Baccarat is a card game played live in casinos and online all over the world. In Macau, where gambling tourism is the biggest source of revenue, the Baccarat variant Punto Banco generated almost 91% of the total income from casinos in 2014. The popular baccarat card game was the favoured gambling vice of the legendary James Bond himself. Baccarat dates back to the 14th century and its history is somewhat disputed. Commonly believed to have been established in Italy, there are also those who state its origins are more French in nature.
The etymology of the word Baccarat has both Italian and French histories. In both languages, the word baccarat translates as “zero” and in the game, playing cards ten to king are in fact worth zero. In many card games, face cards are in fact known as power cards or cards that would give players more points. Originally, the game was played involving four dealers and with each player having the option of being the banker. This meant that players could bet against other players and the house.
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All About Baccarat In Baccarat today, as a Baccarat wiki will tell you, there is usually only one dealer and all bets are placed against the banker, or house. Baccarat has three main variants: baccarat chemin de fer, baccarat banque and the most popular variant, punto banco. This latter game type is the more commonly played and it is known as a game of pure luck, involving no skill or real strategy. In baccarat de fer and baccarat banque, players have choices to make which in turn bring an element of skill. While some players have attempted baccarat card counting as a means of improving their chances of winning, this is no longer feasible or advisable at casinos. More commonly known as a game for the aristocrats, Baccarat was brought to the US around the late 1950’s by Tommy Renzoni, known as The Father of American Baccarat. Renzoni had been a casino executive in Havana and made the change when the Cuban government started interfering with gambling and casinos. Baccarat became globally accessible due to the creation and growth of the online casinos in the 1990s and is now played by millions worldwide. If you want to play Baccarat, then you can play it for free or real money at one of our recommended casinos.
Guide to Online Baccarat Players can enjoy playing baccarat online from the comfort of their own home at many online casinos. There are options to play for real money or to try Baccarat free play and practice before moving to real money. In online casinos, players can choose to play Baccarat in regular table games or with live dealers. With live dealer games, players have the advantage of seeing the cards dealt in real time and can bet accordingly. They can also chat with the dealers using the live chat function usually available. By playing online rather than playing live, players do not have to leave their house or can play on the go. Alternatively, players may prefer to go to a casino to experience playing for “real” and interacting more freely with other players and croupiers. As the rules for Baccarat are fixed, the actual gameplay will differ very slightly if at all.
Playing for Cash As a card game favoured by high rollers, Baccarat is often played with large wagers on a single hand. In baccarat casinos, punto banco is sometimes played in separate rooms due to these higher stakes being gambled. This provides more privacy and security for all players involved. Minimum hand bets can usually range from 100 a hand to as high as 500 a hand. Six or eight decks are used for up to 14 players but the games can be played with a single player against the bank. Dependent on casino stipulations, players themselves can deal the cards under supervision of the croupier and on a player win, the shoe containing the cards moves position. In smaller populated games, the cards are often dealt exclusively by the dealer or croupier. Scoresheets are often available to allow players to keep track of their bets.
Hand and Card Rankings Players and the banker are dealt two cards at the baccarat table. The values of the cards are as follows: Ace = one point Two - Nine = face value in points Ten - King = zero points Jokers are not used in Baccarat Dealt hands are then totalled and valued using the right hand digit in their total. For example,a hand made up of a three and a four is worth seven, whereas a hand consisting of a six and a seven is worth three (6 plus 7 equals 13, the right hand digit in the sum is 3). Therefore, the highest value hand in baccarat is nine. The game is deemed to be over if either the banker or the player gets a hand with a total of eight or nine. These are known as a natural win. The result is then announced: player, banker or tie. If neither hand totals eight or nine, a set of drawing rules come into play to determine whether a player or the banker should be dealt a third card. These rules are set and cannot be changed.
In terms of learning the odds, in an eight deck card shoe, the odds slightly favour the baccarat house edge: 1.06% on the banker bet and 1.24% on the player bet. The tie bet is as high as 14.4%. As a game of luck, Baccarat can sometimes be compared to tossing a coin with blind bets being placed on player, banker or tie. The unpredictability factor is something that draws many players to the game. With this in mind, there are a few basic strategies to bear in mind.
- Keep track of your bets. This can be done by simply keeping a note of where you have placed your chips and casinos often provide scorecards for this purpose.
- Bet on consistencies. If the player keeps winning, don’t suddenly start betting banker. If the run changes, then change.
- If in some doubt, bet on the banker. It is usually safest to go with the house odds.
- Decide beforehand how much you are willing to lose, should the worst happen.
More advanced strategies can also be used by players who have more knowledge of the game or who are more experienced. Using a strategy like the popular 1-3-2-4 strategy can be a successful way to win back wagers from previous losses. The 1-3-2-4 system operates with players betting one unit on the first round, three on the second round and following this same betting pattern. If a bet wins, proceed to the next in the sequence. If a bet loses, start again. By utilising this baccarat strategy, more advanced players can both minimise their losses and win big. As with all casino games, players should trust their instinct and this includes knowing when to stop. These strategies can be used in Baccarat online and during Baccarat free play.
Baccarat: Our Final Thoughts
Simply put, Baccarat is a game of luck. A game of betting on who will have the higher hand, player or banker. Despite the many rules governing the third card option, learning these rules will not make or break the game. Whether playing online or playing live, the dealer or croupier, or indeed the computer software will know the complex third card formula and always keep players right. An important tip to remember is that you are not the “player”. Many players would assume, and rightly so, that they are indeed the “player” but in a hand of Baccarat, player and banker are no more than two names to distinguish between the hands and where the bets are placed. Although bets can also be placed on a tie, this is often referred to as players throwing away their money as the odds are not in players favour. A few other tips to keep in mind are:
- The banker is the best betting option
- Bet on the banker until it loses
- If banker bet loses, don’t immediately jump ship - try one more bet
- If betting player loses, jump ship back to the banker
Although a game commonly associated with high rollers, there are many online sites to play at a level to suit all player types. Baccarat free play is also readily available at many online casinos. A game of both luck and money management, hours of fun can be had playing this contradiction of a simple yet sophisticated card game. Players do not have to have a penchant for a martini (shaken not stirred) to enjoy a few hands and the baccarat rules can be picked up relatively quickly. Keeping track of bets and following a strategy is a definite advantage for new and experienced players alike. As with any gambling game, there is a danger of becoming too involved and players should know when to walk away or to take a break. The baccarat game is no different to this and therefore players should bear this in mind before they sit down to play.