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Baccarat 101:

How To Play Baccarat for Beginners

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The tingle of playing table games, especially baccarat, is unmatched in the gambling industry. In land-based casinos, baccarat attracts large crowds of people. That alone showcases its pristineness and popularity among players globally. We’ve all watched the classic James Bond film’ Casino Royale.’ The game in the movie is baccarat, and that also exhibits the universality of the classic table game.

Therefore, it’s the most played table game since it’s easy, and a novice can play with slight experience. Even with little panache, you can win big at a baccarat table if you’re lucky enough. However, there are basic playing rules that you need to understand before playing. That will come later in this article guide.

Over the years, there has been a steady rise in the launch of online casino platforms in the iGaming industry. While that’s excellent in the gambling niche, players have an uphill task of hunting down the best casinos offering baccarat. But we’re saving you that hassle with our expert recommendations. Keep reading to discover more about playing baccarat.

A Brief History of Baccarat

Baccarat’s origin is mysterious. Legend has it that its origin dates back to 14th century Italy. Some say the game’s origin goes way back to 14th century France. Researchers also claim baccarat was invented in ancient China from the tile game Pai Gow, which means ‘make nine,’ in English. Others claim an Italian croupier, Felix Falguierein, innovated the game.

However shaky the history, most historians come to a stalemate that baccarat’s origin is from Italy and France. The game’s also known as ‘Baccara,’ an ancient French and Italian term meaning ‘nothing’ or ‘zero.’ Interestingly, the word ‘Baccara’ symbolizes the value of the picture cards and all tens in the game, that equates to zero. Hence, the widely accepted baccarat.

From Italy, the game quickly advanced in France, becoming popular among France’s elite gamblers. In France, amongst the wealthy nobles, the game was referred to as Chemin de Fer. Baccarat quickly spread from there to Great Britain and the USA. In North America, it’s where it became most favored, going by the name Punto Banco. Despite having a somewhat unclear history, we can all agree the game is thrilling, fun, and has some of the best odds. Probably the reason why high rollers fancy the game.

The Baccarat Shift

Before the game’s 21st century admiration, it used to be played in offline or land-based casinos. The baccarat table is usually about the size of a craps table. The table has three dealers and up to 12 players in these offline casinos. Although you’ll find brick-and-mortar casinos in the 21st, they aren’t famous as online casinos.

Thanks to technology, you can play the various baccarat variants, including the live version, without visiting any offline casinos. Modern game software developers such as Evolution Gaming, Pragmatic Play, and Microgaming have developed the game. Therefore, you can play online via your portable devices and PC with an Internet connection being the only requirement.

The live version of baccarat is hosted via a live video stream in real-time, with the dealer always present. The experience is authentic as it’s in offline casinos.

Basic Baccarat Rules

Playing baccarat is as easy as you like food. That’s because you have only three major wagering options. The most common ones include Punto-player or Banco-bank. You bet on the player’s hand or the banker’s hand. You can also bet on a tie. However, it’s not advisable to wager on the tie bet despite having charming odds if you win.

Baccarat is a card game with 8 decks of 52 playing cards. That’s the standard of play in land-based casinos. Online casino platforms use either 4, 6, or 8 decks, but that depends on the software provider supplying the game. As stated earlier, a baccarat table has up to 12 players, but the table on online platforms is usually small.

A hand’s value can’t be higher than 9 since it’s the highest score in baccarat. That’s the first rule any rookie should know before playing the game. As in Blackjack, baccarat’s cards are also assigned values. However, points in baccarat are calculated differently than in other table games.

Card Values

Before learning to add points, you need to know the values assigned to all the playing cards. Note: Joker cards do not appear in baccarat as it’s with many table games. The cards from 2-9 are worth their pip value.

For example, card number 4 is worth its numerical value 4, and so on. Picture cards such as Queens (Q), Jacks (J), and Kings (K) are worth zero (0) points. Tens are also worth zero points. Finally, aces (As) are worth one point. Consider the table below.

 

              CARD                VALUES
Cards from 2 to 9Pip/face value, 2=2/9=9
10s and Picture cards (K, Q & J)        0 points
Aces (As)         1 point

 

The points in baccarat are added differently, and the value of hand that’s closest to 9 is the one that wins. When a hand’s value reaches double numbers, the 2nd number in the total automatically becomes the hand’s value.

The second digit will always determine the score of a hand. For example, 12 is worth 2, and 10 is worth 0. You drop the 1st digit, and you’ll have the hand’s value. Also, as an example, a hand with an 8 and 7 theoretically adds to 15. Therefore, you drop the first digit and remain with 5. So, that hand’s worth 5 points.

Reminder: a bet on a hand that’s closest to 9 wins. And you can wager on a tie, player, or banker’s hand.

How to Play Baccarat

Now you have a rough idea of playing baccarat, and you can wager with real money at one of our recommended online casinos. Gameplay begins with players placing one of three types of bets, as mentioned above. As common ground with all table games, no cash is allowed. You will need playing chips, which you’ll exchange for money at the casino’s cashier’s section.

These chips are of different colors ranging from green, white, black, red, orange, to purple. Each chip color has its unique value depending on the casino. After placing bets, the dealer will then give 2 cards each to the player and banker. The total’s hand is calculated as explained above. The winning hand is the one with a value of 8 or 9, and that’s a ‘natural.’

A ‘natural’ is a hand totaling eight or nine after dealing the first two cards. If there’s a natural hand, the round ends, and all bets are collected or paid out. If both the player and the banker don’t have a natural, a third card may be drawn under the following rules:

The player’s 3rd card rule

  1. A player will get a 3rd card if his hand total is less than 5. However, a player’s hand will stand if it has a total of 6 or 7 points.
  2. If the player doesn’t draw a 3rd card, then the banker’s hand gets a third card if it has a total of less than 5. Also, the banker’s hand will stand if it has a total of 6 or 7.

The banker’s 3rd card rule

  1. No matter the player’s third card, the banker will always get a 3rd card if it has a total of 2 or less.
  2. A 3rd card will be drawn if the banker’s hand has a total of 3, but not if the player draws 8 as the third card.
  3. The banker gets a third card with a 4, but not if the player draws 0,8,1, or 9 as the 3rd
  4.  With a total of 5, the banker gets a third card but not if the player draws 0, 2, 3, 8,1, or 9 as the third card.    
  5. The banker will never get a 3rd card with a 7 unless the player has 6 or 7 as his third card.
  6. No 3rd card is drawn if the banker’s hand has 7 as its total. The bank stands.

When playing baccarat, the most known gambler’s hack is that you should mostly bet on the banker’s hand. However, there are other various strategies you may use to increase your bankroll and spoils. These baccarat strategies include; the Martingale System, Fibonacci Strategy, Paroli System Labouchere System, and the D’Alembert System.

Although no strategy guarantees total success, you’ll have a better chance of multiplying your earnings using the above baccarat techniques. While you’re at it, please remember to play responsibly because gambling can be addictive. For that reason, we’ve compiled valuable tips you may use while playing baccarat.

Handy Baccarat Tips.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the rules as that will help you make competent gambling decisions.
  2. Set limits. You can set betting limit amounts to avoid overspending on gambling. Also, you can set playing time limits and stick to them.
  3. Wager on the banker’s hand. That’s because it has a more significant house advantage even with the 5% tax levied on winning hands. The banker’s hand has a 1.09% advantage compared to the player’s with a 1.24% advantage.
  4. When you have three straight losing or winning streaks, take a break first until the game’s streak ends.
  5. Avoid betting on ties even though they have irresistible odds. That’s because the house advantage on that bet is high- 14.4%.
  6. Perfection calls for practice. Finesse comes at a cost, and luckily our expert casino commendations offer it for free. You can practice playing baccarat on the demo variants of the game at these casinos.

Baccarat Variants

Without a doubt, baccarat is an admirable game among gamblers both online and offline. The game has several variants, and the variant you get entirely depends on the casino you frequent. Some are different from others, but there are standard versions you’re certain to find in most casinos.

These variants include punto banco, mini-baccarat, chemin de fer, and baccarat banque. In addition, the live version of baccarat is also popular among gamblers. You’ll find in online platforms speed baccarat, squeeze baccarat, and no commission baccarat- to name a few. To distinguish all the standard variants, we’ll explain their differences.

  1. Punto Banco

It’s also known as American baccarat, and it’s the version most played in online casinos. Its rules of play are the ones we’ve discussed above, and so you’re now well-equipped. It’s straightforward to learn and has three main bet types.

Although, only two bet types are common. That is, player-punto or bank-banco, hence the name ‘Punto Banco’. You may also bet on a standoff /tie, but we strongly advise against that. All winning hands in this version are subject to a 5% commission. It’s a game of kismet and chance, but if played well, you can reap fortunes.

  1. Mini Baccarat

It’s also known as Mini Punto Banco since it’s the smaller version of the first variant. The difference is that it has a smaller table with a maximum of only seven players. Also, it has just one croupier compared to the two or three in Punto Banco.

That makes this game version fast, taking about 30 seconds to complete. The rules are the same as with Punto Banco, and you can also place side bets. In addition, the stakes are lower compared to its main variant, probably why Punto Banco is much-coveted by high rollers.

  1. Chemin de Fer

You don’t need a Ph.D. in rocket science to decipher the phrase ‘Chemin de Fer‘ is French. It translates to ‘railroad’ or ‘railway’ in English. It’s mainly played in France, and it’s almost impossible to find a casino offering this version of baccarat.

Its rules are similar to Punto Banco’s, except that the players here wager against each other. That means that each player turn takes to become the dealer, hence betting against each other. The house provides all prerequisites of the games and still has the 5% winning commissions. The main difference is that the 3rd card rules are flexible. Players here can decide whether to draw a 3rd card or not.

  1. Baccarat Banque

Also known as Baccarat à Deux Tableaux or Two Table Baccarat, Baccarat Banque is similar to Chemin de Fer. The banker, who’s one of the players, remains the banker until he goes bankrupt or decides to step down.

The table here has two halves with six players on each half. They all play against the banker and not each other. Also, players take turns in drawing and in shuffling the cards. The responsibility doesn’t solely fall on the banker. Pagat expertly explains this version in vivid detail.

Baccarat Payouts & House Edge

The house edge is the amount you stand to lose on average per unit bet in favor of the casino or the house. To simplify, it’s the mathematical advantage of a casino, usually expressed as a percentage. In baccarat, it varies depending on the bet you’ve placed.

The player bet has a 1.24% house edge, the banker bet has 1.06%, and the tie bet has a 14.6% house edge. Among all other casino games except Blackjack, baccarat’s house edge has the best odds available to gamblers. In baccarat, the house always has the bigger advantage.

That’s because the banker’s hand has a 45.8% chance of winning compared to the 44.6% chance of the player’s hand. That’s why we advise mainly betting on the banker’s hand as you have more winning opportunities. However, baccarat is a chance game. Therefore, you can’t be 100% certain which hand wins next. A standoff/tie will win 9.6% of the time.

Payouts

The payout is even (1:1) if you bet on a player’s hand and it wins. For example, if you wager $10, you win an extra $10. So, you’ll have a total of $20. A banker’s hand-winning bet will payout (19:20). That means a wager of $10 will bring back $9 on top. So, you’ll have $19 in your bankroll. The missing $1 is the house’s 5% commission.

When you wager on a tie bet, it means you’re betting for both hands to have a similar count. A standoff’s payout is (8:1). For example, a $10 winning stake on a tie bet will reward you with an extra $80! So, you’ll have $90 in your account. Some casinos may offer a (9:1) payout for winning tie bets. In addition, some platforms may also offer side bets such as Player Pair, Banker Pair, Perfect Pair, and Either Pair. However, the availability of side bets depends on the casino’s software provider.

Note: If there’s a tie, all banker’s and player’s hand bets will be pushed or returned. That’s because neither hand has lost nor won.

Where to Play

You now know the strategies and the different bet types you can wager at online casinos. We’ve winnowed them all, and we’re suggesting only the top-shelf platforms with top baccarat variants, including the live version.

Strict gambling commissions like the Malta Gaming Authority and the Government of Curacao license the operations of these casinos. Hence, you’re sure of having a safe gambling experience with fast withdrawals and unmatched 24/7 customer support.

The games at our casinos aren’t manipulated but are fair since the casinos use an RNG software that determines results. Therefore, at no point will the outcome of the baccarat variant you’re playing be fixed. Playtech, Microgaming, NetEnt, Evolution Gaming, and Pragmatic Play are the sought-after providers that supply games at these casinos. If you’re a baccarat expert, these software developers need no introduction.

Lightning, Speed, Squeeze, Punto Banco, and Mini-Baccarat are some variants you’ll find in the lobby of our recommended online platforms.

Conclusion

Baccarat is an elegant and classy table game with massive popularity among gamblers globally. It’s the most straightforward table game you will ever find. With only three types of bets; punto, banco, or tie, your chances of winning are exponential.

Using our handy tips and following basic baccarat rules and strategies, you can increase your bankroll while having fun. If you have a gambling problem, our casinos provide links where you can get free help. Also, they enable you to set deposit limits and self-exclude from gaming for your desired period. Therefore, register at any of our top-ranked casino platforms for an exquisite baccarat experience.

Stephany loves gaming, she is especially fond of bingo games, blackjack, slot machines, and old school Nintendo. She has a special place in her heart for Sega and online poker.