Baccarat is an ancient card game that has been around since the 15th Century, first appearing in Italy and then becoming popular with the French Aristocracy. As such it sometimes has a perceived complexity that some people may find a bit intimidating. With that in mind, we have put together this guide to clear away any mystique and explain the rules which are surprisingly easy once you get to grips with them. While online baccarat is not as common as poker, it is growing in popularity and is an exciting option for those wanting to experiment with a new table game. It is hugely popular with Chinese gamblers and there are a ton of baccarat games online to win money at.
Types of baccarat
There are many different types of baccarat but the three main ones that you are likely to come across are baccarat banque, punto banco, and chemin de fer. Punto banco is the English edition of the game and the most popular variation to be found in physical casinos and online. Chermin de fer is the French version and the title means ‘iron box’, named as such because the cards used to be held in an actual iron box. Baccarat Banque is also a French game and is similar in style to chemin de fer. All three games are fairly similar differing only really in the dealing of the cards and rules around the banker. In this review, we will stick solely to punto banco as it is the one you will almost certainly come across when playing online baccarat.
How to play
The first thing that will surprise you if you are coming from a poker background is that no matter how many people are playing only two hands get dealt in a game – players do not get their own hands. In a nutshell, the goal of baccarat is to form a hand where the points equal to 9, or as close as possible without going over. The dealer deals out two cards to the player and the dealer (or banker) and whoever is closest to 9 is the winner. If either side has 5 points or less the dealer will deal one more card, but only one more, three cards is the maximum. So how does the scoring work? Number cards keep their number value, and face cards are worth zero. If the cards have a total over 10 then the digit on the left is dropped – 15 becomes 5, 12 becomes 2 and so on. As you can see it is a very simple game. Three bets only can be made in baccarat – on the banker, on the player, or on a tie. It is a game that requires little to no skill to play relying on chance but which has a good house edge for players.
The shoe, or the bank, is what contains the cards – 8 shuffled decks with no jokers. Players take turns being the banker and the player, and there is no advantage for any particular role while playing as it all comes down to the luck of the cards. There is a version of baccarat called mini-baccarat where instead of these roles, the dealer turns all of the cards over so everyone can see them which some say produces a less intense experience.
Baccarat game strategy and baccarat tips
As baccarat is really a game of chance it is difficult to develop any in-game strategy to beat the dealer. Keep in mind though that the banker’s hand has a slightly higher statistical chance of winning more often at just over 50%. Card counting is also virtually ineffective in baccarat and nothing compared to other games like blackjack. One of the best strategies to take when playing online baccarat is to keep an eye on your bankroll and manage it as well as possible. Don’t blow out your bankroll by making massive bets and don’t go on tilt to win back lost money. Make sure to set limits on how much you are prepared to lose and just walk away if you hit them. Likewise, it can be good to set a winning limit and when you hit it, collect your winnings and go and enjoy them.
Playing baccarat games online can be a fast and exciting alternative to poker and other table games. As you can see the rules are simple once you get to know them and it is a fun and social game to play with other punters.