One of the most exciting and well-advertised casino games, thanks in particular to a certain James Bond, is baccarat. It is played between the player and the banker. The objective of the game is to construct a hand valued at 9 or closest to it. You bet on the player, the banker, or the possibility of a tie. The game comes in many versions, including Punto Banco (American version) and Baccarat En Banque (European version). Another variant is mini baccarat, and in France and Spain you still get to play Chemin de Fer.
Top Baccarat Casinos and Bonuses
We have listed for you the top baccarat casinos around along with the bonuses each of them offer. Along with this we also list out the wagering contributions for the game at the different casinos.
Brief History of Baccarat
Many believe baccarat to have originated in France sometime in the 1490s. Others believe the game dates back much further. The word baccarat itself is the French pronunciation for the word ‘baccara’, which is of Italian origin. Baccara means 0, which in the game is the value for all 10-value cards.
Originally played in French by the nobility, it reached out to people of other classes as the mass game Chemin de Fer. From France it traveled across Europe; from Europe it went to North America and finally from there to North America some time in 1910. The game popular in the USA only in the 1950s. The online casino took the game worldwide and today it is a popular online casino game.
Rules of Baccarat and How to Play It
The following are the basic baccarat rules:
- The game is played with 6 to 8 card decks.
- Cards 2 to 9 are valued at face.
- 10, Jack, Queen, and King have zero value.
- The Ace has a value of 1.
- Each game shows 2 hands being dealt, one each for the player and the banker.
- Each hand has 2 cards.
- You total the card value to determine the overall strength of the hand.
- If the total value is of 2 digits, the value at the right is the card value.
Playing the game is simple:
- Place your bets, on the banker, player, or a tie. You can bet on multiple options simultaneously and also choose any of the side bets available.
- Next, the player and the dealer get a 2-card hand each.
- If the sum of the player’s hand is 8 or 9 no more card are drawn. If it is 5 or lower a third card is dealt.
- The banker stands on 6. He draws a third card if:
- The total value of the original hand is a maximum of 5. The only exception is if the player has a third card valued between 4 and 7.
- He has a total hand value of 6. The exception is if the player’s third card is 6 or 7.
- His hand is valued at a maximum of 2.
- His total hand value is 3; the only exception is if the player’s third card is 8.
- His total hand value is 4; the sole exception is if the player’s third card 0, 1, 8, or 9.
- The hand with the higher value wins and you win if you have wagered on that hand winning.
Bet Types in Baccarat
There are 3 primary bets in baccarat:
- Player bet: You bet on the player winning. The house edge brings down the odds and you get even money payout on winning.
- Banker bet: You bet on the banker. One of the most popular baccarat bets and has the lowest house edge among all these 3 primary bets. This bet pays out even money.
- Tie bet: You bet on the possibility of a tie and the game getting pushed. The payout for this bet is high at 8:1 or even 9:1 but the house edge is high too, at 15%.
You have the luxury of betting all these three bets at the same time; however, you will be paid out only for the bet that won. There are a number of interesting side bets in baccarat, including:
- Pairs: Wagering on the possibility of a pair for either of the players. The side bets within this are:
- Banker pair
- Player pair
- Perfect Pair
- Either Pair
- Dragon Bonus: With this side bet you wager on the higher hand among the two. The highest payout for this bet is 30:1; it is awarded to a non-natural hand that is a winner by a margin of 9 points.
- Progressive jackpot side bet: This is a side bet with a progressive jackpot hooked to it. You land the maximum progressive jackpot with a player hand of a suited Ace and 8 provided the banker has the exact same hand too.
- Big/Small: This is a side bet on the total number of cards for a hand. The small component pays out at 1.5:1 if the hand has 4 cards dealt. The big component pays out at 0.54:1 if the total number of cards in the hand are 5 or 6.
- Egalite: This is a side bet placed on individual tie bets. You do not get paid with this bet if the game is a tie.
There is no hardcore strategy to win at baccarat. However, there are people who follow some well-known strategies including, among others:
- D’Alembert System
- Martingale System
- Fibonacci System
Basic Baccarat Tips for Beginners
Here are a few baccarat tips for beginners:
- Play variants that use lesser card decks to improve the chances of winning.
- Bet smart: While the house edge is 1:1 for both banker and player, playing smart and betting on the banker can result in more winnings because the banker has a higher winning possibility.
- Use the tie bet wisely: The tie bet has a big money payout compared to the others but use it wisely. The payout is high, but so is the house edge.