Baccarat in Thailand: The Nation’s Most Popular Card Game

Baccarat in Thailand: The Nation's Most Popular Card Game

Baccarat enjoys a special place in the hearts and minds of the Thai people, making it their top choice when it comes to gambling. This game has remained a favorite pastime for Thai gamblers well into the 21st century. However, Thailand’s fascination with baccarat dates back approximately 150 years. During the 1800s, baccarat held a central role in the country’s high-society gatherings and social events. Despite various attempts by the government to suppress this activity, none were successful in breaking the strong bond between Thai gamblers and the game. So, what makes Baccarat so popular among Thai players?

History Behind Thailand’s Love for Baccarat


While most of Southeast Asia experienced European colonization in the 19th century, Thailand, known as the Kingdom of Siam then, remained an exception. Despite never coming under European rule, Thailand absorbed various Western influences.

Around the early 20th century, the French introduced Thailand to popular European gambling games, including roulette, vingt-un, and baccarat. These games quickly gained favor among the Thai elite, who frequented upscale gambling establishments nationwide. However, baccarat emerged as the standout favorite, symbolizing opulence in high-society circles.

Affluent Thai individuals likely gravitated toward baccarat because it demanded both luck and strategic thinking. Knowledge of baccarat became a marker of education and wealth, signifying an ability to indulge in expensive pastimes.

However, baccarat remained open to more than exclusive social clubs and luxurious casinos. Its popularity crossed social boundaries, attracting gamblers from all backgrounds. Fast-forward to the 21st century, where baccarat boasts a diverse following across Thailand, yet it undeniably retains its association with sophistication in the modern era.

What is Baccarat and How It’s Played?

To understand why baccarat is so popular in Thailand, it’s important to grasp the game’s rules. You can find everything you need to know about baccarat rules at Baccarat is a card game where players face off against the banker. Each hand, often called a coup in baccarat terminology, presents three possible outcomes: banker, player, or a tie. The banker is more likely to win, as the game inherently favors them, featuring a house edge of just over 1%.

However, baccarat offers more than a simple player versus banker-contest. Additional players can actively participate by placing extra wagers. Many side bets are available for such participants, including options like Perfect Pair and Royal Match, to name but a few.

Is Baccarat a Game of Skill or Luck?


The outcome of every baccarat coup is completely random, but this game isn’t just about luck. It’s also about skill, given that there are dozens of bets one can place, each with a different pay and probability.

The lucky 8 bet, for example, pays up to 200 to 1. You’ll get your bet multiplied by 200 if the dealer and the player get three eights of the same suit. It’s a lucrative bet, but this outcome is unlikely, with a winning percentage of under 1%.

Some side bets that come with a better probability include the following:

  • Perfect Pair (25 to 1 payout): 3.34%
  • Player/Banker Pair (11 to 1): 7.47%
  • Either Pair (5 to 1): 14.2%
  • Big (2 to 1): 31.8%
  • Small (3 to 2): 37.8%

Figuring out when, how much, and what to bet on requires some knowledge of the game’s rules. It also requires some advanced math skills and an elaborate bankroll management strategy. For all these reasons, calling baccarat just another game of chance would be completely wrong. For success in baccarat, you need both luck and skill.

Where Can Thai Gamblers Play Baccarat?

Unfortunately, for those interested in trying their luck with Baccarat in Thailand, there are no legal casinos within the country where this game can be played. The Gambling Act of 1935 was enacted to restrict most forms of gambling activities in Thailand, with the exceptions being horse racing betting and state-controlled lotteries. However, this doesn’t mean that baccarat enthusiasts have abandoned their passion.

In the 20th century, Thai gamblers participated in underground baccarat games or traveled abroad to satisfy their gaming cravings. Thailand’s neighboring countries, such as Laos and Malaysia, have been known for their gambling-friendly environment for decades. Additionally, the Philippines and Macao, the world’s largest gambling hub, are easily accessible by air.

The growth of the internet in the early twenty-first century resulted in a movement among Thai baccarat fans toward online gaming. The introduction of mobile technology improved access even more, allowing players to enjoy baccarat from various devices. It is already widely believed that a sizable proportion of Thai players chose online baccarat as their preferred way of playing.

How Do You Play Baccarat Online?


In Thailand, online casino gambling exists in a legal gray area devoid of specific regulatory frameworks. Consequently, people interested in playing Baccarat at online can do so without significant legal concerns. This has resulted in a notable presence of online gambling platforms operating under licenses from reputable authorities, such as Curacao or Malta, welcoming Thai players.

Some online casinos go above and beyond to cater to Thai players, offering competitive bonuses and including the Thai baht (THB) as a currency option. Furthermore, specific websites are available in the Thai language and provide customer support services. In addition to these features, some online gambling platforms offer the opportunity to participate in live baccarat games with Thai-speaking dealers, further enhancing the gaming experience for Thai enthusiasts.

Final Thoughts

Baccarat’s popularity in Thailand demonstrates the game’s ability to stand the test of time. Introduced by the French in the early 20th century, baccarat has become a symbol of luxury and education in Thai society. Its unique combination of chance and strategy and a wide array of betting options continue to thrill players.

Despite the absence of legal casinos in Thailand, the love for baccarat remains steadfast. Thai enthusiasts have adapted to changing circumstances, shifting from underground games and foreign trips to embracing online gambling. Today, online platforms customized to cater to Thai preferences offer a convenient and accessible avenue for enjoying baccarat, complete with enticing bonuses, currency support, and the option for live dealer experiences. As Thai culture continues to evolve in the twenty-first century, baccarat remains as popular as ever.

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