A game that can be traced back to the royal courts in Europe, Baccarat is often considered a game of chance that is exclusive to the very wealthy and those who enjoy playing high roller games. While this table game may be kept behind velvet ropes in brick and mortar casinos, online casino baccarat is freely accessible to everyone who loves a good card game!
The objective of Baccarat, which is pronounced BA-CA-RAH is to receive cards to the value of 9, or as close as possible to that value. Usually played by two or more players, you place bets as to whether you think the Banker or the Dealer will win that hand.
The Banker can be any player at the table ready to play along. You’ll need to choose if you think the Banker or Player will win the round, or if there will be a tie – where the Player and Dealer have identical card values.
The card values in Baccarat are very different to a game like Blackjack and the key to winning the game is closely linked to which cards each player receives.
In the game of Baccarat, you’ll want to get your hands on low-value cards to enjoy a win!
How do you play Baccarat with confidence?
Baccarat is a table game where a dealer issues cards to each player as well as deals a set of cards for themselves. Many online casinos not only offer Baccarat as a standard table game but also offer it within the live casino experience.
While the full-sized Baccarat table is set for 14 players, many tables have places numbered 1 to 15, number 13 is always open…
The table is also marked with a space where bets can be placed for:
- The Player
- The Banker
- A Tie
At the start of each game, you’ll need to place your bet in one of these 3 boxes as you try to predict the outcome of the hand about to be dealt.
In the case of mini-baccarat, everything stays the same in terms of the setup, but the table is set for 7 players.
Place your bets
Now that you’re seated at the virtual table, the dealer will offer you the opportunity to place your bets in one of the 3 boxes.
In the first round, each player at the table will receive 2 cards, and both cards will have their values clearly displayed. If the Player or Banker has cards that add up to the value of 9 at that point, it is considered a Natural Hand and, whoever is closer to 9, wins!
If the card values are between 0 and 5, the Banker and Player have the opportunity to draw another card.
Should both the Banker and Player have cards that have the same value, whoever placed a bet in the Tie box, wins the round.
Dealer’s third card drawing rule
After the first 2 cards are dealt, there are specific rules the Dealer needs to follow which are dependent on the value of the cards dealt. A third card can be in play if:
- Banker has 7, 8, or 9
- Banker has 6, and the Player had cards valued at less than 5, Player can request another card
- Banker has 5, and Player’s third card was between 4 and 7, he takes another card
- Banker has 4, and Player’s third card was between 2 and 7, he takes another card
- Banker has 3, and Player’s third card was any card besides 8, he takes another card
- Banker has 2 or less, he takes another card
Once everyone has compared their cards, the one who is closest to 9, wins.
Understanding Card Value Calculations
If Math isn’t your strong suit, then playing Baccarat online is perfect for you! All of the Math is done for you so there is no need to even think twice about giving it a try.
There are a few basic card value principles to understand before diving into the wonderful world of Baccarat.
Let’s look at an example:
- Player: a King which equals 0 + 7 = 7
- Banker: 7 + 5 equals 12
Since the Banker’s value is more than 10, then 10 is automatically deducted from the total, and the Banker’s hand value is now 2, while the Player is 7. Using the rules above, the Banker can take another card.
Once the new card is added, if the Player is still closer to 9, the Player wins.
Subtracting 10 for hands where card values total more than 10 is an easy way to calculate which player has won that round.
Standard Baccarat is also known as punto banco (“American baccarat”).
Baccarat chemin de fer (“chemmy”), and baccarat banque (“à deux tableaux”) allows for the player to choose whether or not to take cards.
In Baccarat Banque, the game features a permanent Banker responsible for dealing the cards and setting the opening bet. Other players can “go bank” and match the opening bet, or team up with another player to split the stakes.
As you learn the rules of the game, you will come across a whole new language of terms that may be confusing when you’re just starting out. Here are a few basics to get you on the right track:
- The Shoe – This is where the playing cards are stored before they get dealt. Most casinos keep between 6 and 8 decks in play for every game to minimize the chance of card counting.
- Coup – The name given to a single round of Baccarat including both the Banker and Player hands
- La Grande – A French term used for a natural hand where the first two cards dealt add up to 9. The 9 can be made up using an Ace plus 9, 2 plus 7, 3 plus 6, 4 plus 5, or a face card/10 plus 9
- Le Petit – The French for “the little one” for a hand where the first two cards dealt add up to 8. This can be made up of an Ace plus 8, 2 plus 6, 3 plus 5, 4 plus 4, or a face card/10 plus 8.
Is Baccarat a game of skill?
While it is often called a game of skill, the random nature of the cards being dealt makes it more of a game of chance. Aside from the Math skills required to tally up the totals, you can simply sit back and enjoy the game while waiting for the winners to be announced.
Practice can always benefit the number of times you win, simply by recognizing patterns in Baccarat and knowing when to take another card and when to stand.
Baccarat may take more skill than spinning the reels of a slot machine however, it doesn’t require as much skill as a game like Poker.
House Edge Drawcard
Baccarat is known to have the best odds at the casino which makes it, theoretically, more possible to win. While betting on the Banker (around 1.06%) vs betting on the Player (around 1.24%) have very similar margins when it comes to the house edge, many casinos take a commission of up to 5% for Banker bets.
Tie bets look like the safe choice and offer a grand payout of 8:1 or more, while the house edge is a whopping 14%! This means you have a better chance of paying that 5% commission and betting on the Banker.
Now that you know how to play Baccarat, it should be easy for you to put this information into practice to win games online.
What is the best bet in baccarat?
Aside from understanding card values and how to add, the next skill to hone in the game of Baccarat is whether to bet on the Banker, Player or Tie. Each option has benefits that need to be considered.
Using the House Edge is a good place to start when looking at which option is more likely to win on average. By definition, the House Edge is the average amount taken by the casino for every wager.
Tie Bet House Edge: 14%
Betting on a tie is something that many new players do in the hopes of landing a big win! Remember: The house edge is larger on this betting option for good reason.
Player Bet House Edge: 1.24%
Betting that the Player will have the upper hand is an excellent middle ground, especially given the fact that the Player has room to move, depending on which cards they are dealt. The Player isn’t as tightly bound as the banker which makes this a good option when it comes to placing your bets.
Banker Bet House Edge: 1.06%
Just looking at the stats, betting on the Banker holds more keys to success than any of the other options.
Going with the option that has the lowest house edge is an excellent strategy to follow, especially when it comes to starting out while you’re still learning the game.
Two main strategies exist when it comes to playing the game of Baccarat:
Follow the Shoe – This requires you to keep track of who won the last 3 rounds. For example, if the Player won the last 2 rounds and the Banker won the other round, you would logically assume that, if you bet on the Banker, there is a stronger chance you would win the next round.
Martingale – Martingale betting strategies suggest that you double your bet with the confidence that winning is just around the corner!
Can you win money playing baccarat?
As with all games of chance, it is perfectly possible to win money playing Baccarat. While it doesn’t take long to learn the rules, practising what you’ve learned can go a long way to aid in your success.
The best part about online casinos is how many allow you to gamble using free virtual credit. This is a great way to see how the game plays and how to hone your skills. Of course, when you play casino games in demo mode, wins are all for fun. Once you have built up your confidence, signing up for an account and depositing real cash to play games for real money can lead to big wins!
Using all the information provided above, you should feel well equipped to play Baccarat online and at brick and mortar casinos. While learning a new game can be daunting, making use of our casino and game reviews can go a long way to ensure a positive experience at a reputable and licenced casino operator.
Gambling should always be fun! Thanks to a range of support tools offered by both online casinos and casino game software providers, there are a myriad of options available to ensure you remain in control of your gambling habits:
- Reality Check – Casino game providers offer a built-in message that pops up a reminder every hour to let you know how long you’ve been playing
- Deposit Limits – Online casinos encourage players to set daily, weekly or monthly deposit limits when they create their profiles to aid in better money management
- Take a Break – Players can lock their accounts for 24 hours to 6 weeks in order to seek counselling or support