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Introduction to Baccarat

Baccarat is one of the most popular card games being played in casinos today, second only to staples like Blackjack and Poker.

With simple rules, a low house edge, and a purely luck-based system, Baccarat is one of the most accessible casino games to get into, whether online or offline, desktop or mobile.

 

What is Baccarat?

Baccarat is a card game that compares the value of two hands that are drawn by the dealer. Initially popular with high-rollers and sophisticates, the game has since made its way into the everyday casino and is enjoyed by millions worldwide.

Like most gambling games, the origins of baccarat are still heavily disputed. The most popular theory is that baccarat was invented in the 1400s by Felix Falguiere, originally calling it “baccara” after the Italian word for “zero”.

Typically played with a minimum of three people, baccarat’s many variations see the game played with as many as twelve people or as few as one (in the case of mobile and online baccarat games).

 

How to Play Baccarat

At its core, Baccarat is a simple guessing game in which the player bets on which hand has a value closest to 9 at the end of a deal—the player (or punto) or the banker (or banco).

Because the winning value of baccarat is 9, most of the cards have a different face value compared to poker or blackjack. The values are as follows:

 

Card Value in Poker Value in Baccarat
Face Cards (Jack, Queen, King) 10 0
Aces 1 or 11 1
10s 10 0
Other Point Cards (2 to 9) Printed on Card Printed on Card

 

When the point value of either the player or banker hand exceeds 9, only the ones digit is considered. So in the case of a hand with an 8 and 6 (which makes 14), the 10 is disregarded and the final value of the hand is 4.

While there are different versions of baccarat with slightly different rules, the general process of the game remains the same. Here is baccarat, broken down step-by-step:

  1. The player makes their bet on the three possible outcomes of the deal: a player win, a banker win, or a tie.
  1. The croupier deals two cards each to the punto and banco.
  1. Depending on its initial value, each hand will hit or stand based on a set of rules:
    • Any hand with a value of 8 or 9 (a ‘natural’) forces both hands to stand.  Hands with a value of 9 are guaranteed to win.
    • If the punto has a value of 6 or 7, the player stands.
    • If the punto has a value of 0 to 5, the player hits.
    • If the punto stands, the banco hits or stands by the same rules (hit on 0-5, stand on 6-7).
    • If the punto hits and the banco has a hand of 0-2, the banco hits.
    • If the puntohits and the banco has a hand of 3-6, the banco hits depending on the third card on the punto.
    • If the puntohits and the banco has a hand of 7, the bancostands.
  1. The croupier announces the outcome of the deal, and winnings are paid out.

As we can see, all the player has to do is place their bets, which is why baccarat is such a simple gambling game. After that, the outcome of the game lies only in the cards, no different from sports betting.

 

Types of Baccarat Games

 

Punto Banco

The most popular variant of Baccarat played in casinos, Punto Banco is often considered the “standard” format of the game. The “How to Play” section describes a typical Punto Banco game.

Additional variations of Punto Banco also exist. Examples include “Big Baccarat”, which typically involve extremely high bets (well into the tens of thousands on a single hand), as well as “EZ Baccarat”, which pays even money on banker wins, except when the banker wins with 7 points from a 3-card hand.

 

Chemin de fer

Chemin de fer is an older variant of baccarat that is most popular in France. It is also the version depicted in the James Bond novels, so if you’ve ever wanted to get the full Casino Royale experience, this variant is the one to play.

In chemin de fer, the general gameplay is the same as punto banco but with two changes to the rules. First, the banker role is passed around among the players on the table in each round and matches the bet set forth by the other players (called punters).

Second, the banker and the punters can choose whether or not to draw a third card when their hand meets the requirements for a hit. This third card adds a slight element of strategy compared to punto banco, although the advantage gained here is negligible.

 

Baccarat Banque

Baccarat Banque is the game’s oldest known variation, and shares most of the rules of chemin de fer. In this version, the player holding the banker role continues to hold it until they lose, as opposed to it moving to the next player every round.

The game also involves dealing three hands instead of two—one for the banker, and one each for the set of players on the left and right sides of the banker.

 

Playing Baccarat Online

For the most part, your experience when you play baccarat online will be very similar to playing in person. But as with shifting anything to a digital platform, playing casino games online has its differences.

For one, online baccarat tends to run a lot more quickly. With a computer program replacing the croupier (except in live dealer versions), cards are dealt and the next round begins almost instantly. Minimum bets are lower in online baccarat as well. With bet floors as low as $1, online casinos make it easy for low-budget players to play their favorite casino games with real money.

If you don’t want to spend anything at all, you can still play online baccarat no problem. Many casinos will have free practice modes of their casino games so you can test your luck without dropping a buck. Some casino game platforms lower the barrier of entry even further with free, no-stakes versions of their casino games catalog.

The software powering the casino site also makes the experience more convenient. Playing is as easy as setting your bet amount, selecting your bet, pressing ‘Deal’, and watching the program do the rest. You can even take your baccarat game mobile with Android and iOS compatible apps. Many online casinos will also give you a generous welcome bonus to get you started. If you have any problems, the best online baccarat casinos will have live customer support ready to meet your needs.

Of course, you do lose a few features when playing online. First off, only punto banco baccarat is available online, with all of the other games available in land-based casinos only. You also lose the unique social aspect that makes playing table games in person so much fun. While live dealer games bridge this gap a bit, your interactions are still limited.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is baccarat all luck?

Yes! Like sports betting, baccarat is 100% luck and 0% strategy. This is because all player decisions are made before the hands are dealt, which means the player has no way to directly influence the outcome of each deal.

However, some variants like chemin de fer do actually introduce a bit of decision-making as the players and banker can choose to hit or stand when their cards have a value of 0-5. While a method can be used to gain a strategic advantage, the benefit you’ll get is very little, if anything at all.

 

What are the odds of winning in baccarat?

The odds for either hand to win in baccarat is relatively even. After running the numbers, the banker’s hand wins around 46% of the time while the player’s hand wins about 45% of the time. The odds of a tie are around 10%.

 

What is the house edge in baccarat?

The house edge on the banker hand is 1.06%, while the player hand has a higher edge of 1.24%. Compared to other table games like Texas Hold ‘Em (around 2%) and roulette (around 5%),this is one of the lowest house edges you can find at a casino.

Meanwhile, the tie bet has some of the highest house edges at 14.36%. As such, we would recommend that you only bet on either of the two hands if real money is on the line.

 

What is the payout of baccarat?

Most games, whether online, offline, or mobile, use the following payouts:

  • Winning a punto bet has an “even money” payout; so if you bet $10, you win another $10.
  • Winning a banco bet has a payout of 19:20, or even money with a 5% commission; so your bet of $10 will win you $9.50.
  • Winning on a tie bet has a payout of 8-to-1 or 9-to-1 depending on the casino; so a $10 bet will win $80 or $90 if it wins.

Some versions of the game like EZ Baccarat and Super 6 offer even money on both hands, but with additional conditions like a 1-to-2 payout on certain cards dealt.

 

Does baccarat have side bets?

Traditional baccarat play does not offer any side bets. However, certain casinos will offer them along with bonuses depending on the specific cards dealt. Examples include:

  • Super 6: A banco win with a hand of 6.
  • Dragon 7: A banco win with a three-card hand of 7.
  • Panda 8: A banco win with a three-card hand of 8.
  • Either Pair: Betting on either hand to have a pair.

 

Is side betting in baccarat worth it?

If you just want to enjoy the game as it is, side betting introduces a fun way to shake things up. However, we can’t recommend this to anyone looking to leave with more money than they started.

Fundamentally, the side bet is implemented to make the gambling experience more exciting. While your odds here are much lower, the casino will make them more appealing by offering a much higher payout than the typical bet. However, the higher payout also comes with a much higher house edge, so bet wisely.

 

Is playing baccarat online safe?

Safety is a major concern in all casino games, especially when you play baccarat for real money in online casinos. As such, we can’t guarantee that every site that offers baccarat online is safe.

What we can do, however, is recommend the best online casinos that we have actually tried and tested. Our comprehensive vetting and review process here at Inside Casino ensures that every site we recommend is 100% safe.

 

Can baccarat games be rigged?

With extensive manipulation of the cards in a live game or the random number generator in an online site, baccarat can be rigged to favor the player or the casino. However, while not impossible, a rigged baccarat game is extremely hard to find when you play at a licensed, respectable casino site.

At Inside Casino, we only feature the best baccarat casinos on the internet, so we can ensure the best online gaming experience for all of our readers.

 

What are some tips when playing baccarat?

  • Gamble responsibly. Only play what you can afford to lose.
  • Avoid tie bets. The high house edge and low odds will have you gambling away your bankroll before you notice it.
  • Bet on the banker more often than not. Although the commission lowers your payout, the higher chance of a banker win can help your bankroll win out over time.
  • Remember that “the casino always wins”.

 

Is there a method to win in baccarat?

Generally speaking, there is no way to “beat the house” in baccarat. As a purely luck-based system, there is no legitimate method to influence the outcome of the game, unlike more strategic games like blackjack.

While advantage techniques like edge sorting have been used to win large sums of real money, such techniques are considered cheating and won’t actually win you anything. This also means that that “winner’s method” you saw online probably doesn’t work, either. Now, there are some “legit” baccarat strategies out there with fancy names like the Martingale method, the Paroli method, or the Fibonacci method. Unfortunately, these are all different kinds of betting sequences, which is a method of betting different amounts based on the outcome of previous rounds.

 

What are the best places to play baccarat online?

With brick-and-mortar casinos still closed around the world, online platforms are becoming so popular that they’ve become a dime a dozen nowadays. Our catalog here at Inside Casino filters through the noise to bring you the best baccarat casino sites to play on, whether on desktop or mobile.

 

Play for Real Money in Online Baccarat

As one of the simplest casino games to pick up and play, baccarat is one of the easiest ways to have fun at an online casino. Check out our site catalog of the best online baccarat games and casinos you can play in Canada, which feature top-tier customer support, easy mobile access, and a generous welcome bonus to get you started.

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