Baccarat is without a doubt one of the most popular casino play games ever invented. Like most casino play games, there have been some changes over the past 200 years or so. The history of Baccara goes back to hen Napoleon was still in charge of France and people were playing a three-person casino game called baccarat banque. This was soon followed by a two-player game play called chemin de fer, which James Bond famously plays in the Ian Fleming novels and early films. Today, when you play online Baccarat at Bovada Casino for real money, you’re playing a newer game play called punto banco that was first developed in Cuba in the 1940s, but still a fun play at any casino, online or live.


The great thing about punto banco is how easy it is to play live or online. You don’t even need to know all the game rules to play Baccarat for real money; you can simply place your play bet on either the Player (punto) or the baccarat Banker (banco) to have the better hand, or you can bet on the Tie. All the game dealing and drawing is done automatically, based on pre-determined rules – no decisions required, online or live. However, if you want to increase your baccarat enjoyment of this great casino game, this online Baccarat guide will show you how the rules for drawing work, so you can better follow along while you play Baccarat online at Bovada.


Keeping Score in Baccarat

First, a quick reminder how this baccarat game works, for those of you just learning how to play Baccarat. It’s a bit like Blackjack, but the goal is to get as close to nine points as possible instead of 21. Like Blackjack, there is no rule differences between online and live. Players and the baccarat Banker each receive two cards face-up from the standard 52-card deck; a six-deck play shoe is used at Bovada Casino, compared to the eight-deck play shoe you’ll find at most live casinos. Aces are worth one point in Baccarat, Kings through Tens are worth zero, and all other casino cards are worth face value.


Unlike Blackjack, it’s impossible to go bust in Baccarat, live or online. The highest possible score is nine points; if players' two play cards add up to more than that, simply ignore the number in the “tens” column and look only at the number in the “ones” column. For example, if players' get dealt a Six and a Seven, the score isn’t 13, but 3. This might take a little getting used to at first, but it shouldn’t take long to get the hang of it after several games at Bovada's online casino.


Drawing a Third Card

Here’s another thing that makes Baccarat so simple: Players and the Banker can only draw one more card, instead of multiple cards like Blackjack. Whether or not a third card is drawn depends mainly on what score you and the Banker have with their first two cards. If either of them is dealt 8 or 9 (also known as a “natural”), no more cards are drawn – either the better hand wins, or it’s a Tie at any live or online casino.


Things get a bit more complicated if neither the Player nor Banker is dealt a natural. First, we look at the Player’s score. If it’s 6 or 7, the Player will stand; if it’s 5 or less, the Player will draw a third card. That’s easy enough to remember. Then it’s the baccarat Banker’s turn, and this is where the tableau comes in. The tableau (French for “table”) is a chart that shows you all the possible draws for the casino Banker, based on what their score is after the first two cards have been dealt – and the Player’s third card. Here’s an example, with the letter S for “stand” and the letter D for “draw.”


Banker's Score Player's Third Card
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
7 S S S S S S S S S S
6 S S S S S S D D S S
5 S S S S D D D D S S
4 D D D D D D D D S S
3 D D D D D D D D S D
2 D D D D D D D D D D
1 D D D D D D D D D D
0 D D D D D D D D D D

One find a version of this tableau in the online game description to the left of one's display when one goes to play Baccarat at Bovada Casino. These are also used at live casinos to help patrons keep up with the action. All one has to do is find the baccarat Banker’s score on the left, then stay on that row and look to the right for the Player’s score. If there’s a D in that space (or some other indicator), the Banker draws a third card. That’s all there is to it; once all of the cards have been dealt, the scores are added up and the winning bets get paid out for real money.


Of course, if you really want to get the most out of your online Baccarat play experience, it will help if you memorize the drawing rules for both the Player and the baccarat Banker. The online tableau is a great reference tool, but it’s not easy to memorize as a chart. Instead, try the following list, presented in order of the Banker’s score from lowest to highest:


  • 0-2: Draw
  • 3: Draw if Player is dealt 0-7 or 9
  • 4: Draw if Player is dealt 2-7
  • 5: Draw if Player is dealt 4-7
  • 6: Draw if Player is dealt 6-7
  • 7: Stand


As you can see, the baccarat Banker draws less often as their score increases, which makes sense – the further away you are from nine points, the more likely you should be to draw a third card. Knowing that will make it easier for you to remember the drawing rules for Baccarat. Once you have them down pat, you can ignore the tableau entirely and focus on the cards as they’re being dealt, which will improve your enjoyment of the baccarat game.


Position Is Power

Understanding the order of the draw (you first, then Banker) will also help you understand the real money payouts for Baccarat games. If you bet on the Player and win, you get paid out at even money. If you bet on the Banker and win, you get even money minus a 5% commission. So why bet on the baccarat Banker? Because they have a better chance of winning than the Player at any casino, live or online. The baccarat Banker doesn’t have to draw until the Player acts, which is a considerable advantage; just like in poker, the baccarat Banker has position over the Player.


You can see how important this advantage is when you look at the house edge for these two bets: With a six-deck shoe, it’s 1.24% for the Player bet, and 1.06% for the baccarat Banker bet. Being aware of this difference makes it easier for you to get the most value out of your betting patterns, and we’re more than happy to let you know about it – yet another reason Bovada's online casino is the best site to play Baccarat online.


Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, give Baccarat a spin today for free using the “Practice Play” mode at Bovada's online casino. Consult the online game play description and the tableau as required to help you learn the drawing rules, then switch to Real Play mode and put your real money down once you’re ready. The more you practice, the more you’ll learn, and the more you’ll enjoy the game. Good luck when you play Bovada's online casino games for real money.