Compared to blackjack and roulette, online baccarat is a much more relaxed affair for players. At land-based casinos, this is a game for laid-back players to gather together for a social experience. There’s really not too much to know about this game, as it’s super easy to play and enjoy.
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The Rules of Baccarat
When you play baccarat, you might initially feel confused, but the steps of the game are actually quite digestible. Here’s the process that you will go through:
- There are several baccarat variants out there, but these rules have been drawn for the most common version found at online casino sites.
- The player and banker will each be given two cards to start with. The amount of each hand will be tallied up, though face cards don’t count.
- Only single digits are counted, so the hand of king-7 would be counted to 17, making the final score seven (aces are always counted as one).
- A nine count of either hand immediately rewards the player or the banker with a natural win, with a tie pushing the stakes.
- Depending on the count of the hand thus far, the player or banker can be dealt a third card (five or lower). This step can be taken if the player or banker has a low score of one to five and wants to get close to eight or nine.
- After the third card in each hand, the total is counted and the hand with the most points wins. And it’s always the right-most digit that scores the hand (e.g. (16 is scored as six).
- Nobody can go bust in baccarat, but a tied hand will result in both stakes being pushed. The banker is typically required to hit on hands of five or lower.
- In land-based baccarat, the player competes against the banker, with spectators permitted to back either to win. This can be less common in some online games, whereas backing the dealer can be a viable betting approach for live baccarat online.
Tips and Strategy
There are not many ways to tip your hand as the game pretty much ticks along by itself. The cards will always be dealt in the same fashion, so players do not need to take a lot of time to consider what to do next. This is much easier than the likes of blackjack, where you would need to consider a much larger range of statistical outcomes.
It’s not important whether you are the player or a spectator in this game either, as the player is bound by the same rules as the banker. There are things that you can do to improve your chance of winning, such as:
- Bet on the banker: The banker wins a little more than 50% in the long-term, but bear in mind that 5% commission shall be taken from every banker win.
- Follow streaks: It’s often a smart strategy to back the banker until they lose. Even then, you can go through a loss or two before ending your betting sequence.
- Switch from the player: Whenever a player’s winning streak ends, you should jump straight back to the banker because they are more likely to win in the long-run.
- Avoid the tie bet: You can choose to back the tie instead of the banker or player, but this outcome carries a house edge of 14.4%, whereas the others are close to 1%.
- Track your wins and losses: Use a notebook and pen to keep track of whom you are betting on and what the outcome is. The intention is to let you evaluate which strategy is the most effective. Of course, this might be tougher to monitor if you are an active player making card decisions.
- Keep an eye on your budget: Baccarat is traditionally a game for high rollers who can afford to lose money, but the average online casino player is not in this position. Therefore, you should assign a budget and stop playing if it gets lots.
- Practise without spending: Use your casino site to play online baccarat free. This is a simple game, but you might want to practise free before wagering for real. The only major decision will be whether or not you get to hit for a third card.
- Play mobile baccarat: This will let you keep the fun going on the move and provide extra time gaming on this laidback experience.
Remember to always play smartly at online casinos – keep these baccarat tips in mind and you will be well on your way to securing a win in no time at all.
Baccarat Variants to Play
Although baccarat is quite a basic game and lacking in the decision-making pressure of blackjack or poker, this has not stopped it from spawning a number of variants with slightly different rules.
There will only be hands two hands dealt: the banker and the player. Even if there are multiple players, there will only be a single hand backed by the bettors who are involved in the game.
American baccarat differs from classic baccarat, where every player at the table would have a hand and choose whether or not they wanted a third card. This results in a simpler and quicker experience compared to decision-based table games.
European baccarat rules give slightly more freedom to the players, who can have their own hands and will also have the option of standing or else drawing another card whenever they score a five.
In European baccarat, it is customary to always have a 5% tax on winnings earned from backing the banker, who also carries the option to draw a third card. The tax is intended to try and balance out the long-term chances of the banker winning.
Baccarat en Banque
Baccarat en banque is quite closely aligned to European baccarat, albeit with a couple of changes. The first is that there will be two player hands and one for the banker. This will give the option of backing the banker, either of the player hands, or both of the player hands.
Backing both player hands is described as betting across the line. Please be aware, however, that you must win both player hands in order to secure winnings from the dealer. If you lose both, then the entire hand is lost, but a single win from one player hand will result in a push.
The Odds of Winning Baccarat
More experienced casino players will always want to understand the odds determining the various outcomes of the table games that they play. In this section, the focus shall shift onto discussing the percentages for return to player (RTP) and house edge, as these will provide invaluable insights as to the potential of winning on baccarat.
Baccarat appeals to players because it has an extremely high RTP when compared to other games. Moreover, you are protected from losing that RTP because the game has a low volume of possible decisions to have an impact. This can be seen illustrated in the comparison table below:
|Texas Hold Em||86.28%|
Some of the above games have a lower RTP, but much more flexibility and room to strategize. Games like poker, for example, may have a lower average RTP, but you can do more to raise this if you play wisely.
Baccarat House Edge
For reference, the house edge is a percentage expression of the advantage held by the banker or dealer in online casino games. Baccarat is not a game where players will be forced to play at significant disadvantage in terms of house edge, which can this a safe play.
In baccarat, the banker will only hold a 1.06% house edge over bettors who back the player hand or hands. Comparatively, the player hand carries an edge of 1.24%, which is actually quite competitive for table games. Comparatively, there is an insanely high 14.4% edge whenever players make the unwise decision of backing a tie to occur.
Live Baccarat: Pros and Cons
The concept of live baccarat offers players the ability to enjoy the game in a way that is close to the original experience. Broadcast in superb quality, it will be possible to see the dealer when trying to beat the bank in baccarat.
Live baccarat games have a number of reasons that should compel you to experience them, but here are some of the most important to highlight:
- Easy for novices: In live baccarat, it is more likely that players will have no control over the decision to pull a third card. Therefore, this is a game where players can simply back a single outcome and forget about having to make difficult choices.
- Varied stakes: Live baccarat casinos can offer a wide range of tables providing varied stakes, which typically range from low all the way up to high roller. Novice players are recommended to start lower before getting to the higher stakes.
- Cannot go bust: Blackjack can be a frustrating game whenever you go through a run of busting before you even get to see the dealer’s full hand. In baccarat, however, it can feel like you have a chance to win any hand because you will not go bust due to the scoring system of the game.
- Backing the banker: The old expression states that “the house always wins”, and baccarat gives you the ability to safely back the banker to win in the long-term. Of course, there will be times whenever the player does win, but you can shift around to take advantage of the streaks that occur.
- Superb quality: Live baccarat has been well and truly mastered by the leading casino software providers. The top providers and live casinos combine high-end visual and audio equipment with cutting-edge web servers to ensure that players can have an elite experience compared to standard online baccarat.
There are plenty of reasons for giving live baccarat a shot, but some players might pause based on the following factors:
- Lack of depth: Baccarat was initially designed as a social experience where European high rollers were more concerned with chatting and wagering large sums rather than focusing on mastering the game.
- Almost no major decisions: Players can sometimes have the option to draw a third card, but some baccarat variants make this an automatic decision. As a result, this can restrict the appeal of baccarat compared to roulette, poker, and blackjack, with all three offering the chance to make many more decisions.
- Tie bet is a pitfall: Novice players might be foolish enough to back the tie bet without knowing that this raises the house edge to a ridiculous 14.4% compared to standard 1.06% in favour of the banker. There are no circumstances in which the tie bet ever makes sense in online baccarat.
- Rapid online pace: Live baccarat sees the banker act as the dealer, but this can result in a much quicker rate of play. When the banker is the dealer, they can play out baccarat hands at a lightning pace, so you always need to pay attention to what is happening.
- Low on variants: American and European have been highlighted above, but banque en banque is one of the few variants to really add something to the experience. However, you need to win both player bets and you could just raise the stakes if you are trying to earn higher winnings.
- Excluded from bonuses: The design of deposit bonuses often dictates that table games are excluded from using complimentary funds or even clearing wagering requirements. Casino Juggler advises that you read the bonus terms before going ahead and trying to use them on live baccarat.
Online baccarat is a great introduction to the world of table games because you don’t need much knowledge in order to win. Try it out for yourself and use our tips to be even more effective.