You don’t have to be part of society’s upper echelon to play Baccarat now at Cafe Casino. But it wasn’t always this way. Before reaching North America in the early 20th Century, Baccarat was the game of choice for French nobility. They played a version called chemin de fer, which was the same variant selected by novelist Ian Fleming for his seminal 1953 novel Casino Royale. James Bond’s win over Le Chiffre in high-stakes Baccarat is an iconic scene that would later be portrayed (using Texas Hold’em poker) in the 2006 film of the same name. Back in Fleming’s time, his book was largely responsible for introducing the game of Baccarat to the mainstream American public.

Baccarat’s association with Bond (and other well-dressed Europeans) gives it a bit of an exclusive pedigree; however, online gambling has definitely made the game more accessible. You can play online Baccarat at Cafe Casino for as little as $1 per hand, and you don’t need to wear a tux if you don’t want to. We’ll show you the ropes in this easy-to-read guide on all things Baccarat.

How Online Baccarat Works

Before we proceed, it’s important to note that online Baccarat is a slightly different game than the one Mr. Bond played. This version is called punto banco, and it’s a game of chance that was rolled out shortly after Casino Royale was published. Unlike chemin de fer, there are almost no decisions to be made during the game – which means Bond wouldn’t be able to fleece the bad guys from SMERSH like he does in the novel. It also means you can pick up this game very easily and start playing in a matter of minutes.

In this version of Baccarat, there are only two sets of cards dealt: one to the Player (punto), and one to the Banker (banco). The idea is similar to Blackjack, except instead of 21, you’re trying to get as close to nine points as possible. You also have three different bets at your disposal. You can bet on either the Player or the Banker winning the hand, or you can bet on the Tie. The Player bet offers a 1:1 payout, the Banker bet pays even-money minus a 5% commission, and betting on the Tie at Cafe will earn you a cool 9:1 when you win – that’s up from 8:1 at most live casinos.

The card values in Baccarat are as follows:

2-9: Face value

Ten, Jack, Queen, King: 0 points

Ace: 1 point

To figure out the value of a Baccarat hand, simply add the card values together, and if the sum is a two-digit number, use the second digit only. For example, if a hand consists of an Eight and Seven, the hand value is 5 (8+7=15, and the second digit is 5). Of course, you won’t have to do the math when you play Baccarat at Cafe Casino. The values will be displayed beside each hand – all you have to do is decide which bet to make.

The gameplay itself is also very basic. Once the Banker and the Player are dealt their initial two cards (all cards in Baccarat are dealt face-up), the winner will be declared on the spot if either of them scores 8 or 9, which is known as a natural. If a natural isn’t dealt, a third additional card might be drawn, depending on what everyone has thus far. First, the Player will draw a third card if their current score is 5 or lower. Then the Banker gets to draw a third card – maybe. If the Player stood, then so does the Banker; otherwise, here’s what they do for each possible hand value:

0-2: Draw 

3: Draw if Player’s third card is 8

4: Draw if Player’s third card is 2-7

5: Draw if Player’s third card is 4-7

6: Draw if Player’s third card is 6-7

7: Stand

Again, you don’t have to memorize these drawing rules when you play at Cafe Casino – everything is done automatically for you, and the winner declared after the drawing is done. But you can still find the drawing rules on the Baccarat chart (known as a tableau) provided in our Game Guide, which you can see to the left of your game display while you’re playing.

Online Baccarat Tips and Strategies

Unlike Blackjack, Baccarat isn’t a game that attracts lots of professional gamblers looking to beat the system. Card counting isn’t possible with online Baccarat; even if you play live, the potential advantage you can gain is considered too small to make it worth the effort – let alone the risk of getting thrown out of the casino. On the other hand, if you find a casino that offers reduced commission on the Player bet, you can lower the house edge significantly. You can even turn the edge in your favor if someone offers a promotion where they take zero commission.

That doesn’t mean you’re completely unable to control the outcomes when you play online Baccarat at Cafe Casino. Since this is a game of chance, and the only control you have over the outcome is your bet selection, online Baccarat strategies are fairly simple – you just need to know the house edge and probability for each of the three bets. And here they are: The Player house edge is 1.24%, the Banker house edge is 1.06%, and here at Cafe, the Tie bet has an edge of 4.85%. That’s much better than the 14.4% edge you’ll find at live casinos paying 8:1 for the Tie.

The Banker bet has the lowest house edge of the three and consequently, it has the lowest payout at 1:1 minus the 5% commission. Those increased odds come from the Banker taking the final turn in Baccarat. The Player has to act first blindly, so their probability of winning is actually a bit lower than the Banker’s. Here are the exact probabilities at Cafe Casino – note that Cafe uses a six-deck shoe for online Baccarat, while most live casinos use eight decks:

Banker: 45.86%

Player: 44.62%

Tie: 9.50%


Multiply those winning percentages by their respective payouts, and you’ll see why the Banker bet has the lowest house edge of the three. You’ll also understand why the following three tips will help you maximize your winnings at the Baccarat tables:

Don’t Bet the Tie

Out of the three betting options, one is indisputably the worst, and that’s the Tie bet. It’s still a fun bet to make with a big payout, though, so if you’re looking to add a little more spice to your game, bet the Tie more sparingly, and consider using a smaller bet size than you would otherwise.

Bet the Banker

To win more frequently at Baccarat, bet on the Banker. The 1.08% house edge is one of the lowest you’ll find at any casino, comparable to most Blackjack games. Again, if you’d rather have a little more variety with your bets, divide them up in accordance with their different house edges; take the Banker a little more often than the Player, and throw in a Tie bet every once in a while.

Be Strategic with Your Bankroll

Because Baccarat is essentially a coin toss, many people use progressive betting systems in an attempt to grow their bankroll. Don’t let this happen to you. Betting systems may look promising, but they’re primarily based on making bigger and bigger bets when you’re losing, with the thought that you’ll eventually come up a winner and make a profit. The problem is, an extended losing streak – and they’re inevitable if you play long enough – can wipe out your bankroll before you can place the next bet.

Instead of using one of these systems, decide ahead of time how much money you want to dedicate to your next session of Baccarat. As a quick rule of thumb, we recommend having enough money in your bankroll to absorb losing 20 straight hands, so if you want to risk $200, $10 per hand would be appropriate. You can also tailor your bet size so that your sessions last a certain amount of time, which will depend in part on how many hands per minute you play.

With that in mind, remember that online Baccarat is meant to be played for entertainment purposes. Managing your emotions is at least as important as managing your bankroll; if you happen to go on an extended winning streak, you might want to end your session right there and leave on a high note. Whatever the case, be sure to wrap things up once you’ve reached your predetermined money or time goals.

Now that you know the ins and outs of Baccarat, try playing a few rounds for free using the Practice Play mode, and see for yourself just how often the Banker bet pays out. With the “New” streamlined version of Baccarat available at Cafe Casino, it’s easy to see how often the Banker wins, because each outcome is recorded in a history chart to the left of the virtual felt. Have fun experimenting with each Baccarat bet, and best of luck when you move on to Real Play.