What is Baccarat
Baccarat is a very popular casino game that originated in France during the 19th century. The game is also known as Punto Banco, where Punto stands for “Player” and Banco for “Banker”.
Punto Banco spawned as a variant from original Baccarat, but nowadays these two overlap and usually fall under the same set of rules across casinos worldwide.
Baccarat is much more acclaimed across land casinos in comparison to their online counterparts, as high rollers have acquired a great taste for this game over the years.
You can easily find stories of hundreds of thousands – if not millions, being wagered on exclusive VIP tables at famous land casinos across Macau, Vegas, Monte Carlo and Atlantic City.
Despite the game holding the fate of millions by the day, it is quite easy to understand and even easier to play. Baccarat hosts a handful of rules you could learn, but your knowledge of said rules will not have an effect of the outcome of your bets, as this game completely revolves around luck.
Nonetheless, those curious enough can read on and learn this intricate card game in and out.
How to Play Baccarat
As is the case with most table games, Baccarat is played against the house rather than other players, where the house uses 6 to 8 standard decks.
Before we dig into the actual game flow, we must take a look at how cards are valued at Baccarat, as this can be one of the most confusing aspects for new players.
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 = FACE VALUE
10, J, Q, K = 0
ACE = 1
Every Baccarat table features three types of bets you can make: PLAYER, BANKER or TIE. There’s no restrictions in terms of what and when you can bet on – all types of bets are open for players each round.
Theoretically, the Banker bet has a small advantage over time, as the house edge is slightly favored over that of the Player bet.
The caveat here is that winning Banker bets are subject to a 5% commission (from the winning sum), which more or less evens things out in the long run. In simplest terms, it hardly matters whether you bet on Player or Banker, but you should never bet on Tie, as the risk heavily outweighs the potential reward.
To determine the winner (Player or Banker) of a Baccarat round, the total sum of all cards (minus the left digit – if the sum is a two-digit number) is calculated, and the winner is the side whose total amount is closest to 9.
The left digit of the total sum is always excluded in Baccarat, meaning you should only look at the right digit. We’ll list some examples to illustrate further:
If a hand consists of a 5+A, the sum would be 6. If a hand consists of an 8+8, the sum would still be 6, as we’re removing the left digit from the actual sum (16). If a hand consists of a K+6, once again we end up with a 6, as cards starting from 10 and above have zero value (0).
Now that you should have a grasp of the basic rules, let’s take a look at the game flow of a round of Baccarat.
As the round kicks off, both the dealer and the player are dealt two cards each, after which they are immediately revealed.
Then, the game can proceed in two ways: A winner is announced OR a third card is drawn. This depends on a few factors, which we’ll list below.
- If Player’s hand totals between 0-5, he is dealt a third card
- If Player’s hand totals between 6-7, he must stand
- If Player’s hand totals between 8-9, both hands stand and a winner is determined
- If Banker’s hand totals between 0-2, he is dealt a third card
- If Banker’s hand totals between 3-6, he is dealt a third card OR he stands, which depends on the Player’s hand
- If Banker’s hand equals 7, he must stand
- If Banker’s hand totals between 8-9, both hands stand and a winner is determined
In all other scenarios, a third card is not dealt and a winner is determined on the spot. We will repeat that the hand which is closest to 9, wins.
In case all of these rules are too much to take in at once, keep in mind that you do not have to know them in order to play, even if you’re looking to maximize profits. The dealer (or the software) does all the calculations for both hands and determines the game flow automatically. All that you have to do is place a bet and anticipate the outcome.
Where to Play Baccarat
If you are ready to give Baccarat a shot on real money tables, take a look at some of our recommended online casinos which host numerous tables of the highest quality.
As one of the most notable household names in the UK, Bet365 sets an example for most of the industry. The sheer quality of their services and vast amount of games make Bet365 a viable gaming destination today, more than ever.
When it comes to Baccarat, Bet365 offers a standard software version by Playtech with table limits starting from £2 up to £200.
Besides Player (1:1), Tie (9:1) and Banker (1:1), you can bet on:
- Player Pair (11:1)
- Banker Pair (11:1)
- Perfect Pair (25:1)
- Either Pair (5:1)
- Small (1.5:1)
- Big (0.54:1)
You can also player live dealer Baccarat in Bet365’s live casino, where you can find various unique tables of Mini Baccarat, VIP Baccarat and even Progressive Baccarat – with a jackpot ranging in the hundreds of thousands.
This Swedish-based online casino was launched only in 2012, but today they are regarded as one of the best and fairest casinos on the market.
Casumo offers Baccarat and Punto Banco, which are both the same, minus the authentic writing on the latter (Punto instead of Player and Banco instead of Banker). Both tables are available with low, medium and high limits, and feature the standard set of bets with regular payouts.
- Player (1:1)
- Banker (1:1)
- Tie (9:1)
The casino offers live dealer Baccarat on classy and authentic tables provided by Evolution. In addition to standard Baccarat, you can even play Baccarat Squeeze, which is one of the most immersive Baccarat experiences you can find online.
Casumo’s Live Baccarat lets you bet on:
- Player (1:1)
- Banker (1:1)
- Player Pair (11:1)
- Banker Pair (11:1)
- Tie (8:1)
How to win at Baccarat
In Baccarat, there are no player decisions involved besides placing your initial wager, which means that the outcome is completely luck-dependent, and skill plays no big part in whether you win money or not.
Unfortunately, this means that there are no viable Baccarat strategies to employ when you’re playing online or offline.
Of course, this hasn’t stopped punters from trying their best to out-wit the casino, mostly by trying to overcome the house edge by using popular betting systems such as the Martingale.
Baccarat Tips and Tricks
The Martingale is a simple betting system that is seemingly flawless. It implies that you must double your bet after each loss – that way, you will always recuperate your previous losses.
The flaw with Martingale (and nearly all other betting systems) is that after some time you will inevitably hit a wall, which is portrayed either by the table limits or your own bankroll. If you start with a £5 bet and lose 9 times in a row (it happens more often than you think), you will have to stake £2,560.
Of course, some people will also try to analyze outcome history to predict the next winner, but that also will not work as everything is truly random. Trying to count the cards is also impossible as the deck is shuffled too early.
Your best would be to play it safe (bet Player or Banker only) and try and quit while you’re ahead.
If you’re looking to just have some fun (which you should!), then you can bet anything you want and still be a winner in the end, as ultimately casinos should be a source of occasional entertainment.