to the withdrawals section. Finding it may not be as easy as hitting the deposit page, but it's usually somewhere in the user menu.

For withdrawals, you'll need to use the same method you used for making the deposit. If this method doesn't support withdrawals, you'll need to verify one that does.

How to verify a method for withdrawals? Make a deposit. We know, it hardly seems fair. However, this is to protect casinos from fraud and money laundering. That's also why we recommend using a method that supports withdrawals in the first place.

Once you have your chosen banking method, select a withdrawal sum. Many casinos have minimum withdrawal sums. This is usually the threshold for FREE withdrawals: if you're trying to withdraw a smaller amount, the casino will charge you exorbitant handling fees. Alternatively, you may not be able to get that small sum out at all.

We recommend keeping your eye on your real money balance and making sure to either withdraw it before it goes below the minimum withdrawal limit or being prepared to risk it all.

Alternatively, you can make another deposit, wager it once and then withdraw your remaining balance.

Once the casino has processed your withdrawal request, the money should appear on your chosen banking method in a matter of hours or days. The exact time depends on the banking method itself.

RNG baccarat

RNG (Random number generator) baccarat is a completely digital baccarat version: in contrast to live dealer baccarat, there's no human dealer.

RNG baccarat is powered by a computer algorithm called a random number generator. Its job is to produce fair, unpredictable results. In provinces with legalized online gambling, every game that runs on an RNG is checked by the region's gambling officials to make sure everything is above board.

IN RNG baccarat, there's no dealer or any other interaction with real humans. You just click on the screen to place bets and click on the DEAL button. The software takes care of the rest and automatically pays out the winnings.

Most online casinos feature one or more RNG baccarat. These can usually be found at the table games section of online casinos.

RNG baccarat

RNG baccarat game suppliers

Many online casino game suppliers offer at least some version of baccarat. Since Kiwis get to enjoy so many different casinos, the selection differs between them a lot.

Most suppliers offer a simple, no-frills baccarat experience without any side bets or elaborate scorecards. Instead, they feature just the core functions of the game in an easy-to-use format.

Here are the RNG baccarat suppliers found at many online casinos:

  • NetEnt
  • IGT
  • Roxor Gaming

In addition, some casinos have their in-house baccarat versions.

Live baccarat

In live dealer baccarat, the game is dealt by a real human dealer, not the computer. You can find live baccarat at most online casinos.

In the live casino lobby of your chosen online casino, there are usually many different baccarat tables you can join. Before entering, you can often see the table limits and the scorecard (e.g. bead road).

To play live baccarat, you simply choose your chip denomination, place your bets on Player or Banker and wait for the round to end.

Live dealer baccarat

How does live dealer baccarat work?

After each round, players have c.a. 15 seconds to place their bets before the next round starts.

The dealer has a pre-shuffled card shoe of 6 to 8 decks. She (practically all live baccarat dealers are women) slides the cards from the shoe face down and swipes them over an optical scanner.

Each card has a QR code. This way, the computer knows which cards are drawn, even before they're turned over.

In standard baccarat and speed baccarat, the dealer turns the cards over for both Player and Banker hands. If the rules require the dealer to draw more cards for either hand, she does so.

After all cards are dealt, the dealer calls out the winner, discards the cards and waits for the next round to start. The winnings are paid directly to your player account and the Banker bet commissions are deducted automatically.

Live baccarat suppliers

In the New Zealand live casino market, there are two major players: Evolution and Ezugi. Many casinos feature live dealer tables from both brands. Below, we look at what they have to offer to baccarat fans.

Evolution baccarat

Evolution is the leading global live casino provider, and it has secured a foothold in New Zealand too. Evolution offers several different live baccarat versions, and there are usually over a dozen tables running simultaneously.

At Evolution baccarat lobby, you can find the following variations:

  • Baccarat
  • Speed baccarat
  • Baccarat squeeze
  • Lightning baccarat
  • No commission baccarat
  • Salon privé baccarat (high stakes)
  • Dragon Tiger

We explain these in more detail in the Baccarat versions section.

At Evolution baccarat, the table limits start at NZ$1 per hand and go up to NZ$2,500 for standard tables and tens of thousands for the Salon Privé. Unfortunately, we didn't have the required minimum of NZ$15,000 on our player account to enter the Salon Privé, so we couldn't personally check the exact limits.

Ezugi baccarat

Ezugi is a live casino company with a long history at New Zealand online casinos. It was bought by Evolution in 2018. Ezugi's baccarat selection includes the following versions:

  • Baccarat
  • Knockout Baccarat
  • Super 6
  • Dragon Bonus
  • Dragon Tiger

Play baccarat on mobile

Nowadays, all online baccarat versions are optimized both for desktop and mobile. All games are done with HTML5, meaning they should run on any device.

You can play RNG baccarat and enter the live dealer tables directly on your desktop browser. There's no need to download a separate casino app or baccarat software.

If your mobile internet connection is choppy, we recommend finding high quality wi-fi to play at the live dealer baccarat tables. Otherwise, the quality of the stream may be on the low side.

Baccarat bonuses online

Most New Zealand casinos offer online casino bonuses and you can use some of them for baccarat as well. However, every bonus can't be wagered in baccarat, so you need to pay attention when choosing your boost.

Below, we look at how these bonuses work and which options are available.

Wagering rules limit the use of bonuses in baccarat

Table games such as baccarat are often excluded from standard casino bonuses. This is because baccarat has a very low house edge, meaning that it doesn't make that much money for the casino. That's why the online casino industry has created bonus terms that significantly limit playing baccarat with bonus funds.

Practically all casino bonuses have a wagering requirement, also known as rollover or turnover. The idea is that players actually use the bonus money to try the games instead of just cashing it out.

The wagering requirement tells you how many times you have to bet the bonus before it turns into cash you can withdraw.

The bonus terms include a few different approaches for limiting baccarat:

  • Completely forbidden. Playing baccarat and other table games breaks the rules and the casino can confiscate your remaining bonus balance.
  • Not contributing. You can play baccarat but these bets don't help you meet the wagering requirements.
  • Partially contributing. The baccarat bets only contribute 5% or 10% of their actual value. For example, a 5% contribution means only 5¢ for every dollar bet goes towards wagering.

We explain the bonus wagering requirements and other significant terms in more detail on our Casino bonus page.

Play baccarat with a live casino bonus

Live casino bonuses are a great choice for baccarat fans. Sure, the bonus sums and percentages may be lower and wagering requirements higher, than in "standard" welcome bonuses. However, live casino bonuses have one huge advantage: contribution percentage.

When wagering a standard bonus, every dollar bet in baccarat only counts as 5¢ or 10¢, depending on the contribution percentage. However, in a live casino bonus, playing baccarat contributes 100% towards meeting the wagering requirements. This means that you have a better chance of meeting the wagering goal and turning those bonus funds into cash you can withdraw.

Since a vast majority of online casino players head straight for the slots, live casino bonus isn't the standard welcome bonus of the casino. If the site has a dedicated live casino bonus, it can usually be found at the promotions section of the casino.

On the Live dealer casino page, you'll see how a live casino bonus fares against a "regular" welcome bonus. On the Deposit bonuses page, we show you how to calculate the value of each bonus.

FAQ - Online baccarat

Where to play baccarat online?

Practically every online casino in New Zealand offers at least some way to play baccarat. However, the best ones feature one or more RNG baccarats plus live dealer baccarat tables from the leading providers.

Check out the baccarat casino list to pick the ones that suit your taste.

Can you win real money playing baccarat online?

Absolutely. In baccarat, the house edge is very low and you're almost as likely to win as you are to lose. If the cards land your way, you may end up winning nice sums of real money. At legal, regulated New Zealand online casinos, getting your winnings out is not a problem.

Can I get a bonus for baccarat?

At some casinos, yes. However, using bonus money for playing baccarat can be a bit tricky. We recommend reading the Baccarat bonuses section of this chapter and always carefully checking the fine print of the bonus.

Can I play live baccarat on mobile?

Yes. Both the leading New Zealand live dealer suppliers Evolution and Ezugi have optimized all their tables for desktop and mobile alike. The controls are intuitive and simple enough to use on the small screen. However, we recommend using a high quality wi-fi connection as the live casino stream takes more bandwidth than slots.

Is it safe to play baccarat online?

Yes, as long as you're playing at regulated New Zealand online casinos and following responsible gambling practices. On Bojoko, you'll only find licensed online casinos.

PART 3:

Baccarat at brick-and-mortar casinos

Forget everything you've seen in James Bond movies. Playing baccarat at land-based casinos is beginner-friendly and you don't have to risk a small fortune to get the games going. In this section, we show you how to play baccarat at a brick-and-mortar casino and how to blend in.

Why play baccarat at casinos?

Baccarat has a reputation for an exclusive game reserved for high rollers. With an image of mysterious rituals, high table limits and French terms, it's a game many players find too daunting to try.

However, this image of baccarat is outdated. At modern brick-and-mortar casinos, playing baccarat is no more mystifying than roulette, craps or blackjack.

The house edge is razor-thin and there's no skill involved. This makes it a perfect choice for beginners. In addition, you can find mini baccarat tables with a NZ$10 minimum, a normal starting bet for most casino table games.

How to choose a baccarat table?

Brick-and-mortar casinos have three slightly different approaches to offering baccarat: mini baccarat, midi baccarat and full baccarat. Although the game rules and payouts are the same, the dealing procedure and table layouts differ slightly. Below, we look at these in more detail.

Mini baccarat tables

Mini baccarat tables are usually found on the casino floor, together with blackjack and roulette. These half-circle tables seat up to 8 players and are run by a single dealer.

The minimum bets in "mini bacc" tend to be relatively low, starting at NZ$10 or NZ$25.

In mini baccarat, the players never touch the cards. After you place your bets on the Player hand, Banker hand or any available side bets, you just sit back and let the dealer do the magic.

Midi baccarat tables

Midi baccarat is played at similar half-moon tables as mini baccarat. The key differences compared to the mini version are that:

  • Minimum stakes are higher, often starting at NZ$100
  • Players can touch or "squeeze" the cards before they're dealt

We explain squeezing in more detail below.

Full baccarat tables

The full baccarat tables have become somewhat of a rarity these days. Running them is labor intensive and they take up a lot of space. That's why you can usually find the full baccarat only at the biggest casinos in Las Vegas.

If the casino offers full baccarat, these tables can be found in a separate baccarat pit. There are a total of 3 dealers running the show and the tables seat up 15 players.

The table is shaped a bit like a barbell with player seats at each end and the dealer spaces in the middle.

Other than the table layout, the procedure is the same as in midi baccarat, including the squeezing. In full baccarat, the minimum bets are often even higher than the midi version. However, this varies between casinos.

Full baccarat table layout

What is "squeezing"?

In midi and full baccarat versions, the dealer lets the highest betting player at the table touch the two top cards before they're dealt to the Player hand. The player can view, touch, bend and fold the cards before handing them back to the dealer. Some players even like to rip or tear the cards, although not all casinos allow this.

Squeezing is a mix of ritual, superstition, wishful thinking and maximizing the excitement at the table. It doesn't actually change the result of the round, but adds more suspense and makes the game more entertaining.

Sure, squeezing slows down the game, but the casino compensates for the lost time by higher table minimums. If the players are betting thousands of dollars per hand and having a good time, the casino can afford to wait a little to let the game unfold.

Many players who squeeze the cards start by folding the edge of the short side of the card and counting the "pips''. Then they rotate it 90 degrees, fold the edge and count the pips on the long side. This way, they heighten the suspense and delay the result of each hand.

By looking at the long edge of the card, you get only some info of the value of the card:

  • No pips: A, 2 or 3
  • 2 pips: 4 or 5
  • 3 pips: 6, 7 or 8
  • 4 pips: 9 or 10
  • Rectangular line: a face card, a.k.a "monkey"

Since the cards get wrinkled or completely destroyed in the squeezing process, they cannot be reused. However, casinos collect the cards, mark each deck with the date, and store them for a long time before the cards are ultimately destroyed. In addition, all of this happens under video surveillance. This way, the casino has a record of fair play in case of complaints.

Chips

At brick-and-mortar casinos, you play baccarat with casino chips instead of cash money. You can get chips at the cashier's cage or buy them at the table.

Remember to lay your money on the table instead of handing it to the dealer directly. The dealer then counts out your money out loud and places your chips on the table. Now you're ready to play.

Keep your chips in neat stacks. When placing bets, slide your chips on the felt to the correct betting area.

If you have a stack of chips with different denominations, put the highest denomination chips on the bottom of the stack.

If you win, don't touch your chips before the dealer has finished handing out all the winnings of the round.

Commission at brick-and-mortar casinos

The Banker bet in baccarat has slightly better odds than the Player hand. The casino compensates for this imbalance by deducting a 5% commission from all Banker winnings. Whereas the Player bet pays 1:1, the Banker bet only pays 0.95:1.

Handing you 95 bucks in chips every time you win a NZ$100 hand quickly becomes fiddly. That's why brick-and-mortar casinos have a better system for this.

Every player seat is numbered, and in front of the dealer there's a grid of corresponding numbers. If you win with a Banker hand, you get your winnings initially in full. However, the dealer puts 5% of your winning sum on your seat number. Everything on that number is money you owe to the casino. You pay it once you're ready to leave the table.

Alternatively, you can play a no-commission baccarat version, such as EZ baccarat. In these baccarat variants, the banker bet pays the full 1:1. However, with certain winning banker hands (e.g. a 3-card 7 in EZ baccarat) the payout is only 0.5:1. There's always a side bet to cover such occurrences, though.

Scorecards

Casinos hand out pens and slips of papers to baccarat players so they can keep track of the results of each hand. In addition, many tables have electronic score cards to show every winning hand played after the start of the new shoe.

If you tried to keep track like this at blackjack tables, you'd be escorted out in no time. However, in baccarat there's no point in counting cards. Even after a long winning streak of either Player or Banker hands, the odds are still pretty much 50:50 for the next deal.

This line of reasoning hasn't stopped players from devising systems to keep track of previous results in the hopes of predicting future trends. We explore these in more detail on the Baccarat chart page.

Baccarat etiquette

Dress code

Most of the brick-and-mortar casinos aren't very strict when it comes to dress codes.

Some establishments may not have any dress code at all. Others may ask you to go and change into something more appropriate, if you try to enter in flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt. In some, the staff only starts to enforce the dress code around dinner time.

If you want to make sure your attire doesn't draw unwanted attention, smart casual goes a long way. For gents, this means:

  • Nice shoes (not sneakers or sandals)
  • Straight pants
  • Buttoned shirt with long sleeves (t-shirt should be fine with a dinner jacket)
  • Ties and dinner jackets are optional

For ladies, the rules are more flexible. However, you never go wrong with a little black dress.

Entering the table

In Chinese culture, the number 4 is bad luck. That's why many mini baccarat tables lack the seat number 4. Full baccarat tables may also be missing 13 and 14. Number 8 is lucky and that seat is usually busy.

Avoid entering a table when the cards are dealt. You can quietly take your seat, but don't start exchanging chips or placing bets in the middle of the game. Wait for the round to finish.

Once you enter the table, say hello to everyone and introduce yourself. Be nice, talk to people and have a good time.

Being considerate to other players

This goes for all casino games: don't be a jerk. Here are some basic rules:

  • Don't eat at the table
  • Don't spill your drink
  • If the table is non-smoking, don't smoke
  • If the table is in the smoking section, don't blow smoke towards anyone
  • Keep your phone in your pocket
  • Give other players enough space
  • Don't delay the game

Betting socially

Baccarat is often a social game. Many players enjoy the camaraderie of the game and prefer to win together.

The highest betting player at the table usually sets the pace. Especially in midi and full baccarat, where the highest bettor is allowed to "squeeze" the cards, these players have a big role.

It's OK to discuss the possible outcomes or trends, and even to disagree. Everyone makes their own decisions when placing bets.

However, others usually bet with the highrollers, not against them. Going against the grain is not exactly frowned upon, but still better not make it into a spectacle.

Tipping

At brick-and-mortar casinos, tipping is a thing you need to take into consideration. Depending on where you go, you might be expected to tip, or tipping can even be frowned upon. In Australia, you never tip at a casino, but things are different especially if you visit the US. In Vegas for example, you need to remember to tip the dealer and the waitstaff bringing your drinks, no matter whether you win or lose.

You're free to decide the amount of tips yourself, but a normal sums would be around:

To the dealer:

  • 5% of big wins
  • $5 to $10 for every hour played

To the waitstaff:

  • $1 per drink

FAQ - Brick-and-mortar baccarat

Is baccarat a good game to play at brick-and-mortar casinos?

Absolutely, one of the best. At 1.06%, the house edge is on par with blackjack played with optimal strategy. However, there's no skill element in baccarat, so it's a beginner-friendly choice too.

In addition, the table limits are comparable to other major games. You can find mini baccarat tables starting at NZ$10 per hand.

How do you deal baccarat?

In baccarat, the dealer does all the work; the players just need to place their bets.

Compared to roulette and blackjack, the baccarat dealer has to remember some tricky 3rd card drawing rules.

Becoming a baccarat dealer requires a good math and people skills. If you are lucky and can visit the US, there are schools that specialize in gambling industry education. Especially in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, you have a lot of gambling academies to choose from. For example, at Atlantic Cape Community College, the baccarat dealer training takes around 6 months and costs c.a. NZ$500.

PART 4:

Baccarat versions and side bets

Baccarat is a centuries old game and as a result, it has evolved into many different versions. The standard version found at most online and brick-and-mortar casinos is Punto Banco. However, there are many older versions of the game, plus a lot of new variations. Here, we cover them all, plus the different side bets available.

List of baccarat variants

Below, you'll find a list of different versions of baccarat you can play at online and offline casinos.

Online versions

Practically all online casinos offer the Punto Banco baccarat either as a live dealer or RNG version. In addition, you can find a varying selection of other live baccarat variants, depending on the available game suppliers:

Brick-and-mortar versions

Brick-and-mortar casinos feature tables with the Punto Banco rules with the 5% banker bet commission. There are tables where the dealer does everything (mini baccarat) and versions where players get to touch the cards for good luck (midi and full). In addition, there are different no commission baccarat versions with interesting side bets.

Non-commercial

These baccarat versions aren't played against the house. Instead, players bank the games themselves. Chemin de fer used to be available up to the 1990s, but is very hard to find these days. Baccarat banque and Macao are both "extinct" curiosities, so knowing their rules isn't important.

Punto Banco

Punto banco is the standard modern baccarat variant. The rules for drawing extra cards are standardized and all bets pay the same, regardless of the value of the winning hand:

  • The Player bet pays 1:1
  • The Banker bet pays 0.95:1
  • The Tie bet pays 8:1

Unlike in the so-called "no commission" baccarat versions, in Punto Banco the house collects a 5% commission for all winning banker hands. Hence the payout of 0.95:1 instead of the even money. Depending on where you play, you either pay the commission after each hand, or at the end of your session.

Below, we give you an overview of the different ways brick-and-mortar casinos run Punto Banco baccarat. We explain the differences in more detail in the Brick-and-mortar baccarat section.

Mini baccarat

Mini baccarat is a simple, fast-paced Punto Banco baccarat version played both online and at brick-and-mortar casinos. It has the standard rules of baccarat, and the players are not allowed to touch the cards.

Mini baccarat is played at a semi-circular table, similar to blackjack. It is operated by one dealer.

Midi baccarat

Midi baccarat has the outer fittings of the mini baccarat, but it adds an extra layer of ritual to the game.

The highest betting punter is allowed to view the Player hand and touch the cards before they are revealed. This doesn't affect the results, but gives the players a feeling of control and good luck.

Full baccarat

Full baccarat is the rarest and most labor-intensive way for casinos to offer baccarat. It has a big, bar-bell shaped table, operated by 3 dealers. Like in Midi baccarat, the highest betting player of each round is allowed to check the Player hand before it's revealed.

No commission baccarat

No commission baccarat is an umbrella term for all baccarat versions that do away with the 5% commission on banker wins. Although this may sound tempting, there's still a house edge, and it's usually slightly higher than in Punto Banco.

Instead of charging a 5% slice on top of all banker wins, the no commission versions adjust the payouts of certain banker hands. The winning combinations with the reduced payout vary between versions. For example, in EZ baccarat a winning 3-card banker hand worth of 7 only pays 0.5:1 instead of 1:1.

However, these no commission versions usually have a side bet for this combination with the reduced payout. And many players are playing this side bet to take out the sting.

Since the side bets have a steeper house edge than the base game, this creates a double advantage for the casino. The no-commission payout structure creates a bigger house edge in the base game and gives an extra incentive for the players to play the side bets, with an even higher house edge.

EZ baccarat

EZ baccarat is a baccarat version that introduces two side bets and eliminates the 5% Banker commission. The result is an easy to follow baccarat game with some added excitement.

At EZ baccarat tables, there's no traditional 5% commission from all Banker wins. This change alone would turn the odds in the favor of casino players, so there's a tiny tweak in the payout structure.

When the Banker hand wins with a 3-card hand worth of 7, it pays as "push" or 0.5:1. So if you had bet on the Banker, you get your original bet back but don't win any extra. The Player hand and Tie bet still lose. This results in an overall house edge of 1.02%.

Then there are the two optional side bets: Dragon 7 and Panda 8:

  • Dragon 7 side bet pays 40:1 when the Banker wins with a 3-card hand worth of 7
  • Panda 8 side bet pays 25:1 when the Player wins with a 3-card hand worth of 8

This is an ingenious twist in the game: if you don't place the Dragon 7 bet, the 3-card 7 for the Banker screws you over with the halved payout. With the side bet, though, you actually want that to happen.

This creates a psychological incentive for the players to place at least the Dragon 7 bet. However, both of these bets have a house edge much higher than the base game: 7.61% for Dragon 7 and 10.19% for Panda 8. Still, they're hugely popular.

EZ baccarat was created by Robin Powell and Francisco Tejeda in the early 2000s. In two decades, it has become the most popular proprietary baccarat brand in the US and Canada. There are now over 900 EZ baccarat tables at over 150 land-based casinos around the world.

Fortune 7

Fortune 7 is very similar to EZ baccarat. The base game is exactly the same: Banker's 3-card hand worth of 7 pays as Push instead of win.

There are also 2 side bets: Fortune 7 and One Up.

  • Fortune 7 side bet is exactly the same as Dragon 7: if the 3-card Banker hand gets the total value of seven, the side bet pays 40:1.
  • One Up pays out when the Player hand beats the Banker by a margin of 1. The score of 1 for Player and 0 for Banker pays 30:1. Any other one up win pays 9:1.

Super 6

Super 6 is another approach to no-commission baccarat. Instead of charging the 5% slice of all Banker wins, a winning Banker hand with a value of 6 pays 0.5:1.

In addition, there's the Super 6 side bet. If the Banker wins with a hand totalling 6, the Super 6 bet pays 12:1. This side bet has a house edge of 29.98%, making it a bad bet.

Although Super 6 is a bit more straightforward than other no-commission baccarat versions, the house edge of the base game is also slightly higher at 1.46%.

You can play Super 6 at all online casinos offering Ezugi's live dealer tables.

Dragon Tiger

Dragon Tiger is often called the two-card baccarat. It is a simple, fast-paced game with familiar elements from baccarat.

In Dragon Tiger, there are three main bets available:

  • Dragon
  • Tiger
  • Tie

At the start of each round, two cards are drawn: one for the Dragon position (red) and one for the Tiger (yellow).

All cards have their face value, A being 1 and K 13. The hand with the highest card wins and pays 1:1.

If there's a Tie, you get back half your original Dragon and Tiger bets. A winning Tie bet pays 8:1 or 11:1, depending on where you play.

These rules result in a 3.73% house edge for Dragon and Tiger bets.

The house edge for the Tie bet depends on the payout ratio. Even for the 11:1 payout found at most online casinos, the house edge is 10.36%. For 8:1 payout, the house edge is a whopping 32.77%. Needless to say, it's a REALLY bad bet.

Online Dragon Tiger tables follow the traditional score keeping methods. You can keep track of the hands played using Big Road, Bead Road, Small Road and Cockroach Pig.

Depending on where you play, dealers also deal a third card face down each round. This is a burn card and it's always discarded without being revealed. The idea is to prevent edge sorting and discourage card counting, i.e. guarantee random results.

Dragon Tiger is available at online casinos offering Evolution or Ezugi live dealer games. It's rarely found at brick-and-mortar casinos.

Baccarat squeeze

While many players prefer a fast-paced tempo of speed baccarat, others yearn for more ceremony and anticipation. For them, Evolution has created Baccarat squeeze. It can be found in the live dealer section of most online casinos.

In baccarat squeeze, the dealer turns over three of the four cards initially dealt and "squeezes" the fourth card. This means she first folds the top of the card to show the number of pips. Then she rotates the card and turns its long side to show the pips. After that she completely reveals the card.

Which card gets squeezed? That's determined by the bets placed. The dealer will squeeze the second card in the hand with the most bets.

Squeezing doesn't change the game in any meaningful way. However, it adds another layer of ritual and superstition to baccarat. In addition, the pace is slower and you get through less hands in an hour. If you want to prolong your live baccarat session while placing bets every round, then baccarat squeeze might be worth exploring.

See also: Squeezing at brick-and-mortar casinos

Chemin de fer

Chemin de fer is a classic baccarat version that isn't available at commercial casinos anymore. Some casinos still say they have it, including Casino Venezia in Venice, Italy

Since the players are betting against each other instead of the casino, it isn't profitable for the casino to host this game. Chemin de fer or "chemmy" used to be hugely popular in 19th century Europe, and casinos used to offer it until recently.

The name literally means "railroad": in this version of baccarat, players take turns banking the game. The banking player always bets on the Banker position, and other punters bet as the Player.

When the game starts, the player next to the croupier acts as the bank and declares how much he or she is willing to risk on this round. The other players can then match the banker's bet individually or as a group.

The current banker then deals two face down cards for the Player and two for the Banker. The player who bet the most looks at the cards. If either the Player or Banker have a natural (8 or 9), the cards are revealed instantly. However, if there are no naturals, the punter playing the Player position can actually make a decision on whether to take a third card.

Both the mathematical odds and social conventions dictate that the Player should draw on hands totaling 0 to 4 and stand on 6 and 7. So in practice, the only decision available is whether to take a card on a hand valuing 5.

Once the Player has decided whether to take a third card, the Banker can make the same call. After that, the cards are revealed:

  • If the Banker wins, they will continue to play as the Banker if they so wish
  • If the Player wins, the punter next to the current Banker becomes the bank, if they're willing to risk the same sum
  • If there's a tie, all bets stay on the table

Side bets

Baccarat side bets consistently have a much higher house edge than the base game. In addition, they add more volatility to the game: you lose most of the side bets, but once they hit, they pay out quite handsomely.

Side bets are especially common in no-commission baccarat versions. They're designed to take out the sting of reduced payouts for certain banker hands: if you're winning 25:1 for the side bet, you don't care that the main game only pays 0.5:1.

The side bets offered depend on the baccarat variant you're playing. In addition, the same side bet may be offered under a different name in various versions.

Below, we list the most common side bets you may encounter and the variants they're usually associated with.

Tie

If both the Banker and Player hands have the same value, this constitutes a Tie and the original bets are returned to players. Since the Tie doesn't affect the main game, it can be considered a side bet.

As far as side bets go, the Tie is the most common and has the worst odds of winning. It usually pays 8:1 and results in a house edge of 14.36%. This is over ten times the house edge of the main game.

Pairs

A common set of baccarat side bets is the different kinds of pairs. These are individual bets that take into account the starting hands of the Player and Banker position. The possible third card for either hand doesn't affect these bets.

The payouts listed below reflect the ones available at most live dealer casinos. At brick-and-mortar establishments, the house edge may be steeper and the payout ratio lower.

Player pair

Player pair side bet pays 11:1 if the two cards dealt to the player have the same pip value, e.g. 7-7 or Q-Q. The card suit doesn't matter for this bet.

Two different face cards (e.g. J-K) don't form a pair!

Banker pair

Banker pair side bet also pays 11:1. It works just like the Player pair, except it looks at the Banker's starting hand instead of the Player's.

Any pair

Any pair side bet pays 5:1 if either the initial Player hand or the Banker hand has a pair.

Perfect pair

Perfect pair sidde bet pays 25:1 if either the Player hand or the Banker hand has a suited pair. A suited pair means two of exactly the same cards, e.g. 7♣️-7♣️ or K♠️-K♠️.

Big game & Small game

Big game and Small game side bets are determined by the amount of cards dealt during the round. If neither the Player nor Banker get a third card, the game is considered Small. If either or both hands get a third card, the game is Big. To put it simply:

  • 4 cards = Small game
  • 5 or 6 cards = Big game

The exact payouts vary between game providers at online casinos and between brick-and-mortar casinos. We've usually seen the following:

  • Small game pays 1.5:1
  • Big game pays 0.54:1

Super 6

Super 6 is a side bet that pays 12:1 if the winning banker hand has the value of 6. It doesn't matter whether it's a 2-card or a 3-card hand.

The Super 6 side bet is available in some variants of no-commission baccarat, most notably the Super 6 live dealer baccarat operated by Ezugi.

Variations with different payouts exist. For example, the Lucky 6 has different payouts for 2-card and 3-card banker hands worth 6. The same bet is also sometimes known as the "Tiger".

Dragon 7 or Fortune 7

Dragon 7 side bet pays 40:1 when the winning Banker hand has 3 cards and is worth 7.

This bet is also known as Fortune 7, depending on the baccarat version you're playing. The Dragon 7 bet is found at EZ baccarat.

Panda 8 or Golden 8

Panda 8 side bet pays 25:1 when the winning Player hand has 3 cards and is worth 8.

The Golden 8 side bet works exactly the same as Panda 8 and has the same payout.

Heavenly 9

Heavenly 9 side bet pays 10:1 if either Player or Banker has a 3-card hand worth of 9. It pays 75:1 if both have it.

Blazing 7s

Blazing 7s side bet pays 50:1 if both Player and Banker have a 2-card hand worth of 7. It pays 200:1 if both have 3-card hands worth 7.

One up

One up side bet pays 9:1 if the Player hand beats the Banker hand by a margin of 1, e.g. Player 8 vs Banker 7. If the Player has 1 and the Banker has 0, the One up side bet pays 30:1.

Three card wins

3-card Banker win and 3-card Player win are two separate side bets. Here's how they work:

  • 3-card Banker win side bet pays 4:1 if the Banker has a winning 3-card hand
  • 3-card Player win side bet pays 5:1 if the Player has a winning 3-card hand
PART 5:

Glossary

Baccarat is an old game with roots in France and Italy. In the 1900s, it became hugely popular especially in Asia. No wonder there are several terms a savvy player needs to know. In this section, we cover the usual baccarat lingo.

Baccarat terms

Baccarat is a game that's played around the world. It has been influenced by many different cultures and languages. With a tradition dating back centuries, it's no surprise that some of the terms may not be intuitive for a beginner.

Below, we go through the baccarat terms you're likely to encounter both online and offline.

Baccarat

The word 'baccarat' can refer either to the game of baccarat or to the hand with a value of zero. The word probably originates from a dialect of either northern Italy or southern France.

Banco / Banker

Banco or Banker refers to the Banker bet in baccarat. If you bet on the Banker position, you hope the Banker hand wins the next round. A successful Banker bet pays 0.95:1.

Banque

Baccarat en banque is a baccarat version that isn't available at casinos anymore. In baccarat en banque, the players play against each other, not the casino. They take turns banking the game.

Burn card

When the previous shoe runs out and the dealer starts a fresh shoe, the top card of the shoe is revealed. The value of the card tells how many cards need to be discarded or "burned". These burn cards go directly into the discard tray and are not revealed.

Carte

French for 'card'. In Baccarat en Banque and Chemin de Fer versions, the players are allowed to decide whether or not to take a 3rd card. By saying 'carte', they ask the dealer to give them another card.

Chemin de Fer / Chemmy

Chemin de Fer is a baccarat version played among the players, not against the house. It's not available really anywhere anymore.

Commission

Because of the 3rd card drawing rules, the Banker bet is slightly more likely to pay out than the Player bet. To even the odds and cover the cost of running the game, the casino deducts a 5% commission of all winning Banker hands. There are also no-commission baccarat versions where the house edge is achieved by other means.

Coup

French for 'cut'. Another term for a round of baccarat.

Croupier

The dealer.

Cut card

The plastic card inserted in the shoe when a fresh shoe is started. When the cut card comes out of the shoe, the dealer finishes dealing that round and then changes the shoe.

Discard tray

After each round, all cards played go into the discard tray in the order they were played. After the shoe runs out, the discard cards are shuffled into a new shoe.

Down card

In some baccarat versions (e.g. baccarat squeeze), one or more of the cards are dealt face down and revealed only gradually. These are known as down cards.

Edge sorting

Edge sorting is an advantage play technique. A successful edge sorter takes advantage of the little imperfections in the back patterns of the cards to place the bets. This can result in a player edge of up to 6.78%. Understandably, casinos don't like edge sorting and if you're caught doing it, the casino may confiscate your winnings.

Face card

Face card refers to picture cards: J, Q and K. In baccarat, they're all worth 0.

Flat betting

Flat betting is a betting strategy where you place the same size bet every round.

Hand

In baccarat, there are two different betting positions or "hands": Player and Banker. You can bet on either of them.

House edge

House edge indicates the average share of the bets you place that you won't win back. The house edge in baccarat is only 1.06% for the Banker bet. So on average, you'll win back NZ$98.94 for every NZ$100 you put on the table. However, this is only an average and your mileage will vary within a gaming session.

Layout

Layout refers to the way player seats and individual betting positions are arranged in the baccarat table.

La grande

A natural 9. When either the Player or Banker gets a hand with the total value of 9 on the initial 2 cards. No new cards are dealt and the natural 9 wins automatically. Unless both hands have a 9, in which case it's a Tie.

La petite

A natural 8. Only a natural 9 beats it.

Live dealer

Most online casinos let you play baccarat against real human dealers. The dealers run the game from a studio with physical playing cards. You place the bets completely digitally on your phone or computer. This setup is known as a live dealer casino.

Mini baccarat

Mini baccarat is the standard baccarat version offered by all online casinos and most brick-and-mortar casinos. In mini baccarat, the players don't touch the cards at all. Instead, the dealer does all the work. This speeds up the game and enables the casino to offer the mini baccarat with relatively low minimum bets, usually starting from NZ$10 per hand.

Monkey

Any card worth 0 in baccarat, i.e. tens and face cards.

Natural

A two-card hand worth either 8 or 9.

Palette

The "paddle" the croupier uses to move cards to the players in Chemin de Fer and Baccarat en Banque.

Pass

To win a round.

Pit

The exclusive roped-off area of the casino with high limit baccarat is known as the baccarat pit. Prepare for a stricter dress code and higher table limits.

Player bet

When you place the Player bet in baccarat, you're hoping that the cards dealt to the Player position are more valuable than the ones dealt to the Banker. A winning player bet pays 1:1, i.e. you double your money.

Punto

Another term for the Player position.

Punto Banco

Punto Banco is the most common baccarat version available today. It was invented in Argentina in the 1950s and hopped over to the US via Cuba. Punto Banco literally means 'player banker'.

Push

When both the Player and the Banker have the same value hand, it results in a tie or 'push'. If you bet on either Player or Banker, you get your bet back. If you bet on the Tie, this pays 8:1, i.e. you get your money back 9-fold.

Random number generator (RNG)

Random number generator (RNG) is a piece of software used to power fully digital baccarat versions found at most online casinos. The RNG ensures the results of the game are unpredictable and random. Casinos need to have their RNG externally audited to obtain a gaming license.

Shoe

A plastic container holding up to 8 decks of cards. The decks are shuffled together before they're placed in the shoe. When the cards are in the shoe, everyone can see that they cannot be tampered with.

Table of play

A set of rules dictating when the Player or the Banker gets a third card.

Tie bet

Tie bet in baccarat is technically a side bet. You're betting that in the next round, both the Player hand and the Banker hand will have the same total value. The Tie bet usually pays 8:1, so you get your money back 9-fold. However, the Tie is so unlikely that even with this huge payout, the house edge is still 14.36%. We recommend avoiding this bet.

Up card

A card dealt face up.

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