Baccarat is favoured by the fictitious James Bond and if often enjoyed by high rollers, but while plenty of mystique surrounds baccarat, it’s actually an extremely simple game. The reason why this game is popular among VIP players in Australia and elsewhere around the world, is because of the low house edge. But this doesn’t mean low to mid rollers miss out with suitable table limits available too.
Best real money online baccarat sites
Baccarat rules are simple to pick up – you can learn at your own pace online or head to a land-based casino near you to play.
Baccarat is played with six to eight decks of cards and the aim of the game is to get a hand closest to nine. Before we get into the gameplay rules the cards are valued with Aces counting as one, cards from two to nine keeping their printed value, and 10 and face cards counting as zero.
If you have a hand which amounts to more than 10 either count the last digit or subtract 10 (both methods work) to get the desired outcome, for example if you have a hand valuing 15 subtract 10 to get your total value of 5 or just count the last digit of the number. Online baccarat does the math for you and tells you what you have if you think this sounds too confusing.
You can place your bets by placing the chips on the table or dragging them via the digital interface if playing online. You can choose to bet on the banker, the player or a tie. Once players have made their bets, the dealer will lay out two cards each for the player and banker, beginning with the player. If either or both hands have a score of eight or nine, both hands will stand and the round is over. If this isn’t the case, the dealer will give another card to the player if their hand totals five or less. If the player hand is six or more, they will stand.
The banker hand then plays by reacting to what the player did. If the player stands, the banker’s decisions are easy: they will hit with five or less, otherwise they’ll also stand. If the player hits, the banker will decide whether to hit and stand based on a chart that considers both the banker score and the value of the player’s third card.
Once all hands are finished being dealt their cards, the scores of the two hands are compared. If the player’s hand is better, all bets on the player win at even money odds – 1:1. If the banker hand is higher, then banker bets win at even money odds minus a 5% commission (for instance, a $100 bet will pay $95). If the two hands tie, then tie bets win – usually at odds of 8-1 – while bets on the banker and player push.
Baccarat strategy and odds
Baccarat is a fairly simple game and since players aren’t asked to make many decisions, there isn’t much to think about when it comes to strategy. The best strategy possible is simply to bet on the banker bet every time, as it offers the lowest house edge. The advantage for the casino is just 1.06% on the banker bet, while the player bet has a 1.24% edge.
While both of those bets are quite good compared to most options at the casino, you should really avoid the tie bet. The exact house edge on this bet depends on the payouts and the number of decks being used, but normally it amouts to well over 10%. Even if a casino offers to pay you 9:1 on a tie bet, the house edge is still 4.8%, making it a much worse bet than the player or banker options.
It’s important to remember baccarat is a game of luck and there’s nothing a player can do to influence the outcome of a hand. Play within your own limits to ensure baccarat is enjoyed responsibly for the fun yet exciting game it’s intended to be.
Types of baccarat games
If you’ve been to a casino – but not to the high stakes area – then you might be a little confused by the talk about the “atmosphere” of baccarat. The games spread in the general casino area are known as “mini” baccarat, and are the tables best known to most players. These games feature a dealer who handles all of the cards, allowing the game to go as fast as possible.
In high-limit areas, you’re more likely to find “big table” baccarat. In these games, there may be multiple dealers and room for a dozen players or more. Players will take turns dealing the cards as the banker, and all cards are initially dealt face down (with the player with the biggest bet receiving the “player” hand).
While the players must still follow the standard rules for playing the hands, and the dealers check everything to make sure no cheating goes on, the players still have much more control over the flow of the game. This results in a slower baccarat game – but also one which feels a lot more elegant, and more like the kinds of high-stakes encounters seen on television and in the movies.
Online baccarat variants
Online is the best place to play baccarat if you’re new to the game, want to play at your own pace, or you’re simply after a variant which offers low stakes.
You can find both Random Number Generator (RNG) baccarat which runs on computer software, as well as live dealer variants run by a dealer streamed live to your device. A few of the baccarat games you’ll find online include:
- Baccarat Pro
- Baccarat Star
- Baccarat VIP
- High Limit Baccarat
- Multi-bet Baccarat Gold
- Live Baccarat Squeeze
- Live Dealer Baccarat
The best online casino offering baccarat games with safe and secure real money deposits and withdrawals is Raging Bull Casino, our top-rated casino site for players from United States, which hosts a great selection of online table games.
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