Baccarat Variations & Side Wagers
Love the game? Here are some more ways to play and boost the excitement with Baccarat.
Commission vs. Non-Commission Baccarat
Usually in Baccarat, the house charges a 5% commission on any winning Banker bets, because the Banker’s hand has slightly higher odds of winning compared to the Player’s hand. Non-Commission versions of Baccarat don’t charge this fee.
The catch? With Non-Commission games, if you bet on the banker and it wins with a total of 6, you only get half your wager back. In other words, there is one specific outcome where even though you technically win, you lose half your original bet.
Big vs. Midi vs. Mini Baccarat
There are three main variations of Baccarat based on the table sizes, the speed of play, and whether players interact with the cards. While the object of the game and rules of play generally remain the same, there are some key differences:
Traditional, “Big” or “Maxi” Baccarat is the original version with up to 14 players at a large table. Players with the largest Player and Banker bets in this version get to look at the cards for that hand before they are announced by the dealer to other players. Viewing the cards first is just part of the fun – it doesn’t add any advantage.
“Midi” Baccarat is played similarly to the traditional version, but played at a smaller table with 9 players. Midi players with the largest bets are also offered cards to view, but the general expectation is for play to move faster than at the Big tables.
“Mini” Baccarat is the smallest version, played at a table of 7. This version is generally played at a much higher speed, achieving maximum hands per hour. In many cases, Mini-Baccarat doesn’t give players a chance to touch the cards, but some casinos do allow it, often in higher limit areas.
Table minimums are often much lower for Mini-Baccarat, giving you a chance to pay less per wager, but the speed of play is faster, which could result in more of your play budget wagered over time.
EZ Baccarat maintains the same general rules as the standard version but provides two additional side bets: Dragon 7 and Panda 8.
Dragon 7 Side Bet
Dragon 7 is an optional side bet on the outcome of the banker’s hand – if the banker’s hand ends up being a three-card hand totaling 7 (as per Baccarat’s standard rules), then the Dragon 7 side bet wins, paying 40 to 1.
How is it played?
After placing your initial player or banker bet, place your side bet on Dragon 7. If a third card is dealt to the banker’s hand (as per the “third card rule”), and the hand total adds up to 7, you’ll win 40 times your side bet.
If a Dragon 7 occurs, it creates one rule change to the main game: all bets originally placed on the banker hand are tied or “pushed” – meaning all players have their original bet returned to them; losers don’t forfeit their original bet, and winners don’t receive an additional winning amount.
Panda 8 Side Bet
Panda 8 is an optional side bet on the outcome of the player’s hand – if the player’s hand ends up being a three-card hand totaling 8 (as per Baccarat’s standard rules), then the Panda 8 side bet wins, paying 25 to 1.
How is it played?
After placing your initial player or banker bet, place your side bet on Panda 8. If a third card is dealt to the player’s hand (as per the “third card rule”), and the hand total adds up to 8, you’ll win 25 times your side bet.
These side bets require a third card to win, and not every Baccarat hand results in a third card being dealt. Stay realistic when placing side wagers, and factor them into your play budget.
Squeeze Baccarat is a minor variation that may be offered by some sites. The rules of play stay the same, except that players get the chance to bend, fold and twist (i.e. “squeeze”) the cards as part of the dealing process. Squeezing has zero impact on the outcome of the game – but it does add some tactile fun for players, creating excitement and anticipation as the numbers are slowly revealed.
Squeezing also makes each round of gameplay slower, so if you’re looking to lengthen your play time without necessarily spending more, this version might be for you.
How is it played?
The players with the highest wagers on each of the “Player” and “Banker” hands are given the cards dealt to that respective position, to squeeze or simply touch/hold. Every hand in Squeeze Baccarat is thrown away at the end of the round, so players can “squeeze” to their heart’s content – as long as it doesn’t fully crumple or rip the cards.
Do I have to squeeze?
It’s fine to just look at your cards, or to ask the dealer to turn them over for you, but the common etiquette is to offer your squeezing privileges to another player if you’re not in the mood.
Make sure not to “squeeze” your cards in any other table games!
Dragon Bonus is a side bet that pays on a natural win, or when a hand wins by a large margin, such as four points or more. Make this wager by betting on either the Player’s or Banker’s hand in the marked area.
Not all casinos offer side wagers. Be sure to check the house rules before you play.
Some tables offer an additional wager called Optional Pairs, with bets placed on Banker’s hand, Player’s hand, or both. This wager wins 11 to 1 if the first two cards for the Player or Banker are an identical pair, for example, two Jacks.