Baccarat is a casino card game that can be enjoyed by players at online and land-based casinos. The game has numerous variations, but there are 3 primary versions that are widely enjoyed: North American Baccarat, also known as Punto Banco, Chemin de Fer & Baccarat Banquet, which is also known as à deux tableaux Baccarat.
Punto Banco, which translates to Player Banker, is a pure game of chance and luck. This game does not involve any decisions or skills. The outcome of the game purely depends on the cards that the player and the banker get. On the flip side, the other two versions, Baccarat Banquet & Chemin de Fer involve skill and players make decisions that will affect the gameplay.
The Basics of How to Play
How to play online baccarat (Infographic)
Also known as Punto Banco, Baccarat is a fairly easy game to comprehend and to play. The main aim of the game is to bet on the hand that will result in the highest point value closest to 9.
There are a couple of idiosyncrasies that take some time to get used to including the banker hand and the player hand. The game is played using a six-deck or eight-deck of cards, which are reshuffled after each hand. You can bet on either the Player, the Banker, a Tie or else, a combination of all three.
Regardless of how many baccarat players are playing, only two hands can be dealt at the time. One is the banker hand and the other is the player hand. As a player, you have the opportunity to bet on either the banker’s or the player’s hand.
One issue that needs to be highlighted is the fact that one must not think of the banker hand as belonging to the casino and similarly, one must not confuse the player hand as pertaining to the bettor.
Rules of online baccarat to keep in mind
- Face cards, 10s and suits have 0 value in Baccarat
- Cards with a value lower than 10 are counted at face value
- Aces are always counted as 1
- If a count runs into the doubt digits, then the left digit is dropped (For example, 8 and 5 for a 13 count, the one at the front is dropped. The count is, therefore, worth 3)
How is online baccarat played?
The game kicks off when the bettor holding the shoe slides a card out and passes it on face down to the dealer, who in turn proceeds to pass it to the player (player bet). The next card is then also passed on to the banker hand which is placed next to the shoe.
The same process takes place again with the second cards.
Each hand has a minimum of 2 cards, except for a third card which is only dealt in special conditions. If a hand has a total of 8 or 9, it is called a ‘natural’.
A ‘natural’ always wins since 9 is the highest and best possible hand value. However, if a hand has a value of 5 or less, the player can hit or otherwise stand, resulting in the banker either requesting an extra card or revealing his hand.
The hand closest to the point value of 9 wins.
- If a player’s hand value is between 6 and 9, the player stands
- If the player gets a natural (8 or 9), the player automatically wins, unless the banker also has a natural
- If both the Player and the Banker have the same value, then it’s a tie
- If the Player has an 8 and the Banker has a 9, the Banker wins
- If the Player has a 9 and the Banker has an 8, the Player wins
- If the Player’s initial two cards are between 6 and 9, then they stand
- If the Player’s initial two cards total to 5 or less, then they hit for an additional card
- If the Banker’s initial two cards total between 7 and 9, then they stand
- If the Banker’s initial two cards total between 0 and 3, then they hit
- If the Banker’s cards total between 4 and 6, then they hit
- The Banker always hits with a 4 against a Player’s total value between 2 and 7
- The Banker always hits with a 5 against a Player’s total value between 4 and 7
- The Banker always hits with a 6 against a Player’s total of 6 and 7
7 top online baccarat strategy tips for newbies
If you are new to the game of online baccarat, fret no more, as we have got you covered. We have compiled a list of tips for all online baccarat players who are looking to use a strategy to boost their odds of winning.
These tips only apply if you are playing at an online casino and not at a land-based one. Additionally, they mostly apply to players who are using a betting strategy, rather than just generic baccarat play. These tips and tricks won’t put you at an advantage but they are surely good advice that can help boost your gameplay.
Always check the odds of the game
This might be a tad obvious, but you’d be surprised how many players join a baccarat table without knowing the odds for the baccarat bets. Even if you do know the odds by heart, you need to verify that the information provided on the online casino is correct.
To sum it up: The normal commission deducted on bets placed on the Banker stands at 5%; Although we have witnessed some casinos charging as much as 25% on this bet. Granted, there are some casinos who also offer less than 5% as well, but they don’t come by that often.
The normal odds on a Player stands at 1:1, and this doesn’t vary. The Tie bet on the other hand always pays at 8:1. The Tie bet has a terrible value and as stated many times before, it should be avoided.
Always best to bet on the Player
Although plenty of websites recommend betting on the Banker bet, we believe that it’s not worth it. Although it has better odds than the Player bet, the commission on Banker bets means you’re likely to get less value back.
Let’s imagine that there’s a player who is using the Martingale betting system to double up after each loss until they eventually hit a win.
If the player loses 4 times in a row and wins the fifth hand, it would work out as follows: The first bet is worth €10, then the second one €20, the third one €40 and the fourth one €80, resulting in a total of €150 staked and lost.
The next bet the Player would hypothetically be placing is on the Banker at €160 a bet and it wins. The total payout would then be €160 for the bet plus €160 for the win, totally to €320. Deduct the 5% commission which means, the Player only gets back €304.
So, even though the Player has eventually won the bet, he still made a net loss.
Quit when you’re winning
This is the best advice we can part with you today. Before you sit down for an online Baccarat session, work out what you expect to win with your betting strategy.
If your bankroll is €250, then you have to figure out a reasonable sum of profit you’d gladly be able to walk away from the table with. Be it €100 or €150, once you have reached that sum, quit. You can always play on another day.
Play short sessions
More often than not, the house edge will get you eventually. There is no betting system or strategy that will help you overcome the house advantage.
If you make the wise decision to play a specific number of games, say 50, count them as you play along. Once you have played them all up, accept that you’ve made a loss or a profit and walk away. Don’t go chasing after your losses.
Let’s put it this way. If you are winning, the shorter sessions will definitely work in your favour.
Don’t bend the rules of your betting strategy
When you have opted for a specific strategy and have started playing, regardless of what kind of experience you have run across, it is best to stick to the rules of the method you are playing.
Unless you have had a good run very early on in the game, you are of course, free to take the money and quit. Many players, however, get frustrated when they suffer losses and get tempted to boost their bet in order to recoup their losses.
When you’re using a betting strategy, you should know that there will be losing sessions. Accept the facts and follow the rules of the strategy.
Manage your bankroll
This tip does not only apply to the game of online baccarat, but to all games and gamblers alike. You will always suffer losing sessions, but you’re guaranteed winning ones as well.
Your main priority should be to have enough money in your bankroll to get you through the bad times.
Read the terms and conditions
Before signing up to a new online casino and making a deposit, read the terms and conditions of the casino bonuses on offer. Plenty of casinos do not allow the game of online baccarat to count towards the wagering requirements.
If they do allow it though, you would probably have to wager a lot more than if you had to gamble at other casino games. It’s best to avoid any nasty surprises from the get-go.