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Baccarat Side Bets Guide — Dragon Bonus Strategy, Card Counting and More

Home > Blog > Baccarat > Baccarat Side Bets Guide — Dragon Bonus Strategy, Card Counting and More
Hands reaching for Dragon bets and counting cards on the Baccarat table.

An all-time favorite card game among casino lovers is Baccarat. A simple yet complicated game when deciding how to bet, Baccarat, also called Punto Banco, is about betting on either the player, the punto, the banker, the banco, or a tie. With three ways to gamble, it’s hard to decipher the best strategies to win big.

Here you’ll find maneuvers, tricks, and systems to improve your betting.

Make sure to also check out our Baccarat Rules Guide.

Side Bets

Perhaps the main reason why Baccarat is so popular is its simplicity compared to other casino table games. It’s an equally risky game, but winnings come from logic and strategic planning.
Because of its straightforward and transparent design, Baccarat can get boring, but casino game developers are regularly creating new twists and rules to the game to spice things up. That’s where side bets jump in.

There are various side bets added to the rules of the game. Now, the actual bets used in each Baccarat version depend entirely on the casino. Check with your casino for a list of side bets and their rules applied to your specific game.

The most popular Baccarat bet selections include but are not limited to the following:

Bellagio Match

Named after a world-famous casino in Las Vegas, this side bet is dealt by an animated dealer in a multi-player game, bet on three-of-a-kind. Payout is 75:1 for a three-of-a-kind player (5.27% house edge) while 68:1 for a banker (8.57% house edge).

3-Card Six

Receive a 100:1 payout if the player and banker have a 3-card 6 hand; the ratio of 8:1 if obtained by one hand only.

Super 6

Applied in British casinos and some online casinos, with a banker hand of a total of six, this bet pays at 12:1. Keep in mind that this is the bet with the largest house edge (29.98%).

Again, these are just a few examples of popularly used bets, but there are tons more, with some bets still in the making.

The Dragon Bet in Baccarat

Arguably, the most relied-on bet out of the Baccarat bet selection is the dragon bet, also called the Dragon Bonus (DB).

The bet’s name was borrowed from a dragon’s ability to wipe out its opponent completely. Thus, the DB permits the player to wager that either the banker or player side will win, but not just a simple 1- or 2-point win, rather a demolishing win by many points. The wager yields a larger payout according to the margin of the turnout.

To play, make a bet on the player or the banker. The gambler wins if the side on which he/she wagered wins by a natural, or an exact 9 points.

Card Counting in Baccarat Dragon Bet

Baccarat card counting is quite effortless to do since the nature of the game is slow, and players can tally their progress at the table on a tracking sheet. Yes, it’s as easy as reporting the numbers.
When it comes to card counting in Baccarat, there are many methodologies. Everyone has their preferred strategy; however, instead of showing different tables and charts, the main point is that there are hundreds of combinations to count cards which then generate millions of chances for winnings.

What all the strategies have in common is their noted observation of the first 10 cards displayed on the table before the betting begins. Some have credited this beginning step as the foundation of their methodology.

Baccarat Betting Systems

Betting systems are dividing into two: positive and negative progression systems. Positive progression systems encourage gamblers to wager higher each time they win, whereas the negative progression system encourages the opposite; each loss calls for a lower wager in the next round.

The thing is, there is no hard evidence of this approach’s effectiveness; it actually has been seen to do the opposite, jeopardizing winnings. That being said, players continue to employ this methodology thanks to simple psychology. When you lose, naturally you want to gamble less, out of fear of losing more.

Check out a few of the prominent Baccarat betting systems.


A classic method used in many casino games, this strategy recommends players to bet the same amount after winning and double their bet after losing. This system is good for quick gambling sessions where you play small amounts of money. Here, the key is when to start betting.


Also applicable to a variety of casino games, this method is the opposite of Martingale. Begin by establishing a fixed betting amount of money. Upon every win, double the amount. Some players only double after three wins back to back, but it’s the gambler’s discretion to decide when to stop.


This is a more complex system that, like Martingale, is focused on recovering from losses by making slow progress, i.e., making smaller wagers. Patience and small bets are key here.


This negative progression system adopts a more flexible approach. Using the Fibonacci sequence where every number is the sum of the two before it (1,1,2,3,5, etc.), you begin by betting the first number. If you lose, continue to the next number. If you lose again, bet the next two numbers. This pattern will continue until you get a win.

These systems are equally suitable for Baccarat online betting, too. Although Baccarat betting positions aren’t as important online as in person, they can still affect your experience for good or for bad. When gambling in the land-based casino, the best position is sitting right in front of the dealer, avoiding edge seats.

Baccarat Bonus Bets

Bonus bets are glorified side bets, often with extra incentives a more complexity. Common bonus side bets are:

Dragon Bonus

As discussed earlier, it’s the method of waging that the banker or player will be a crush, by a significant amount, by the winning side.

Lucky Bonus

The best part about this bet is being commission-free. This bonus gives the player advantage as wagers are gambled on the bankers’ hands being a winning six. No bets can be placed on the banker exceeding more than 10 percent.

All the different bets can make casino goers unsure what playing tactic to use. The best way to establish a system that works for you is to observe, experience, and adapt. Try all the diverse bets and observe the winnings and losses; then adopt the method that suits your needs. Remember, Baccarat is a game of critical thinking, strategy, and chance at the same time.

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