Here, we break down the basic rules of baccarat and explain the most popular online variations of the game. Baccarat, or Punto Banco (‘Player Banker’ in Spanish, a more popular alias in the US) is a simple card game of chance. You bet on one of two hands, either Player or Banker, and the goal is to have the hand you bet on get more points than the one you play against, with 9 being the highest hand. There is very little decision-making involved, namely, bet size and side to bet one, so your bankroll won’t thrive on mathematically optimal strategies, although we do have a set of valuable tips for playing baccarat.

Below, we lay out the basic baccarat rules and explain game variations by table size, side bets and rules.

Baccarat Rules: The Basics


Games by Table Size

Land-based casinos usually have up to three kinds of baccarat based on table size: the traditional big table baccarat for up to 14 people, mini and midi baccarat. Online casinos tend to offer two options:

  • Baccarat: a traditional large bean-shaped table for up to seven or eight players
  • Mini Baccarat: a single-player format on a smaller blackjack-like table

The table size does not change the odds of the game, it only affects the way in which the game sessions are conducted.

Games by Side Bets

Online baccarat casinos have optional side bets (some have few, some have many) and payouts vary from one casino to the next. Part of understanding how to play online baccarat is acquainting yourself with the specific side bet rules for each game, i.e. when a lucky win occurs and how much it pays out. Note that odds are adjusted as the shoe is dealt and side bets may not be available in the last few rounds of a shoe. Here are the most common baccarat side bets:

  • Perfect Pair: occurs when either Player/Banker hand has cards of matching rank and suit; pays 25:1
  • Either Pair: occurs when Player/Banker cards form any kind of pair, pays 5:1
  • Big/Small: Small Bet wins if the game ends with four cards on the table and pays 3:2; Big Bet wins if the game ends in five or six cards and pays 0.54:1
  • Egalities: pay on specific ties (multiple options)
  • Bonus Bet: occurs when Player/Banker wins by a certain number of points (multiple options)
  • Dragon Bonus: occurs when Player/Banker wins by at least 4 points (multiple options)
  • Odd/Even: occurs when the total points of both Player and Banker hands in the end of the game are either an odd or even number
  • Super 6: occurs when Banker hand wins with a total of 6, pays something like 12:1 or 15:1 (can be a separate game with no 5% commission)
  • Dragon 7: if Banker gets a winning 3-card 7, it pays something like 40:1 (found in the commissionless EZ Baccarat where Banker winning total of 7 pushes)
  • Panda 8: if Player gets a winning 3-card 8, it pays something like 25:1 (found in EZ Baccarat)

Games by Rule Variations

Some major rule changes that online casinos introduce to diversify the online baccarat game experience include lifting/reducing the 5% commission rule or adopting the popular Asian format of two-card-draw baccarat called Dragon Tiger.

  • No 5% Commission: some online casinos either lift or reduce the 5% commission, of course at the cost of cutting down on some payouts. For instance, EZ Baccarat is a popular commissionless baccarat game where a Banker win of three-card 7 pushes.
  • 2-Card Baccarat, a.k.a. Dragon Tiger: the two sides are Dragon and Tiger and each gets only one card. The game comes with optional side bets.

Is Online Casino Baccarat Difficult?

Baccarat requires no skill, unless you decide to trust patterns or adopt some of the superstition-driven behaviors for improving one’s luck so popular with Asian players, i.e. wearing red or shouting at the cards.If you are completely new to baccarat, the game may come across as complicated, especially when there is so little active participation required on the player’s side. However, once you learn how to play baccarat online, you’ll realize that the rules are pleasantly straightforward. You can focus more on the ceremonial side of it and indulge in the excitement of peek-and-squeeze rituals, numerous side bets and rule variations. If you are looking to refine your play approach, we have a special Baccarat Tips page.

Eager to try your luck already? You can start by playing online baccarat for free or you can jump directly to real-money online baccarat casinos from our recommended list!