Interested in trying your hand at online baccarat? You’re not alone fellow Canuck! Baccarat is a favourite in Canada and one of the most popular casino card games around. The game has been around for centuries and long been loved for how quick and easy it is to learn and play. Just how quick and easy? Find out on this page we’ve dedicated to all things baccarat, including its history, basic rules, a few smart tips, a look at the different variations and more.
Ready to embark on your baccarat online adventure? Keep reading or play baccarat games now at one of these top-rated, secure Canadian casinos!
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How to Play Baccarat
Baccarat is often associated with the uber-rich. In posh land-based casinos, it’s the game that’s roped off from the general public and is often reserved exclusively for high rollers. If you’re imagining men and women dressed in their finest, sitting around a card table sipping Dom Pérignon, you’re imagining the right game.
In fact, one particular variant, Baccarat Chemin de Fer, is famously known to be James Bond’s favourite. Ian Fleming’s popular 007 British spy character can be seen playing it in the movies Dr. No, Thunderball, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and GoldenEye.
That said, nowadays, you don’t need to be rolling in cash or Bond to enjoy it. Beyond land-based casinos in Canada, you can play baccarat online anytime of the day or night -- via your desktop or mobile device -- at secure, rewarding and reliable online casinos, no matter the size of your bankroll. Whether you’re at home or on the go, you can enjoy the perks of playing baccarat online free, online for real money and online in live casinos.
How do you play baccarat? If you’re new to the game, that’s an excellent question and one we’ll answer for you right here with the basic rules.
First things first, online baccarat and its variants follow similar rules that apply in brick and mortar casinos. The rules are easy and can be quickly mastered, even by beginners, with the objective of the game being to bet on the winning hand, which is the hand closest to a value of 9 points.
Here are the essential baccarat card game rules:
- Usually, the game is played with eight, standard 52-playing card decks.
- Several players can take part in the game, but there are only two hands dealt and in play in a game of baccarat:
- The Player hand
- The Banker hand * Keep in mind that these are simply names used to identify the hands. The “Player” hand is not yours and the “Banker” hand is not the dealer’s or the casino’s.
- Prior to the dealing of the cards, you bet on one of the hands to win or for the hands to tie.
- The dealer deals two cards face up to both hands.
- Each card has a designated point value:
- Number cards 2 to 9 are worth their numerical value
- 10 number cards are worth 0 points
- Face cards (Jack, Queen, King) are worth 0 points
- Ace is worth 1 point
- If the combined number of points among the two cards is higher than 9, only the right digit of the combined total is counted. For instance, if the Player hand has a 6 and 8, the total value will not be 14 but 4.
- If either the Player or Banker have 8 or 9 points, this is called a “natural,” and both hands will stand, with no additional cards drawn. The hand with the highest value will win or the hands will tie if the value is the same.
- If a natural does not occur, and the Player hand total is 5 or less, the Player hand will hit (draw) for one more card. If, however, the Player has 6 or 7 points, the Player hand stands.
- When the Player hits, depending on the game variant, the Banker’s hand hits (H) or stands (S) based on the following baccarat drawing rules:
10. In the event the Player hand stands with 6 or 7 points, the Banker hand will draw a third card on a total of 5 or less. Otherwise, if the Banker has 6 or 7 points, the Banker hand will stand.
11. The final score of the two hands will be compared. The winner is the hand that has the greater number of points closest to 9. In the event that there is a tie, the Player and Banker bets push.
Typical baccarat casino payouts are as follows:
- Bet on Player – 1-1
- Bet on Banker – 1-1 -5% commission
- Bet on Tie – 8-1
*Keep in mind that simply because you know the basic rules of the game doesn’t mean that you know how to play every version of online baccarat you may come across at a Canadian iGaming destination. Always be sure to read the rules before playing to ensure you have optimal understanding of the gameplay and the odds for the best winning chances.
Common baccarat terms
If you’re new to baccarat online in Canada, here are some of the common terms that apply to the game which you may find helpful when you’re at the table:
- Action – the amount of money a player wagers.
- Baccarat – A hand with a value of zero (0). The worst possible hand in the game.
- Banco – Banco means “Banker” in French, which stems from the game’s French origins.
- Bankroll – The total amount of money a player has to wager.
- Commission – Casinos take 5% commission on players’ winnings from a bet on the Banker. This ensures that the house edge on the bets is always in the casino’s favour.
- High roller – A player with deep pockets who makes large bets.
- House edge – The percentage that the casino has over the player in the game. More specifically, it is the theoretical advantage that the casino has, which means that over the long term, the casino (house) will always win this percentage extra over the player to ensure that the casino always remains profitable and makes guaranteed money from the game.
- Natural – When the first two cards that are dealt to either the Banker or Player hands have a total value of 8 or 9, automatically finishing the hand.
- Punto – The French term for “Player.”
- Hit – Another word for draw; to deal another card to a hand.
- Stand – To hold the total card value in the hand and drawing no additional cards.
Baccarat Strategy – Tips and Tricks
Thinking about giving real money baccarat a try? Before you do, consider a few of these tips and strategies before dropping your Canadian dollars on this super-fun game!
- Read the rules – Don’t just assume you know how to play every baccarat casino game you encounter. Not only will rules be different from one variation to the next, but table stakes may be different, too. Play it smart and know the ins and outs before you bet your CA$.
- Never bet on a Tie – Sure, a tie pays out well, but the odds of a tie are very low, so there’s a far greater chance you’ll lose most of your bankroll before you bet on a tie that wins. As such, it’s almost always in your best interest to avoid betting on a tie.
- Bet on the Banker – When in doubt, always bet the Banker hand. The simple reason is that the Banker will win just over 50% of the time, making it the safest bet. Of course, as the odds are always tipped slightly more in the Banker’s favour, every win has a 5% commission taken from it.
- Keep betting the Banker until it loses -- Capitalizing on streaks is a common baccarat strategy and this is often achieved by making consecutive bets on the Banker until the Banker loses. The reason is there’s a slightly better chance for a streak to occur with the Banker hand due to the better odds. That being said, never be too aggressive with how much you bet. Remember that each bet you make is subject to a house edge and there is no guarantee that a streak with continue.
- Play responsibly – Always keep your bankroll separate from the money you (and your family) need to live (e.g. rent, mortgage, utility bills, food, clothes, etc.). Never play with more than you can afford to lose. If you don’t have the extra money to play baccrat, then don’t play for real money. Gambling may be something that you enjoy, but it is never worth going into debt over.
- Play free baccarat – One of the biggest benefits of playing online or mobile is being able to enjoy free baccarat games. Aside from the advantage of simply being able to play for fun whenever you want and wherever you want, with free online baccarat you can practice your strategies, brush up on your skills, and learn the ropes of new games, all risk-free.
Types of Baccarat Online
There are multiple variants of online baccarat. You’ll discover that these games can be played for free, for real money or live. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Free Baccarat Online
Online baccarat free games include any game of classic baccarat or baccarat variant you find online or via mobile that can be played without you having to deposit or bet any of your money. These virtual games feature a computer dealer and are controlled by Random Number Generator (RNG) software. The vast majority of Canadian online casinos, including most of those that we have personally reviewed and recommended, provide you with the option to play baccarat free.
Naturally, playing without risking your own money means that you can learn games at your own pace, try out new strategies or just enjoy the thrill with no strings attached.
To play baccarat online for free, here’s all you need to do:
- Find a casino that offers baccarat card games by checking for categories like “Card games,” “Casino games,” “table games,” etc. to see if it is offered*
- Check to see if you can play the games without having to first sign up, by hovering your cursor over the game. If you can, there will be a “Demo” “Practice Mode” “Try for Free” or “Free Play Mode,” etc. option.
- If this is not available, it likely means that the casino offers the free play option only to its registered players. In this case, register a free player account, which takes only a few moments. Don’t worry, even if you register a free account, you don’t need to make a deposit to try games that are available for free.
- Pick the baccarat game you want to play and try it out. Play for free as long as you like, whenever you want!
*Check out the CA Casinos in our list to play free baccarat!
Real Money Online Baccarat
Real money baccarat online is identical to the free play version. The only major difference being, of course, that you are placing bets with your own money (or casino bonus money) on the Banker or Player hands. The other major difference is that when you play for real money, you also have the opportunity to play baccarat in a live casino, which is not a free play option.
To play baccarat for real money, here’s what you’ve got to do:
- Create a free account at the casino of your choice (we recommend any of the safe, reputable and premium brands ideal for Canadian players in our list!)
- Make a deposit with the available casino payment method of your choosing
- Pick the virtual or live game you want to play
- Join the table and place your bets
Popular Online Baccarat Variants
Depending on the gaming software they feature, different online casinos offer different variations of virtual baccarat. Some of the most common of these titles that you will come across include:
- Punto Banco – This is a basic style of baccarat that follows the rules we’ve outlined above. The name, which is French, translates to “Player” (Punto) and “Bank” (Banco).
- Super Pan 9 – Played with a limited deck of only 36 cards (6 to Ace). Players are dealt 3 cards and can get an additional card if they want. This version of baccarat is popular among our neighbors to the south.
- Three Card Baccarat – Famous in Asia, this variant is played with one deck and three cards are dealt to both hands. The most-valued hand is the one that has three face cards.
- Chemin de Fer – The role of the dealer is given to the player (or players if there are multiple participants). The players can stand or take an additional card when the Player hand value is 5.
- Baccarat en Banque – The rules are similar to Chemin de Fer with the main difference being that the game is played with three hands instead of only two. Baccarat en Banque is particularly popular in Europe.
Live online baccarat is one of the best ways for Canadians to enjoy an authentic real-world casino gambling experience, anywhere and anytime -- in the comfort of their home, when they’re taking a break at the office, or even when their on the train commute to work.
Live baccarat games take place in real time in land-based gambling studios. They run 24/7 and feature professional human dealers who run the games, interacting and chatting with players. The games are broadcasted via state-of-the-art webcasting technology in HD, delivering a premium experience. Evolution Gaming and NetEnt Live are examples of two live casino providers that host live games available to Canadians.
Here’s how to enjoy live baccarat online:
- Sign up with a Canadian casino that offers live casino games
- Deposit funds into your account
- Select the live baccarat game you want to play
- Join the table and place your bet. If the table is full, you can wait for an opening or try another on as you will find that live casinos tend offer several baccarat tables.
Two of the most popular live baccarat variants include:
- Live Baccarat Squeeze -- Cards are dealt face down and revealed depending on bets placed in the round.
- Live Dragon Tiger – This is a simple and fast version of baccarat. Players simply predict if one of the hands – the Dragon or the Tiger – will win or if it will be a tie.
As previously stated, baccarat games in the live casino cannot be played for free. That being said, you are permitted to view the rules and watch games being played without having to bet.
Baccarat in Canada
How did baccarat become so well liked in Canada? Quite simply put, once Canadians got a taste of it in the mid 20th century, it took off in popularity and never stopped. We love the game’s regal nature, how easy it is to play, how fast it is to play, and that while it is a game of chance, there is a bit of strategy involved to keep every hand thrilling and interesting.
With that in mind, here’s a brief look at the game’s history.
Baccarat history in Canada
Baccarat, pronounced “baa-kr-aa” is a centuries old card game with European roots. The word “baccarat” means “zero” in both the French and Italian languages, and both countries claim to be where the game originated.
One version of the game’s history says that it dates back to the 15th century and was invented by Felix Falgurien, an Italian gambler who first played the game with tarot cards.
Another version of the game’s history says that it originated in France in the late 15th century and was called Chemin de Fer. The game was a hit among the French nobility and due to its popularity, managed to survive and gain even more popularity in underground casinos when it and other gambling games were banned in France by King Louis XIV, in 1837.
Baccarat found its way to North and South America through European immigration, at which point the variation, Punto Banco was born. It was introduced to the casinos of Las Vegas in the 1950’s and, once the US had it, Canadians soon learned of it and the game quickly became popular in our country and has never lost its popularity since. Today, it can be found in land-based and online casinos that offer other classic casino games like blackjack and craps.
Why Play Baccarat Online in Canada
- Play free baccarat – Access a free game of baccarat from your computer or mobile browser instantly to practice, test a strategy or just have fun!
- Play 24/7 – Online casinos are open 24/7/365. Day or night experience thrills your way without ever having to travel to a land-based casino.
- Play anywhere – Want to play baccarat online in your pjs in bed? How about while you’re waiting for an appointment? Play anywhere and everywhere on a variety of platforms including desktop, mobile and tablet. Many casinos even offer free iOS and Android apps!
- Experience live casino thrills – When you want a truly authentic experience, you still don’t need to head to a land-based casino, because live casinos online give you all the magic of real-world gambling action right at your fingertips.
- Wide variety of games – Gain access to several baccarat game variations that are always ready to be played.
- Claim great promotions – New player welcome bonuses, ongoing promotions and VIP perks offered at the best online casinos make it easy for you to make your baccarat iGaming experience that much more rewarding!
Baccarat Final Thoughts
Online baccarat is a fabulous game that is loved by beginners and veteran players alike. You can learn it within minutes and there are plenty of variants to play to keep it interesting and challenging. Virtual and live versions of baccarat can be enjoyed instantly via your computer or your mobile device whenever you want for free or for real money.
Get started by choosing one of the casinos in our list above and start your baccarat adventure now!
You can play baccarat at many online and mobile casinos in Canada, including those we’ve reviewed and recommended. Most iGaming destinations that have this game available categorize it under “Table games,” “Card Games,” or “Live Casino.”
It’s easy to play, fast to learn and is a fast-paced game. Even beginners can pick up the game quickly and master it.
Betting on the Banker hand is thought to be the best strategy when playing Baccarat. The reason is that the Banker hand will win slightly more than 50% of the time, giving it better odds and making it the safest bet.
Yes! Sign up at an online casino that offers a deposit bonus. Most casinos will let you play any of their table and card games with the bonus funds. Sometimes, the bonus even applies to the live casino, giving you a chance to experience live baccarat. To take advantage of regular bonus offers, consider joining a casino that offers daily or weekly ongoing promotions and/or a VIP program.
Bet on the winning hand. The winning hand is the one that has a final score that has a value closest to 9. You can bet that the Player hand will win, that the Banker hand will win or that the hands will tie.
As a general consensus among players, this is the best betting strategy due to the Banker having favorable odds. That being said, remember that baccarat is a game of chance and there is a house edge, with every Banker win having a 5% commission taken from it. Also, wins are never guaranteed.
Ready to test your Canuck luck at online baccarat? Choose one of the amazing online casinos from our list and start playing today!