Most popular Baccarat variants
The game of Baccarat comes in many styles and flavours. Most likely originating from Italy – although some claim it to be French in ancestry – the most popular Baccarat variation played today is North American Baccarat – also known as Punto Banco.
Baccarat is the most popular casino card game in Asia and as a result, most Baccarat variants have absorbed some delicious oriental flavours, particularly in the side bets.
Baccarat is also globally popular because the rules are easy to learn and the game is simple to play, offering some of the lowest House odds of any games in the casinos.
While Baccarat is a game of chance, seasoned players often employ betting strategies to add some spice to the game and profits to their bankrolls. The basic rules are very similar across all Baccarat variants, including online Baccarat variations.
- Chemin de Fer
Commonly referred to as “Chemmy,” Chemin de Fer is the Baccarat variation most often played in Monte Carlo and across France, most notably by James Bond, among other famous Baccarat players.
Translating as “Railway,” Chemin de Fer is the original version of Baccarat and is notable for rotating the Banker (Dealer) between players. Memorable points about Chemin de Fer:
- The casino does not bank this game. It only officiates, collecting a five percent (5%) commission on successful Banker bets in return
- The Banker (Dealer) sets the bet value maximum
- The player betting that maximum amount or closest to it is designated as the Player, the only individual besides the Banker to receive cards
- Six or eight decks of cards are used
- The Banker pays out winning bets at 1:1 less the commission
- The Player cannot bet on the Banker and vice versa
- Punto Banco
The most popular of the Baccarat variations, Punto Banco (Player/Banker) is synonymous with modern Baccarat and is offered by casinos worldwide, including online casinos.
The Casino is the Banker (Dealer) and plays against a designated “Player.” Individuals can bet on whether the Banker will win the hand, the Player, or it results in a Tie. Memorable points about Punto Banco:
- Punto Banco is synonymous with Baccarat, also known as North American Baccarat
- Punto Banco is the most popular version of Baccarat
- The rules are simple and easy to learn
- Punto Banco offers a low House edge, one of the lowest of all casino games
- Punto pays out Player win s at 1:1 and Banker wins at 1:1 less a 5% commission
- Punto Banco is typically played with eight decks of cards
- Baccarat Banque
Baccarat Banque, sometimes known as Baccarat à Deux Tableaux (Two table Baccarat), is most similar to Chemin de Fer among the Baccarat variants. This version sees a player designated as the Banker, usually the individual making the highest bet.
Also, the Banker holds the unique right to wager on their own hand, all others must bet on the Player’s hand, unless they challenge with an equal valued bet. The designated Banker holds their position until the Shoe is emptied, is no longer able to finance bets, or voluntarily gives up the position. Memorable points about Baccarat Banque:
- This variation of Baccarat is more common in Europe, particularly in France. It shares a number of similarities with Chemin de Fer
- Baccarat Banque is typically played with three decks of cards
- Baccarat Banque deals three hands of cards; two Player hands (one for each of the two tables) to be wagered on, and the Banker’s hand.
- Only the two Players’ hands can be bet on
- The Banker sets the maximum wager limit and must play against two Player hands
- Baccarat Banque typically pays out at 1:1 for Player wins and 1:1 for Banker wins, less a 5% commission
- In Banque Baccarat, cards are typically dealt face down
- No Commission Baccarat
As the name clearly states, No Commission Baccarat eliminates the troublesome House commission of 5% charged by the casinos on winning Banker bets. But this discount usually comes at a price. In most cases, rather than paying odds of 1:1, the House will choose a number value and only pay 0.5:1 when the Banker wins with that total.
For example, if the number is six, all other winning Banker bets not totalling six points will payout at 1:1. In every other sense, this type of Baccarat is exactly the same as Punto Banco – North American Baccarat. Memorable points about No Commission Baccarat:
- No Commission Baccarat eliminates the pesky 5% commission paid on the winning Bankers’ hands
- This is a marketing tool to attract players. Overall, No Commission Baccarat offers less favourable odds than other Baccarat variations
- No Commission Baccarat is typically Punto Banco
- No Commission Baccarat is one of the most popular online Baccarat variations
- This variant usually pays out 1:1 for winning bets on both the Bankers and Players hands
- A particular Banker hand value stipulated by the casino will only pay out 0.5:1 to make up for the loss of commission income
- EZ Baccarat
Another of the variations of Baccarat that eliminate the 5% commission on winning Bankers hands, EZ Baccarat – unlike No Commission Baccarat – actually offers better odds overall than traditional Baccarat (Punto Banco).
All winning Bankers’ hands pay out at 1:1, with one notable exception; when a three-card Banker’s hand adds up to seven. When this happens, the Banker’s bet is a push. By eliminating the calculation time involved with paying commissions, EZ Baccarat is played faster than the majority of Baccarat variations. Memorable points about EZ Baccarat:
- EZ Baccarat has a House edge of 1.02% per hand, lower than the traditional Baccarat House advantage of 1.06%
- The House Edge on the Player Hand (1.24%) and the Tie (14.36%) are the same as traditional Baccarat. These results payout at 1:1 and 8:1 respectively.
- EZ Baccarat is usually played with six or eight card decks.
- European Baccarat
Harking back to the original game, this is one of those types of Baccarat that closely resembles the original and as such, has fewer rules. This particularly pertains to the rules stipulating the conditions for drawing a third card.
In European Baccarat, if the Player draws a five-point hand, they have a choice as to whether or not to take another card. Once the Player has made a decision, the Banker is also free to select a third card, regardless of hand value. Memorable points about European Baccarat:
- When a hand draws five points, Players have the option to draw a third card.
- In European Baccarat, Banker reserves the option to draw a third card at any time.
- The winning Player hand pays out at 1:1. The winning Banker hand pays out at 1:1, less a 5% commission
- In European Baccarat the Banker is typically financed by the House
- The Banker decides maximum bet values
- American Baccarat
American Baccarat is synonymous with Baccarat. The version played today was imported to Las Vegas from Havana, Cuba, and is also commonly known as Punto Banco (Player/Banker) as a result of this Spanish language origin.
Originally a High-Rollers game sequestered off in a private area, American Baccarat has developed mass appeal worldwide and remains one of the most popular types of Baccarat. Memorable points about American Baccarat:
- American Baccarat is Baccarat, also known as Punto Banco
- The game is simple to learn and easy to understand
- Three main bets are available; the Banker bet, the Player bet, and the Tie
- American Baccarat is typically played with eight card decks
- Winning Bankers bets are charged a 5% commission by the House
- Baccarat Squeeze
Baccarat Squeeze is an online Baccarat variation introduced in 2016. Using high-resolution cameras, Baccarat Squeeze is live-streamed and can be played on desktop and mobile devices. Following the same rules as traditional Baccarat, this variant differs in that the cards are dealt face down.
To raise excitement levels, highly trained dealers “squeeze” the cards for bettors to see, adding a heightened sense of drama to the game. Memorable points about Baccarat Squeeze:
- An extremely popular variant of Baccarat that can be played online
- Baccarat Squeeze follows the same rules as traditional Baccarat
- The drama of dealers squeezing the cards does not affect game outcomes
- Winning Players’ hands pay out 1:1. Winning Bankers’best hands pay out 1:1, less a 5% House commission
- Dragon Tiger
Dragon Tiger has to be among the most simplistic Baccarat variants in that it has refined the game down to two cards, one called Dragon, the other, Tiger.
Players bet on which card will have the highest value. Not widely known outside Asia, Dragon Tiger offers a wealth of side bets very similar to those made on traditional Baccarat. Memorable points about Dragon Tiger:
- Any number of card decks can be used to play Dragon Tiger
- Bets consider which card – Dragon or Tiger – will be the highest in value
- Ties lose half (50%) of the bet value
- Traditional Baccarat offers much more favourable odds
10. Mini Baccarat
Mini Baccarat is one of the Baccarat variants players are most familiar with. Based on Punto Banco, Mini Baccarat follows the same rules and only differs in that the table limits are much lower, enabling many more people around the world to enjoy the game.
Mini Baccarat is the most common type of Baccarat offered in casinos and online. Set around a smaller table, another difference is that players are not allowed to touch the cards. Memorable points about Mini Baccarat:
- Mini Baccarat is a version of Punto Banco that offers lower table betting minimums
- Mini Baccarat is the most common version of the game available online
- This variation of Baccarat has the same odds and payouts as Punto Banco
All of the variations of Baccarat are played at a table, including the online Baccarat variants. Once the exclusive realm of High Rollers, the Baccarat tables were typically sequestered in a private gaming room or designated VIP area of the casino.
While this history is in great part what gives Baccarat its cachet, today players can take a seat at a choice of tables that offer their preferred game experience.
- Big Table Baccarat
Big Table Baccarat is the original High Roller game environment that still maintains a designated area of the casino reserved for qualified players. Expect high-value minimum bets and eye-watering table limits, and don’t be shocked by a dress code requirement.
The Big Baccarat Table is typically an oval shape, sometimes with a well in the centre and has the numbers from one to as high as fifteen (1-15) clearly marked along the sides to accommodate fourteen players.
Number thirteen (13) is omitted and occasionally the number four (4) in a hat tip to superstition. Each numbered seating position has a designated box drawn on the table that contains three betting sections; Player, Banker and Tie.
- Mini Baccarat
Familiar to the vast majority of gamblers, the Mini Baccarat Table is found in virtually every casino and is the model for online virtual Baccarat tables. Half the size of a Big Baccarat table, the Mini typically accommodates seven (7) players at a semi-circular table who sit across from the dealer.
Designated betting areas are marked that allocate for Banker, Player and Tie bets. The Mini Baccarat table is so familiar because it offers low table minimums, making Baccarat affordable and enjoyable for any gambler.
- Midi Baccarat
Midi Baccarat tables make an effort to split the difference. While big tables offer fourteen players comfort and Mini tables accommodate seven, the Midi baccarat table hosts nine players and also offers them the opportunity to touch the cards in some cases.
Expect to see Midi tables where Live-Action Baccarat is streamed over the internet through online casinos.
Which Baccarat Variation should you choose?
After tasting some of the many flavours of Baccarat, let’s talk about putting the cherry on the cake. For most gamblers, the most delicious part of Baccarat is winning! Part of the recipe for making Baccarat as sweet as it can be is learning the rules, odds, bets and payouts. You’ll find the best information about Baccarat on our Baccarat Rules page.
Learning about the different Baccarat strategies experienced players use to maximize profits is a perfect seasoning that can be added to your pot of knowledge. For great information about Baccarat Strategies, you can visit our dedicated page.
Baccarat variants with the lowest house edge
A huge part of what makes Baccarat so popular worldwide is the low House edge when compared with other casino games. Between the variations of Baccarat, there are small differences in the House edge that players might want to consider when choosing a favourite game.
|Baccarat Variant||Lowest House Edge (Banker Bet)|
|Baccarat (Punto Banco)Baccarat BanqueBaccarat Squeeze||1.06%|
|Chemin De FerEuropean Baccarat||1.17%|
|No Commission Baccarat||1.46%|
|Dragon Tiger||3.73% (Dragon or Tiger Bet)|
Baccarat variations that payout the most
Baccarat is a game that attracts numerous side bets with a wide range of payouts. Of the primary Baccarat bets – Banker, Player, Tie – the Tie bet offers the highest payout. Players should also consider that the Tie bet attracts the worst odds.
That said, for those who like it spicy and wish to feed their appetite for risk, these are the variations of Baccarat with the highest payouts;
|Baccarat Variant||Highest Payouts (Tie Bet)|
|Baccarat (Punto Banco)Baccarat BanqueBaccarat SqueezeEuropean Baccarat||8:1 or 9:1|
|Chemin De FerNo Commission Baccarat||8:1|
The best variants to try when you’re new to casino
Baccarat is a very simple game to learn and easier to play. Most of the variations of Baccarat are based on the same basic rules. Among the easiest ways for beginners to familiarize themselves with gameplay is by watching live-streamed Baccarat games or trying free-to-play demos online.
- Punto Banco
This is the purest, simplest variation of Baccarat, and also the most popular. Punto Banco is ideal for beginners and teaches the basics of Baccarat in an easy-to-learn, fun format.
- EZ Baccarat
The name says it all. EZ to learn and EZ to play, this variation of baccarat is a great introduction to the game. EZ Baccarat also offers the best odds and the comfort of learning the game online in comfort, both great advantages while players become familiar with the betting choices and game procedures.
Types of Baccarat to play if you’re a pro
For those who need no introduction to Baccarat but have an insatiable appetite for the action and thrills Baccarat provides, a couple of variations are on the menu.
- Dragon Tiger Baccarat
Distilled to its simplest form, Dragon Tiger Baccarat bets on the outcome of two cards, but the profitable side bets are what add spice. Experienced players bring the heat by employing betting strategies and opting for high payout opportunities like the Dragon 7 side bet that offers 40:1 odds. Panda 8 leans vegetarian and is slightly tamer, offering 25:1.
- Chemin de Fer
There’s something about the French variation of Baccarat that attracts the High-Rollers. Apart from the mystique and noble surroundings associated with “Chemmy”, seasoned players know that where there are high-stakes tables, there are big rewards. Chemin de Fer is a variation of Baccarat that requires a strong stomach, steely nerves and a thick bankroll.
Baccarat variations you should avoid
Baccarat – in nearly all of its forms – is a relatively simple game to learn and play. In considering what variations of Baccarat to avoid, players should first recognize their existing skill levels and match to the most appropriate games.
- Beginners would be wise to avoid Chemin de Fer, European and French Baccarat until they become familiar with the added layers of complexity that surround switching Bankers, and the House position as an officiating one only. While these variations are not difficult to master, the basics of Baccarat should be learned by playing Punto Banco.
- Dragon Tiger Baccarat, while only considering a total of two cards in play, has a higher House edge than most variations of Baccarat and as importantly, a number of side bets that do take some time and effort to become familiar with. The side bets are a fascinating and rewarding aspect of all variations of Baccarat, but might be best learned when playing Punto Banco or EZ Baccarat.