You might not be aware of the multiple variations of baccarat games available online, and the perception of what ‘true’ baccarat is differs from person to person.
Although the list of baccarat variations below may seem somewhat extensive, the reality is that most of these games are similar in their core game mechanics. Instead, there are some subtle changes to the game rules of each variant that you should familiarise yourself with before heading to the online baccarat tables.
Scroll down or click on the links below to go straight to the baccarat game of your choice:
- Punto Banco
- Chemin de Fer
- Mini Baccarat
- Baccarat Banque
- Dragon Tiger
- European Baccarat
- Macau Baccarat
Punto Banco is one of the most popular baccarat variations, most commonly found in American, British and Australian casinos. The biggest shift in the game dynamic in Punto Banco is that players bet against the dealer, in the same way as players play against the dealer at the blackjack tables.
In this variant, players must attempt to build a hand that’s valued as close to nine as possible and higher than the banker’s hand, before going bust or exceeding nine. The card values in Punto Banco are the same as classic baccarat. The face cards are worth zero, while Aces are worth one point. All remaining cards are given their face values.
In terms of betting options in Punto Banco, players can either bet on the Punto (Player), the Banco (Bank) or Egalite (Tie). Winning Punto bets pay out 1:1, while winning Banco bets pay out 95:100, with a 5% commission deducted to the house. Winning Egalite bets pay out 8:1.
Chemin de Fer
The Chemin de Fer version of baccarat is one of the oldest recorded formats of this classic game, with examples of Chemin de Fer found during the French Napoleonic era. It was an increasingly popular option for those that wanted to play without the bank in-play. After its success in France, Chemin de Fer soon found its way onto the casino floors in Britain and the US.
Chemin de Fer is one of the most famous baccarat variations. It’s the version you will have seen in classic James Bond movies, where players bet against each other rather than the banker. Players take turns being the denoted banker in a clockwise fashion to the right of the dealer. Before each hand is dealt, the banker places a bet on the table and each player may choose to call ‘Banco’ by going all-in against the banker or place a different bet.
If multiple players call ‘Banco’, the player to the right of the banker is labelled the ‘Banco prime’. If no players call ‘Banco’, and the players’ alternative bets don’t cover the size of the banker’s original wager, the bets must be met by viewing players watching the action. If player bets are worth more than the banker’s original wager, the bank must either increase its original bet or remove excess wagers.
If the players’ totals are higher than the banker after all cards are drawn, players are paid out at odds of 1:1. If the result is a tie, all bets remain on the table for the subsequent hand. If the banker’s hand is the highest value, all losing player bets are absorbed by the banker of that hand.
Mini Baccarat is one of the most popular table games you’ll find in Las Vegas. It’s a smaller, optimised version of the full game, played using eight decks. Players can still place bets on the Player, Banker or Tie. In Mini Baccarat, the dealer has sole responsibility for shuffling the card shoe, unlike in Chemin De Fer and Baccarat Banque (more on that variant shortly).
Aside from the Player, Banker and Tie bets, Mini Baccarat players can also place side bets on the ‘Dragon Bonus’. The Dragon Bonus pays out if your selected hand is a ‘natural’ or if the selected hand wins by at least four points. A natural hand in baccarat is a two-card hand worth eight or nine.
Casino.com guest contributor Heather Ferris gives a demonstration of how to play in one of her Vegas Aces videos:
Baccarat Banque was devised in France as a popular alternative to the original Chemin de Fer. It gave players an option to play with a dedicated banker included. In fact, Baccarat Banque was the first of the baccarat variations to contain a banker that’s still played in land-based and online casinos today.
Unlike most other baccarat variations, Baccarat Banque is played with only three decks of cards. That’s quite a difference compared with the six or eight decks used in Punto Banco and Chemin de Fer.
The gameplay has similarities to Chemin de Fer, except players don’t play against one another and instead take it in turns to build a hand to beat the banker. In addition, the player that’s denoted as the ‘banker’ for each round is not forced to cover all other player bets.
If you are completely new to Baccarat and you want a simplified version to get on board with from day one, be sure to give Dragon Tiger a whirl. This was devised as a two-card variant of Baccarat. We don’t mean two cards being dealt to the banker and the player either. One card is dealt to the ‘Dragon’ and one card is dealt to the ‘Tiger’. It’s up to you to decide whether the Dragon or the Tiger will have the highest-value card.
It’s one of the more elusive baccarat variations, with Dragon Tiger said to have originated in the Far East. A winning bet on Dragon Tiger pays out at odds of 1:1, with a house edge of 3.73%. Tie bets pay out at odds of 8:1 but this wager carries a monstrous house edge of 32.77%. Additional side bets can be placed on the likelihood of a Suited Tie at odds of 50:1 or whether a card will be Big or Small (worth over or below seven).
It’s also a good time to compare the differences between European Baccarat games and American Baccarat games, such as Punto Banco. European variants will typically give players the option to stand their hand or draw another card up to the value of five. The banker may also decide whether to take a third card or not.
In European Baccarat, the banker’s hand is exclusively covered by the casino. Remaining players are not given the opportunity to place bets once the value of the banker’s bet is covered by player wagers.
Macau is now considered the casino capital of the world, overtaking Las Vegas in annual revenue terms several years ago. This autonomous region off the coast of mainland China has its own version of Baccarat that attracts millions of tourists to its resorts each year. In fact, Baccarat is the primary driver of casino revenues in the city.
Macau Baccarat is designed to operate in a similar fashion to Punto Banco. Players play heads-up against the dealer, to try and build a hand worth as close to nine in two or three-card hands. In terms of casino revenues, the slot machines of Las Vegas casinos are said to rake in approximately four-fifths of the city’s gambling income. Meanwhile, in Macau, Baccarat accounts for almost nine-tenths (88%) of overall gambling revenue – a clear demonstration of its appeal in the ‘Vegas of the East’.
Other Things to Consider at the Baccarat Tables
Commission vs non-commission Baccarat tables
There is a big difference between commission and non-commission Baccarat games. Tables that do pay commission force players to pay 5% of their winnings to the house on every successful Banker bet.
No-commission Baccarat tables pay out on winning Banker bets at odds of 1:1 rather than 95:100 – significantly slashing the house edge on this popular wager.
Progressive Baccarat games
Some online casinos have been known to offer ‘progressive’ Baccarat tables. These games offer a progressive wager, with a large-scale potential payout.
For example, there is a progressive bet known as the ‘Triple Match Return’ on some Baccarat tables. This has been known to eat into the return to player (RTP) percentage of the game, but if you’re someone that enjoys chasing big wins it might float your boat.
The Triple Match Return bet requires you to be dealt 3 – 3 – 3 of diamonds. If this occurs when you’ve placed the progressive side bet, you stand to win the jackpot amount displayed.
Live dealer vs standard online Baccarat games
You must also decide whether you wish to play conventional online Baccarat games or those managed in real time by live dealers. Live casino games are typically dealt similarly to games played in a brick-and-mortar casino. The only difference being they are online and subsequently some procedures may differ. This brings up the age-old saying, every casino is different. They all have different policies and procedures but, by and large, the core Baccarat gameplay remains the same.
The biggest call to make is the speed of your Baccarat gameplay. Live dealer games containing multiple human players at your table will generally be slower to play on a hands-per-hour basis. That’s because the human dealer has to give each player time to act and make their bets. If you’re stretched for time, online Baccarat games handled by independently verified random number generators (RNGs) may offer a credible alternative if you’re not desperate to get an authentic land-based casino experience on your desktop or mobile.
Did you know?
Alongside the baccarat variations there is also the opportunity to play versions such as Prestige Baccarat on live baccarat tables which features action replays so you can relive winning hands. There is also Grand Baccarat No Commission which as the name suggests, the house commission on Bankers wins is not deducted.