Baccarat

BaccaratBaccarat is a casino table game that has started to grow in terms of popularity online. However, it’s far from a ”newbie”, in brick & mortar casino industry and ages back in centuries, when a form of Baccarat known as ” chemin de fer ” was played in private clubs. We can draw similarities between the latter and club poker, as this variation of Baccarat also wasn’t played against the house, but instead between players. Today the most popular form of the game is known as ”Punto Banco”, which stands for player and banker in French. It’s a phrase that perfectly describes the game and gameplay in it, as the it contains of constant battling between the two parties.

Rules & GamePlay

Baccarat is a pretty similar game to the more known BlackJack, both of these share a similarity of the main goal – you have to reach a higher hand value than the dealer in order to win. However, that’s about the only thing that is similar, as Baccarat involves no skill at all and the only moment you’ll have to make a decision in is the size of your wager. After that is done, the whole play is kind of automated and the cards are dealt by following a specific set of rules that we’ll get into later on. For now, lets take a look at how the hands are made up – the value of specific cards.

  • Deuces to Nines – face value, a deuce is worth 2 points, a nine is worth 9 points.
  • Face Cards (Tens, Jacks, Queens, Kings) – worth 0 points

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  • Aces – worth one point.

Now the relatively complicated part – the maximum hand value in Baccarat is 9. How come, if every hand consists of at least 2 cards and each one can feature a value of up to 9? Here’s how the hand values are calculated in this game:

  • Card 1 + Card 2 and the hand value is the last digit of the total count

Lets take a look by using real cards now. You’re playing a hand of Punto Banco and get dealt a nine and a seven, what’s the value of your hand? If you answered 16, you might want to read this paragraph again. It’s 6 and here’s how you get it:

  • 9+7=16 and the hand values are determined by using the rightmost digit, thus the hand value is 6.

All of this might lead you into thinking that Baccarat is a game that’s really hard to learn/play. Luckily, this couldn’t be any further from truth and the game is completely automated. If you choose to play online, you won’t even have to determine your hand value, as the software will do it for you!

Bets in Baccarat

I actually lied when I said that there is only 1 thing that a player has to do and make a decision about, when playing Baccarat. There are two of them, the second is the bet type to make. There are three types of bets that can be made in classic Punto Banco, if you’re playing some other variation there might be more of them, but for now we’ll just look at the main ones.

  • The Banker to win by reaching a higher hand value.
  • The Player to win by reaching a higher hand value
  • A Tie – both sides get a hand of equal value dealt

Both, The Banker and The Player bets are paid out at even money odds if won, but The Banker features a 5% commission, making the payout odds 0.95 to 1. Payouts for the tie differ depending on the casino you play at, but usually these are either 7 to 1 or 8 to 1.

Drawing Rules

As already briefly mentioned in the beginning of this article, the gameplay in Baccarat is fully automated and you won’t have any decisions to make apart from making a bet and a bet type. However, there is a certain set of rules that is followed by dealing the hands and determining the winner.

Drawing Rules for player

If player holds a hand featuring value between 0 and 5, he draws another (third) card, if the value is between 6 and 7, he stays.

Drawing Rules for banker

The Banker is somewhat dependant on the player, as if the player has only two cards, he follows the same rules that are already outlined above – draws when value is between 0 and 5 and stays, when it is 6 or 7.

However, if the player draws to a third card, more complex rules are used.

  • If the card that player drew was either a deuce or a three, the banker stands with a hand value of between five and seven and draws with between zero and four.
  • If the card that player drew was either 4 or 5, the banker stands with a hand valued between 6 and 7 and draws when it’s between 0 and 5.
  • If the card that player drew was either a 6 or 7, the banker stands with a hand value of 7 and draws when it’s between 0 and 6.
  • If player made a hand valued as 8 with his first two cards, the banker stands with a hand valued between 3 and 7, but draws when it’s between 0 and 2.
  • If the card that player drew was an ace, face card, Ten or Nine, the banker stands, when his hand value is between 4 and 7, but draws when it’s between 0 and 3.

Natural Hand in Baccarat

A point sum of 9 is considered as a natural hand in Baccarat, similarly as a natural BlackJack, it’s the best possible combination and if you’re dealt one – you can’t loose and can only tie. If you’re dealt a point sum of 9, no drawing rules are applied and the banker does not draw to the third card.

The House Edge

Baccarat enjoys popularity for many reasons, it is a really simple game, it’s also a lot of fun, but one of the main ones is the small house edge. Playing a game that features a house edge as tiny as Baccarat does, guarantees some crazy swings. You can easily win a large amount of money and of course you can loose it as easily. The house edge in Baccarat depends on the type of bet you make, so lets take a look.

  • The Banker Bet features a house edge of 1.05%, even when the 5% commission is applied.
  • The Player Bet features a house edge of 1.45%.
  • The Tie Bet features a house edge of between 4,5% and 14%, depending on what the payout rate is like.

Now percentages are cool, but what do these mean when you’re actively playing the game? It’s quite easy, when betting $100 on the Banker to win, you expect to loose $1,05 long term. The Player Bet will net you -$1,45 long term so it’s quite obvious that betting on the Banker to win is the way to go and certainly avoid betting on the tie, as the odds are simply ridiculous.

Baccarat Strategies & Betting Systems

The game of Baccarat does not feature an element of skill, thus there is nothing you can do to decrease the house edge. However, you can still play it by applying one of the popular betting systems. Just note that usage of these won’t put you in an advantage against the casino and the house edge will still remain the same. Though, you surely will have some fun using them.

  • The Martingale Baccarat System – one of the oldest and most popular strategies, advising you to double your wager after every loss thus chasing your losses until you win and are in profit.
  • The Fibonacci Baccarat System – not really a strategy, but rather a sequence of numbers that is written on a sheet of paper and determines how much you should bet at a particular hand, based on the outcome of the last hand.
  • The Paroli Baccarat System – now this is one of those systems that are really fun to use. The Paroli suggests that you should double your wager every time you win, but start over with your initial wagers if one winning hand occurs. You can run up some sick scores by using this system, if you manage to win couple of hands in a row.

Top 3 Baccarat Casinos

1. Bet365 – the premiere choice for players looking to play many games, including Baccarat. Bet365 Casino offers the classic Punto Banco variation in online or live dealer environment.

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2. 32Red – as a company listed on the London Stock Exchange, sponsoring various sports teams as well as doing a lot of TV advertising, 32Red is very well known in the UK market. Their casino is powered by MicroGaming and you’ll find several variations of Baccarat offered, which also includes the live dealer version.

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3. Paddy Power Casino – one of the best known sports betting companies in the world recently launched they casino. Seeing how well the betting operations were run, we have no doubt that the casino will also be top notch. Play Baccarat in it’s main variation and enjoy the high quality standards set by PlayTech – developers of the games found at this casino.

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