Online Baccarat Guide: Bet on the Banker or Player?

Ah, the age-old question: To win less money more often, or more money less often? That’s the decision you face playing real money Baccarat when you choose whether to bet on the Banker or the Player. And that’s without taking the Tie into consideration. We’ll help you make that tough decision by looking closely at the game of Baccarat and how it works.








How to Play Online Baccarat

When you play online Baccarat for real money at, you’re playing the version called punto banco, in which all the decisions at the table are made automatically for you – except for who to bet on, and betting amount. Unlike Blackjack, where it’s always the Player taking the Dealer head-on, Baccarat features a Player and a Banker, and you can bet on either one winning, as well as a Tie.


The object with all online Baccarat games is to get the higher scoring hand. Tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth zero points, Aces are worth one point, and the remaining cards (from the standard 52-card deck) are taken at face value. The best possible score in Baccarat is nine points; once you accumulate over nine points, the first digit is removed from the score, giving you a single digit score.


Every hand of Baccarat starts when you place your bet. Then the Player and the Banker will each receive two cards, face-up. If either hand adds up to eight or nine points, that hand is a natural (not unlike a natural 21 in Blackjack), and it’s immediately declared the winner – as long as the other hand isn’t equal or better.








If neither Baccarat hand is a natural, a third and final card might be drawn, depending on which cards are in play. Again, this will be done instantly for you when you play Baccarat online. Live establishments have what’s known as a tableau that shows everyone the drawing rules; if you’d like to follow a similar chart while you play Baccarat online at, you’ll find one in the game description to the left of your display.


Here are the drawing rules for Baccarat, broken down step-by-step. The Player’s hand is always counted first; if they have 0-5, they draw a third card, and if they have 6 or 7, they stand. Then the Banker’s hand is counted. If the Player stood, the Banker goes through the same motions, drawing if they have 0-5 and standing if they have 6-7. If the Player drew instead, then the Banker takes the following action, based on their score thus far:


0-2 points: Draw
3: Draw if Player’s third card is 0-7
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


Once that process is complete, the winning bets get paid, and it’s on to the next hand. Note: The virtual Baccarat shoe at contains six decks, reshuffled after every hand (most live casinos use eight decks these days). The minimum bet on any one hand is $1, and the maximum is $500.








Bet on the Banker

Now that you know how the game works, which bet should you make? Like we said, it’s a dilemma. The Banker’s hand has the highest probability of success, winning 45.87% of the time when a six-deck shoe is used. This happens because the Banker’s decisions are made last, which is an advantage in many card games – it’s known as being in position when you play poker. Being in position leads to more wins; when neither side gets dealt a natural with the first two cards, the Player is always forced to draw on 0-5 and stand on 6-7. Then the Banker gets to respond.


While the Banker bet wins more often, the payout is the lowest of the three bets in Baccarat. Winning bets on the Banker pay out at 19/20, or even-money minus a 5% commission. Since there’s no strategy involved in punto banco Baccarat, the house edge for the Banker bet is always the same: 1.06%, also the lowest of the three bets in question.



Bet on the Player

Then you have the Player bet. The Player’s hand wins 44.63% of the time, and winning bets pay out at even money, no commission attached. Even with the bigger payout, the Player bet generates a house edge of 1.24%, which is a little bit more than the Banker bet – but still one of the most reasonable edges you’ll find at any casino.



Bet on the Tie

Lastly, there are those occasions where both Baccarat hands have the same value. This happens just 9.51% of the time, but when it does, winning bets are paid out at a healthy 9/1. While the Tie bet is obviously the most exciting bet in Baccarat, it does come at a premium: The house edge is 4.85%, which is comparable to American Roulette at 5.26%. Watch out if you’re playing Baccarat at a live venue, where the payout for the Tie bet might only be 8/1 instead of 9/1, for a sky-high house edge of 14.44%


Since there’s always a house edge attached to all three of these Baccarat bets, these games should be played for entertainment, not as a way to generate money. So bet according to your style – do you want more wins with a lower payout, or fewer wins with a higher payout? The choice is yours ultimately, but if you want to stretch your entertainment dollar as far as possible, try making the Banker bet a little more often than the Player bet, then sprinkle in the Tie every once in a while. Keep your bet size identical for all three, make sure you have enough bets in your account so you can play enough hands, and you’ll get the most value out of your time at the Baccarat tables. See you there!