Baccarat Game Strategy and Rules

PokCas Live Baccarat Guide

Baccarat is one of those casino games that most gamers have heard about, but not all have ventured to try. There is a misconception that the game is very intricate and complicated to pick up. Well, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, baccarat online is one of the easiest games to learn and is increasing in popularity at both traditional online casinos and Bitcoin sites, globally.

High rollers and low rollers, alike, love online baccarat because of its simplicity. It also holds the potential for massive prize hauls, especially when the table offers side bets, like player/banker pairs and more.

In this guide, we aim to introduce you to this awesome game; giving you insights into its rules, baccarat strategy, and passage of play. Online Live Dealer Baccarat is the rage amongst players these days, so we will focus predominantly on which live dealer baccarat online games are likely to be the most exciting to play.

What is Baccarat?

Baccarat (pronounced BAH-CAH-RAH) is a popular card casino game with a steeped game history. It gained popularity at casinos around the world in the 1900s. We can tie the game back to the 1400s in France, where imperial soldiers would play it in their spare time. However, there is evidence that it may have originated in Italy a little earlier on than that even. What we do know now, is that baccarat online and live baccarat are popular among both the mainstream players and the elite.

Game Type Description of Game
Mini-Baccarat This is a popular game amongst Asian players and is similar to Punto Banco in play style. The stakes are generally a lot lower and the table consists of fewer players. It’s the ultimate baccarat option for low-risk players.
Punto Banco This is known as the American version of the game and is a modification of Femin De Fer to suit casino play better. It works especially well at online and live baccarat casinos. Here you play against the house. It is the only game in the world where you can choose to bet for or against the player. The hand closest to 9 wins.
Femmin De Fer This is the social variant of the game. Certain brick-and-mortar casinos may offer it on their floors. Each player plays for themselves. The hand closest to nine wins the round. Unlike Punto Banco – players can control the number of cards they receive in a round.

We will cover more about the game rules further down in the baccarat online guide.

The Pros of Playing Baccarat

There are several reasons that both live baccarat online and brick-and-mortar baccarat have increased in popularity over the decades. The notable advantages associated with the card game include:

  1. Baccarat is easy to learn and the strategy is basic
  2. Some games offer side bet options to keep players engaged
  3. There are several variants of the game, which means players never have to succumb to boredom
  4. The game is uniquely challenging in the fact that you can bet for the banker, player, or a tie
  5. The spread on most tables usually suits both low-risk takers and high rollers

If you are wanting to expand on your casino table game repertoire and already know how to play blackjack and roulette, then baccarat is the next natural choice.

Where we Recommend that You Play Baccarat Online

When playing online, security is first on our priority list for our members. As such, we spend a lot of time checking the status of the various casinos that we support to make sure that they have suitable licensing, have good browser security (SSL encryption), and support good responsible gambling protocols. If you would like to play virtual or live baccarat at a casino that meets the strict PokCas criteria, then feel free to sign-up with one of the fabulous operators listed below.

Best Online Casinos for Baccarat Action

1. BetOnline

BetOnline Bonus Tab

2. Videoslots Casino

Videoslots bonus

3. Casumo Casino

Casumo Bonus

4. TrueFlip Casino

TrueFlip Bonus

5. Mr. Green

Mr. Green Bonus

Please keep in mind that the welcome deal that you may receive when signing up with one of our mentioned casinos may differ from the advertised deal above. This all depends on the region you are living in. Be sure to click on the icon link to find out what special promotion awaits you!

An Introduction to Live Dealer Baccarat

Now that we have captured your attention about how easy baccarat is to learn, we would love to introduce you to the most engaging gaming experience available online. Live baccarat online is a little different from standard virtual RNG-based online baccarat, in the fact that real dealers host the games in real-time via video stream.

This means that the level of interaction in each game is far more immersive, making this the perfect game type for those of you with a social drive. You can also use the live chat portal to engage with other players at the table. Go ahead and congratulate them on their winnings or motivate them for a better run in the next round, if they suffered a loss.

You can log in via your mobile or desktop device and head straight to the live dealer baccarat tables to get started. It perfectly brings together the world of online gambling and live brick-and-mortar casino play. This way, you can enjoy the interaction of retail gaming from the convenience of your own home.

For more information about what to expect from the live dealer games, we invite you to visit our live casino guide for a complete rundown of the entertainment afforded in this exciting gaming genre. This will include a brief look at the types of casino bonuses that you can expect to encounter online, too.

Live Dealer Baccarat vs Virtual Baccarat

Below is a table that clearly displays the differences between live baccarat and traditional baccarat online. Use it to decide which game suits your needs best.

Respective Quality Live Baccarat Online Baccarat 
Players Multi-player Solo play
Outcomes Natural card deals RNG software
Gameplay Social Private
Stakes Low to high Low to medium
Experience Like playing on the casino floor Like playing a video game
Dealer Real dealer Computer dealer

Baccarat Game Rules – How to Play

As we said in the introduction to this guide, baccarat is an easy game to learn and play. So, before we tempt you with all the wonderful live baccarat game options out there, we thought it best to teach you how to play the basic form of the game. To do this, we must present you with the rules.

PokCas Baccarat Rules

1. Baccarat Hand Values

The hand values are the first port of call, as these values determine the outcomes of any round. All cards valued from 2 to 9 carry their face value. An Ace counts as a 1. All cards from 10 to King have a ”0” value.

2. How the Game Plays Out

The idea of the game is to achieve a hand as close to 9 as possible using the hand values determined above. Both the player and banker will receive an initial two-card hand.

If either party receives an initial hand higher than 10, then a value of 10 will be subtracted from the current hand value. So, if one receives a 7 and a 5, the hand value is 2 (7+5=12 and then 12-10=2). 

The highest-ranking hand in baccarat is a natural (9). Landing it will give you the automatic win. If you land an 8, it’s called a natural 8. This is obviously the next highest hand available in the game.

Before the dealer distributes the cards, you will need to place a bet in either the banker box or the dealer box. Once the hands display, you will win or lose based on which hand is closer to nine. Your success depends on which party you have backed.

There are times when either side may have to draw a third card. This happens in the following event:

  • If the player stays on their initial hand, the banker must take a card if they have 0-5
  • When the player has an initial hand of 0-5, they must take another card
  • If the player takes a third card, the banker must also take one if their hand is 0-2
  • When the player’s third card is 2 or 3 then the banker must take a card if they have 4 or less
  • If the player’s third card is 4 or 5 then the banker must take a card if they have 5 or less
  • When the player’s third card is 6 or 7 then the banker must take a card if they have 6 or less
  • If the player’s third card is 8 then the banker must take a card if they have 2 or less
  • If the player’s third card is an Ace (1) or a zero value card, the banker must take a card if they have 3 or less

Once the final results are in, the casino calculates and pays out the winnings or deducts the losses accordingly. Please make sure that you place any side bets prior to the card distribution to make sure that the bet counts for the round.

3. Basic Passage of Play

The order in which the game plays out is as follows:

  1. The dealer will call for all players at the table to place their bets.
  2. You can now drag your selected chips to the bank/player/tie/side bet fields on the table.
  3. Once the allotted time for betting is complete, the dealer will close betting and then proceed to deal the cards.
  4. They will announce the outcomes and payout any wins or subtract any losses.
  5. The amounts will immediately reflect on your bankroll.
  6. The dealer will clear the table and re-open betting again.
  7. You can choose to either ‘’Re-bet’’ your previous wager or select a new wager for the round.

Be aware that there is no time to learn while you are playing a round of live baccarat. Accustomise yourself to the gameplay by loading up at a First-Person Baccarat table, or play a free virtual demo version of baccarat to practice on.

Online Baccarat Odds

The payouts and odds on the various outcomes do vary based on which bet you backed. Here is a breakdown of what you can expect:


If you bet on the banker, you will need to pay a 5% commission on any wins you muster. The payout is 1:1 (0.95:1 with commission deducted) and the banker holds a house edge of 1.06%, making it the best selection for wins over the long run.


If you bet on the player and win, you will receive 1:1 back on your bet. The house edge on the player is 1.24%, which is still way better than online slots and their average 4% house edge. It’s only a marginal difference between banker and player. The banker has the edge because the player must always play first. The banker then reacts accordingly.


This is a very risky bet, but the payout is a whopping 8:1. Some variations of the game payout 9:1. The house edge, in this instance, is 14.36%. This is a tremendous option for high rollers, who generally like stacked odds against them.

Popular Live Baccarat Side Bets 

There are various side bets available when playing live baccarat. These will provide you with extended odds if you are lucky to have them come in on any game round. Please look at the table below for the details.

The Side Bet Odds Payout Description of the Bet 
Egalite Bonus Up to 220:1 Bet on the number value the tie will land on.
Sum Bonus Up to 50:1 Bet on the total that the two hands will make after the round has been played. The higher the value – the higher the payout.
Dragon Bonus 30:1 Bet on the winning points difference between the hands. The higher the difference – the higher the payout.
Big/Small 1.5:1 This is a bet on the total number of cards dealt in a hand. Small is 4 – Big is 5 or 6.
Tie Bonus Up to 50:1 This pays when your 5 or 6 card ties land with specific totals.
Pairs 25:1 You can bet on whether a pair (two of the same value) will occur on either the banker’s or player’s hand.

Baccarat Strategy

No matter how many sites and so-called specialists try to provide hard and fast strategy sheets and guides, the fact of the matter is this: No baccarat strategy is guaranteed to win you anything playing this game. Despite the fact that all professionals agree on this, the unofficial King of Baccarat, Mikki Mase, believes he has a sure-fire system that ensures success in the long run. It’s more of an algorithm than a set of tips you can learn though.

The results are random though, and your guess on which party will win is as good as a coin flip game of heads or tails. So instead, there are a few simple strategic actions you can put into place in your gameplay to help you mitigate your losses. These include:

PokCas Strategy

1. Avoid the Tie Bet

With the analogy of the baccarat being likened to a coin flip, landing a tie is almost the same as landing the coin on its side. Okay, maybe the chances are better with a tie, but they are slim nonetheless. Unless you have a lot of money to burn, avoid the tie bet and any side bet associated with it.

2. Stick to the Basics

The moment you place a side bet, your chances of losing go up dramatically. Rather stick to the basic baccarat strategy and decide between the simple banker or player outcomes.

3. Make the Best Bet

The smartest bet in Baccarat is always in favor of the banker. While you will have to pay a 5% commission on your wins, the chances of winning with this selection in the long haul, are the best.

4. Search for the Best Commission

While the standard commission charged at baccarat tables is 5%, there are tables that charge less. In fact, you may find some baccarat online tables with 0% commission. Always be aware of the charges on any game you play. The less commission you pay, the more you get to pocket yourself.

5. Patterns are a Poor Strategy

Some players write detailed notes on pay patterns at a table. In fact, the best games will notarise past patterns for you. While some swear that this works, the idea is nonsensical when you consider that the outcomes are 100% random each time.

Live Baccarat – Games for Every Pocket, so Match Your Bet Level Expectations

The budget should never be your worry when you want to play baccarat online. The best live baccarat casinos will ensure you have a suitable game to suit your wallet. As you may have noticed before, live dealer baccarat provides gameplay for three different levels of players.

These include:

1. Standard Games

These games generally cater to lower bet spreads of up to €500, but this can vary. These games are available in multiple currencies and languages to suit your convenience.

2. VIP Baccarat

VIP Baccarat is for moderate to high bettors. While you can still bet moderately low, the limits are generally €1,000 or more.

3. Privé Rooms

Evolution Gaming offers baccarat players the chance of playing Privé Baccarat at some casinos. This option is perfect for those with large budgets, as the limits can skyrocket into the thousands of Euros per game round.

The Top Live Baccarat Games

Once you have settled on your live baccarat online casino of choice and have an idea of your betting limits, the next step is to choose a game type to suit your style best. There are various game options available. We will note some of the more popular variants available at Evolution Gaming, which is the leading live casino provider in the world.

1. Standard Live Baccarat

Live Baccarat Logo - Evolution Gaming

This game plays out the same way it would at a land-based casino, with a seat limit of seven players per table. There are generally several side bets available in the game, including pairs, big/small, sum bonus, tie bonus, egalite bonus, and lucky 6.

2. Speed Baccarat

Speed Baccarat - Evolution Gaming

The game plays out with 8 standard 52-card decks in the shoe. This is the perfect option for players who have limited time and want to play as many rounds as they can within a specific timeframe. Each Speed Baccarat round only lasts 27 seconds.

3. Lightning Baccarat

Lightning Baccarat Logo - Evolution Gaming

This riveting variant of live baccarat online comes with a multiplier feature that can reward you handsomely for receiving a Lightning card in the hand you are backing. The dealer draws 1 to 5 randomly selected Lightning cards from the pack. These then receive a random multiplier value to boost your bankroll should you land a corresponding number.

4. First-Person Baccarat

First Person Baccarat - Evolution Gaming

Evolution Gaming’s ‘’First Person’’ series of games is the perfect place for live baccarat beginners to start. It is a virtual representation of the live dealer baccarat game variant. You can therefore play in privacy so you can learn the passage of play perfectly before you go to a real live table. Once you have built up confidence in this virtual RNG game, you can hit the ‘’GO LIVE’’ tab to take you to the live version of the same game, immediately.

Mini-Baccarat – Most Popular Game Among Asian Markets

We feel that this is a good place to introduce online baccarat players to Mini-Baccarat. Asian players seem to love the game because of its quick-play techniques. Mini-baccarat is a form of Punto Banco baccarat that is played on a smaller table with lower table limits. Unlike traditional punto banco, there are no side bet options in Mini-baccarat. This makes playing the game super simple. Other than that, you can play Mini-baccarat effortlessly if you are familiar with its “bigger” cousin. The dealer does most of the work. All you need to do is bet on whether you think the dealer will win, the player will win, or it will be a tie.

Mini-baccarat is available in RNG versions, live versions, and at retail casinos. So, you won’t have to look far to enjoy the gameplay. One of the most notable virtual game variants is produced my industry leader, Play’n GO.

The Best Live Baccarat Game Makers

While there are several game makers that specialize in the production of live dealer games, three stand out when it comes to the provision of top-rated live baccarat games. These include:

1. Evolution Gaming

Evolution Gaming Logo

The leading live dealer game maker in the world presents several exciting Evolution live baccarat options that promise to satisfy the avid player. You can always trust an Evolution Gaming casino. Their brand has won many prestigious awards for its quality over the decades.

2. Pragmatic Play

Pragmatic Play Logo

While they are a newcomer to the market, the quality of software used in Pragmatic Play live baccarat online is on par with the industry leaders. Their well-trained croupiers lead the passage of play like experts, ensuring a satisfying encounter.

3. Playtech

Playtech Logo

This game maker is one of the biggest casino gaming providers in the world. Playtech baccarat is well received, especially in areas that the other providers do not service. The studio’s universality is the company’s winning recipe for success.


We have done our best to provide you with all the expert information you’ll need to understand and play live baccarat, mini-baccarat, and virtual baccarat online. Be sure not to join just any casino, but instead, select one of the PokCas choices listed near the top of this guide. Here, you can rest easy knowing that you are in the best hands possible.


Sean van der Merwe

Sean is a senior writer at PokCas. He is an Entertainment, Gaming & Cryptocurrency News Reporter. He has more than 5 years of full-time writing experience.