How to Play Baccarat
Baccarat is played between the player and the dealer and the aim of the game is to get nine points or as close to nine as possible with the cards drawn. Face cards and tens are worth zero points, Ace is worth one point and the rest are all scored at face value (2-9).
There is only one round of betting in online baccarat and this occurs before the hand commences. You can either bet on the player or the banker. Many professional baccarat players agree that betting on the banker is more advantageous than betting on the player and below, you’ll find a breakdown of the drawing hands in baccarat and when a third card (or more) is drawn.
Before the hand commences, the round of betting takes place. Once the bets are placed, the dealer will proceed to deal two cards to both the player and the banker. The one with a nine or the closest to nine wins the hand. Each hand takes a couple of seconds to complete but because the action unfolds quickly, you will need to have a good understanding of the game to play baccarat.
When no face cards or tens are dealt, the dealer will stick to dealing two cards, as explained above, but there are instances where additional cards are dealt in order to make a hand. The following are the drawing rules in Baccarat:
- If the player draws an 8 or 9, the player must stand
- The player must stand if he has a total of 5 or 6.
- If the player stands, the banker needs to hit on a total of 5 or less.
- The player automatically hits and the banker gives the player a third card.
The banker will only draw a third card if the player does so too, however, only under the following circumstances will the banker be allowed to draw a third card:
- Banker has a maximum total of 2
- When the banker has a total of 3, the banker draws if the player's third card is anything but an 8.
- When the banker has a total of 4, the banker takes a third card if the players’ third card is one of the following: 2-3-4-5-6-7
- When the banker has a total of 5: the banker takes a third card if the players’ third card is one of the following: 4-5-6-7
- When the banker has a total of 6: the banker takes a third card if the players’ third card is a 6 or 7.
- With a 7, the banker will always need to stand
In Baccarat, betting is very straightforward. There are three bets that can be placed; the banker, the player and betting on the tie. There are a couple of more side bets that can be placed but are not used regularly due to their rarity of success.
The tie bet is the most uncommon due to its unfavourable house edge and in the section below, we’ll take a closer look at each one and the reasons why you should be placing certain bets when playing baccarat online.
Betting on the Banker
Betting on the banker has a lower house edge than that of the player, which stand at 1.06% and 1.24% respectively. Due to the favourable house edge on the banker bet, online casinos charge a commission of 5% to accommodate for this, which means that any winnings coming from a banker bet will have 5% deducted from the total winnings.
For instance, if a bet of €10 is placed on the banker and it’s successful, the winnings from the bet will amount to €9.50.
Betting on the Player
While in theory betting on the banker will yield a higher return over time, you must keep in mind that casino games are random in nature and there’s no guarantee that the banker will be more profitable. The payouts on the player bets are 1:1
The Tie Bet
The tie bet is the most uncommon from all the baccarat bets and as the name suggests, you’ll be betting on the hand ending in a tie between the banker and the player. Many players refrain from placing this bet because of the house edge of 15% and is also referred to as the ‘suckers bet’ by experienced baccarat players. The payouts for the tie bet are set at 8:1 but don’t let the lucrative odds fool you, as there’s a very good reason for the lucrative odds.
Data shows that the tie bet comes up once in 11 times and it makes it far too risky to place a tie bet along with a player or banker bet.
The Pair Bet
In a nutshell, the pair bets pay out if the two cards dealt to the player are matching, i.e. a pair. Both the player bet and the banker bet have their dedicated pair bet option and both have the same payout, which is set at 11:1.
If bets were placed on the pair and it comes through, the action is stopped and the dealer pays out the winning bets immediately. The gameplay will continue after the pair bets have been settled to finish off the hand and payout the main bets, i.e. the player and banker bets.
Player & Banker Bonus Bets
The player and banker bonus bets are not as common and usually experienced players steer away from these bets due to their difficulty of being successful. If either the player bet or the banker bet draws a hand which naturally totals an eight or a nine and beats the opposing bets by a total of four points, the ‘Bonus Bet’ will be a winning one. When a ‘Bonus Bet’ occurs naturally, it simply means that an eight or nine are drawn without the help of an additional card, i.e with two cards.
Return To Player Baccarat Bets
||Return To Player
Baccarat is a game of chance, just like roulette, which is why there isn’t a solid strategy that can be adopted to make a profit. There are however, some tips that you should keep in mind before playing online baccarat for real money:
- Opt for a baccarat game with the least decks
- Don’t use any betting systems like the Martingale
- Bet mostly on the banker due to the house edge discussed above
- Have an effective bankroll management strategy
- Search for games that charge less than 5% commission on banker bet winnings
As is the case with blackjack and roulette, many online casinos host a number of baccarat variations, each of which adds a new element of excitement and a set of new bets to take the game to new heights. Whether playing casino games (played against a machine) or live casino, the rules of baccarat variations remain the same but they increase or decrease the house edge according to the elements added to the variation, whether it’s a new bet or a new rule.
Baccarat Squeeze is a baccarat variation that only available to play at live casinos. The game was created by Evolution Gaming, a pioneer in Live Casino games and will only be available at online casinos that work with Evolution Gaming. Essentially, Baccarat Squeeze follows the traditional rules of Baccarat, however, the cards are revealed face down, one by one, adding an element of suspense to the game.
As opposed to the traditional Baccarat game, where the dealer will first deal the cards to the ‘player bet’, in Baccarat Squeeze, the dealer ‘squeezes’ the cards to the player with the biggest bet and then proceeds to deal the remainder of the hand. Keep in mind that there are no drastic changes from the original Baccarat game, except for the fact that it adds a little more suspense to the game.
Punto Bunco is a Cuban version of the Baccarat game which originally allowed up to 14 players to play the game simultaneously. The player is referred to as ‘Punto and the banker is ‘Bunco’ and is played with six or eight decks.
In Punto Bunco, the player has no say on whether to draw a third card and is dealt anyway. Punto Bunco is available to play at most online casinos that have a dedicated table games’ lobby.
Live Speed Baccarat
If you’re in need of speed, then Live Speed Baccarat is the game to play. Typically, a round of Baccarat lasts 48 seconds, which is already pretty speedy, however, Live Speed Baccarat picks up the pace of the game and cuts down playing time to a measly 27 seconds.
Live Speed Baccarat is another Baccarat variation created by Evolution Gaming and follows exactly the same rules as the standard game.
Baccarat Payouts Table
||9:1 / 8:1
One Pair - 25:1
Two Pairs - 200:1
Baccarat is one of the oldest table games, which is why it’s readily available to play at most online casino. One of the most important things to keep in mind about Baccarat is that it’s a game of chance and you’re depending entirely on what cards the dealer provides.
There is no concrete strategy that can be adopted in online Baccarat, but a good understanding of the game is essential to be able to build your bankroll.
- Some key takeaways when playing online Baccarat:
- Betting on the banker gives you a greater advantage
- The banker bet has a 5% fee on winnings
- Avoid using aggressive betting systems
- Don’t be fooled by the great payouts of the pair bets
- Always play Baccarat for free before playing for real money