Are Baccarat Side Bets Worth It

Are Baccarat Side Bets Worth the Risk?

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Updated on: 22 Mar 2024
Dean McHugh

Are Baccarat Side Bets Worth the Risk?

Baccarat is a popular and unique casino card game that comes in various formats. Baccarat mainly comes down to 3 betting options: whether to bet on the player, the banker, or a tie. The house edge of baccarat is determined by which of these 3 bets you choose on any given round. The house edge of betting on the player is 1.24%, whereas betting on the banker will provide a lower house edge of 1.06%. Ties are generally not recommended as they have a massive house edge of 14.36%.

You can get a full overview of the game rules here.

What are baccarat side bets?

In addition to the 3 main betting options, numerous baccarat tables offer the player the possibility to place side bets. These act as additional bets that may be offered by a baccarat table and must be placed on top of one of the three main bets.

Baccarat side bets also come in various shapes and sizes, so it’s important to know what options are available when playing. Placing side bets will tend to drive up the house edge percentage, depending on the side bet in question. It is, therefore, recommended only to place side bets if you have the budget to sustain them.

Here is a breakdown of just some of the baccarat side bets available.


Pairs can come in the form of Player Pairs, Banker Pairs, Either Pairs, or Perfect Pairs. Banker and Player Pairs require the first two cards drawn to be a pair from the banker or the player, not both. It pays out at a rate of 11 to 1. Either Pair means that the bet will win if either side draws a pair in their first two cards, and so pays out at a slightly lower rate of 5 to 1. Perfect Pairs requires a pair of the same suit to be drawn. This is unlikely to happen but pays out at a rate of 25 to 1. The house edge decreases the more decks are in play.

All Black/Red

Betting on black or red isn’t just associated with roulette. In baccarat, betting on All Black or All Red requires all cards in the hand to consist of the same colour. Only the colour matters, so it can still be a blend of hearts and diamonds when betting on red, for example. All Red pays out at a rate of 22:1, while All Black baccarat side bets come at a rate of 24:1. The house edge does vary a lot between black and red. All Red side bets have a large house edge of around 14%, while All Black side bets have a lower house edge of 6.53%.

Bellagio Match

The Bellagio Match baccarat side bet requires a hand consisting of three of a kind. This could be three 7s or three Queens, for instance. The payout depends on whether you are betting on the player or the banker to achieve a Bellagio Match. There is a 68:1 payout and a house edge of 8.57% when betting on the banker. Betting on the player provides a 75:1 payout with a house edge of 5.27%.

Dragon 7

The Dragon 7 side bet requires a hand of three cards, equalling a total of 7 points. Two 2s and a 3 would equal 7 points, for example. This comes with a house edge of 7.61% and a payout rate of 40:1.

Dragon Bonus

The Dragon Bonus is a slightly more complicated side bet, as it changes depending on the margin the bet is won by. It requires betting that either the banker or the player will win with a natural 8 or 9. The margin for the win must be 4 or more with the payout depending on how big the margin is.

  • A margin of 9 pays at a rate of 30:1
  • A margin of 8 pays at a rate of 10:1
  • A margin of 7 pays at a rate of 6:1
  • A margin of 6 pays at a rate of 4:1
  • A margin of 5 pays at a rate of 2:1
  • A margin of 4 pays at a rate of 1:1

A tie will result in a push for the bet. Betting on the player comes with a house edge of 2.65%, while the house edge for the banker is 9.37%.

Matching Dragon

The Matching Dragon side bet is an evolved version of the above-mentioned Pairs betting option. Rather than just looking for a pair, however, the Matching Dragon side bet is searching for as many of the same ranked cards as possible. The payout increases the more matching cards are present in both the players’ and the banker’s hands.

  • 1 matching card pays at a rate of 1:1
  • 2 matching cards pay at a rate of 3:1
  • 2 matching cards pay at a rate of 20:1
  • 2 matching cards pay at a rate of 40:1
  • 2 matching cards pay at a rate of 60:1
  • 2 matching cards pay at a rate of 100:1

Baccarat side bet tips & strategies

chips, cards, and an arrow to symbolise potential increase in baccarat bankroll

Before wagering any real money, it is important to fully understand what side bets are available at any given baccarat table. This can vary greatly from table to table, and between online casinos, so grasping this first will allow for more effective strategising. It is also important to keep the overall budget in mind, as side bets will require an additional wager, which will require additional funds from round to round.

A common piece of advice is to avoid betting on ties in baccarat due to the high house edge of 14.36%. The same advice can also be attributed to side bets. The All Red side bet, for example, also comes with a high house edge of 14%. A high house edge is offset by larger payouts, so it is important to pick a limit to the house edge that would be comfortable. This can vary from player to player, but generally speaking, the lower the overall budget, the better it is to stick with lower house edges.

It is important to get comfortable with different baccarat tables and the various side bets they may offer. Thus, online baccarat tables that offer a demo mode can be highly valuable. Being able to experiment with a few rounds of play without risking any real money is a great way to learn the game and see how different house edges can affect the state of play.

A popular strategy is to also follow the banker-only or player-only method. This simple system requires betting on one side or the other until that side loses a hand. From there, simply switch over to the other side. This strategy simplifies decision-making and also makes it easier to get a grip on the various side-bets that can vary in house edge and payouts depending on which side is being bet on.

Are baccarat side bets worth it?

Baccarat side bets add further risk/reward mechanics that can be worth it on a subjective level. Side bets are usually suited for more experienced players and players with a higher budget to spend. An extra layer of bet variety helps keep the game exciting and fresh while offering further potential to win big.

With that being said, it is recommended for newer players to first get a grasp of the standard rules before diving into more complex side betting that carries additional risks. All side bets come at the cost of requiring an additional wager, as well as a higher house edge. Many side bets also run counter-intuitive to many common baccarat betting strategies. Dragon 7, for example, is a highly specific side-betting option that will often not fit in with other specific strategies.

Deciding whether diving into baccarat side bets is worth it should be taken on a table-by-table basis. Make sure to check the house edge and payouts whenever possible to make an informed decision. Playing baccarat without any side bets can still offer a lot of fun, especially with the low house edges. Only place side bets that are at a comfortable level and ensure you play within the means that your budget allows.

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