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The name of Baccarat is exotic, and you might think it’s a complicated game. It’s also known as Punto Banco and always had the reputation of being for the richest gamblers and that usually scared of the average player. You’ve probably even seen it in a James Bond movie. Nowadays more and more people are discovering that Baccarat is really a good game for the small-stakes player because it has a relevantly small advantage for real money online casino while it is straightforward to play! It’s fun and offers a great gambling experience.
All the best online casinos offer tables for baccarat, especially in their live casino version! Baccarat online is one of the games that attract new players, since even if you play for the first time, you have the same chances of winning as the most experienced players. You can play online Baccarat on the best online casinos our experts reviewed for you!
Some of the fancy land-based casinos will offer large Baccarat tables that can seat up to 14 players, but most casinos will offer the so called mini-Baccarat tables, which can seat up to eight players. In online casinos the live dealer is dealing just for you. The game is played pretty much the same way, except that in the mini version all of the hands are dealt out by the dealer and the players never touch the cards. Also, another difference is that betting minimums will always be lower on mini-Baccarat and it’s usually pretty easy to find a table with a $10 minimum.
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The casino game of Baccarat is very simple to play. And that’s because the only decision you have to take is what bet you want to make. There are three available: Player, Banker or Tie.
After the players place their bets the game begins and 2-card hands are dealt from a shoe that usually contains 8 decks of cards (in some mini-baccarat there can be 6 decks of cards). One hand is dealt for the banker and another hand is dealt for the player. The player’s hand is acted upon first, then the Banker’s hand. Player and banker are the two hands in this game. So, there could be a winner (player or banker) or a tie.
Values of the two cards in each hand are added together and the object of the game is to have a total as close to 9 as possible.
After the values of the first two cards in each hand totalled, either the player or the banker or both can get a third card. Note that the decision as to whether or not deal a third card is neither the dealers’ or the players’. It is pre-determined by the rules of the Baccarat game.
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Baccarat is as volatile as flipping a coin. This makes it very exciting, but also difficult to apply an optimal strategy.
In order to play baccarat successfully, you should keep an eye on your bankroll and know that you don’t have to bet every round. That’s also why card counting has no meaning!
All the 10’s and Face Cards count as zeros, while all of the other from ace to nine (9) count at their value. For example a hand of King – 6 has a total of 6, while a hand of 10 – 3 has a total of 3 and a hand of Jack – Ace which would be great hand to get in Blackjack, only counts at Baccarat as a total of 1.
When adding the cards together, no total can be higher than 9. So, if a total is 10 or higher you have to subtract 10 to determine its value. You can just drop the first digit of the sum and you’ll find the value of the hand. For example, 7 and 7 totals 14, but you subtract 10 (or drop the first digit of 14) and your total is 4, while 7-4 has a total of 1 and 5-5 has a total of zero (0).
Remember, the object of the online Baccarat game is to have a total as close to 9 as possible. So, after the first two cards are dealt, if the player or banker has a total of 9, which is called a “natural” and is the winner. If neither hand has a total of 9, then the next best possible hand is a total of 8, which also is a natural is going to be the winner. In the occasion that both the player and the banker end up with the same total, then it’s a tie and neither hand wins.
Rules for drawing or standing in Baccarat online
If neither hand has an 8 or 9 then you have to consult the rules of the game to decide whether or not to draw a third card. This is the only part of Baccarat online that gets a little confusing. Trying to understand the rules concerning the draw of a third card for the banker. Remember though, that the rules are always the same at every table and you can print a copy of them so you can have them in front of you. After playing some Baccarat games for a while, you will start to remember those rules on your own, but until then, here’s a rundown on how it works. Just remember that its always the player hand that goes first:
- Draws a card, if he has a total of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5.
- Stands, if he has 6 or 7.
- Natural (Banker cannot draw) if he has 8 or 9.
- Draws a card, if the first two total 0, 1, or 2.
- Stands, if the two total 7.
The only other possible totals the bank can have are 3, 4, 5 or 6 and the decision as whether or not to draw a 3rd card depends on the third card the player got.
- If Banker’s two cards total is 3: Draws a third card if the player’s third card is 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-9-0 and Stands if the player’s third card is 8.
- Banker’s two cards total is 4: Draws a third card if the player’s third card is 2-3-4-5-6-7 and Stands if the player’s third card is 1-8-9-0.
- If Banker’s two cards total is 5: Draws a third card if the player’s third card is 4-5-6-7 and Stands if the player’s third card is 1-2-3-8-9-0.
- Banker’s two cards total is 6: Draws a third card if the player’s third card is 6-7 and Stands if the player’s third card is 1-2-3-4-5-8-9-0.
Once that’s over, you add the card values together again. And, whichever hand is closest to a total of 9 is the winner. If both hands end up with the same total, then it’s a tie and neither hand wins.
The rules might seem complicated at first, but you don’t have to memorize anything. The dealer knows the rules and will play each hand by those.
Baccarat online betting
If you want to bet on the player hand, just put your money in the area marked as “player”. In case you win, you will get paid at even-money (1:1), or one coin for every coin you bet. The casino advantage on the player bet is 1,24%.
Betting on the banker, you place your bet in the area marked as “banker”. If you win you will also be paid off at even-money, but you will have to pay a 5% commission on the amount you win. So, if you won a $100 on your bet, you would have to pay 5$ commission to the house and your total winning will be $95. The casino requires 5% commission only if you win, and not if you lose.
Online casinos withdraw this commission immediately, while in land-based casinos the dealer will keep track of the amount you owe by putting an equal amount in a small area, that corresponds to your seat number at the table. So, if for example you are sitting at No5 and won $100 on the bank hand, the dealer would pay you $100 and then put $5 in the #5 box. This lets him know how much you owe the casino in commissions and when you get up to leave the game, you will have to pay the dealer whatever amount is in that box.
After adjusting for that 5% commission the house edge on the banker is 1,06%.
Never bet on the tie
Finally, if you want to bet on a tie, you would place your bet in the area marked “tie” and if you win you will get paid off at 8-1, or 8 coins for every one coin you bet. A big payoff sounds always nice. But actually, this is a terrible decision, since the house edge is a very high 14,36%. That’s why you should avoid this bet.
Casino advantage in Baccarat is very low, except for the tie bet. The rules are set in advantage, so neither the players or the dealer can make any decisions about how to play the game. This means that, unlike Blackjack where you have to decide whether or not you want another card, in Baccarat you have no decisions to make and you don’t have to involve any skill. It’s simple, as that.
Baccarat online is purely a guessing game, so even if you have never played the game before, you can sit and play just as well as anyone who’s playing the game for decades! It is the only game in casino online where this can happen. And that’s why we insist that Baccarat online is an especially good game for beginners because you need no special knowledge to take advantage of those low casino-edge bets.
Play free Baccarat online
Top online casino providers offer you the chance to play games Baccarat for free. Exactly as with video poker. You will find those popular games usually under the category of table games and on most providers you will be able to test yourself for free trying the demo game with play money.
- The mini-Baccarat variant is available both in land-based casinos and in online casinos. Mini Baccarat follows the same rules as the glamorous mother game, with a few subtle differences:
- There is only one croupier instead of two or three as in the stationary casinos.
- The game takes place at a semicircle table and has room for only seven players.
- The dealer deals all cards face up.
The Mini Baccarat table is currently the most common variant as in casinos as well as in online casinos. The live casino version, on the other hand, has its own advantages and disadvantages.
A table with only one player/banker field is often available in live casinos. All bets are digitally processed separately for each player and each of the players only sees their own bet result. That is why this version has its own advantages and disadvantages.
You don’t see how many players play and what bets they make. However, there is more screen space for all other aspects: cards, dealers and statistics. This is precisely why this variation is particularly popular among smartphone and tablet players.
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Tips and tricks to win at Baccarat table
- Always keep in mind the casino edge, the house advantage. Those numbers give you a clear indication that you can bet on the Banker and be a winner in the long term. There is a reason that a Banker win comes with a 5% commission, since the Banker is in a stronger position for a winning hand, drawing a third card only depending on what the player has.
- Avoid the tie bet and all side bets as well. The house advantage is huge. For the tie bet it’s 14,36 and for some side bets even higher (Perfect Pair 17,07%, Either Pair 14,54%, Banker Pair 11,25% and Player Pair 11,25%)
- Usually playing Baccarat online, the shoe has six decks, but this may change from casino to casino. The number of decks used affects slightly the house edge.
Baccarat history and versions
There are strong signs that the game is from Italy. Baccara means “nothing” in Italian. In modern baccarat, tens and face cards count as zero. The game apparently made its way from Italy to France in the late 15th century. King Charles VIII is credited with bringing the game to his compatriots.
Baccarat is a European game. It quickly became popular in casinos on the French Riviera and this popularity generated various variations of baccarat. Nowadays, most continental European players prefer the Baccarat spin-off game “chemin de fer.” The version we all know and love came from the British. As the British Empire spread across the world, more people learned the game. The British version is also the version that was exported to America.
Baccarat was introduced in Las Vegas in the 1950s. It first appeared in the Dunes Casino. The next time you go to a casino, check out the action in the baccarat boxes. Some players bet whole carloads of money per hand. Even if you can only afford a few hands with a lot of effort, experiencing baccarat live is something that you should not do at least once in your life.
Punto Banco and the railway
There is the North American Baccarat (Punto Banco), Chemin de Fer (“railway” in French) and Baccarat Banque (goes also with the name of “A Deux Tableau”). The North American baccarat is the most popular version. Even though if the Chemin de Fer is often available in Europe’s casinos.
There are some specific rules that differentiate these variations of baccarat. These have more to do with the role of the croupier and how he deals with the third cards. In the American game, for example, the banker does not have to use his own money and is only part of Baccarat ceremonially. But regardless of these small changes in the game, the basic rules of baccarat are always the same, and the game runs according to the same process.
The rules of the development of the game that decide which hand wins, are the same in every version.
Punto Banco is the most simplified version of baccarat, which is why it is played most. Here are some differences between the versions of Baccarat.
- In Punto Banco, every player can bet on Banker, Tie or Player. At Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque, the player will always play with the hand of the ‘player’.
- At “Chemin de fer”, which means railway in french, the banker will change most, namely every time a banker loses his hand.
- In Βaccarat Banque, or “Deaux tableaux” which is French for “two tables”, the banker will play against two hands.
Baccarat online FAQ
What is the best bet in baccarat?
According to the science of mathematics and statistics, the best bet in Baccarat is on the banker. Even with a 5% commission on every bet won, in the long term betting on the banker is slightly more profitable.
Is there any skill in Baccarat?
No! Since you bet before the dealer deals and, neither the players or the dealer can make any decisions during the game, no skill is needed.
Where can I play Baccarat online?
You can try Baccarat online on the top casino providers listed here. You can check those casino reviews and find which suits you the best!
Do casinos cheat in online baccarat games?
Remember always to check and play in legitimate casinos. Those have a license and are audited by regulators and third-party pros. So, if you play at a legitimate online casino, then Baccarat games you play on that site are safe. If casinos were cheating, then those audits would turn up suspicious activity.
Should you always bet Banker in baccarat?
It is the safest wager in Baccarat since the house edge is the smallest from all other bets. And the probabilities to win are slightly higher. But, it doesn’t mean you have to stick on this! Baccarat is like flipping the coin, so you can follow your instinct every time.