Even if you have never heard of baccarat, you have probably watched a James Bond movie or two, so the chances are you are already familiar with this game, even though you are not aware of it. Even though many believe baccarat is insanely complicated and takes years to master, it is, in fact, quite a simple game that requires some attention and a little bit of luck (but don’t they all).
In this article we won’t focus on how to find a casino that supports baccarat, but rather on all the essential things regarding this game that is tremendously popular all over Asia, India included. If you want to know how to play baccarat online real money game, just keep reading.
What is Baccarat?
We’ll keep this short – baccarat is a card game, played most commonly at casinos. During the game, two hands are compared – the banker hand and the player hand. The player hand is not associated with the punter but is rather just a position at the table. You can bet on either hand or bet on a tie. The name of the game comes from the French game baccara, baccarat meaning the ancestor of it.
What Equipment Does Baccarat Use?
Whether you play at an online or land-based casino, you will quickly notice how this game is played at the table with 6 to 8 decks. Before the game, decks are shuffled and put into a shoe, a special container for dealing cards that disables the dealer from any manipulations. Sometimes, the dealer might use a special palette to deal cards or remove them from the table, even though this practice is slowly becoming a thing of the past. As always, the table has a specific pattern, with clearly marked positions to place your bets. In land-based casinos, you have to place chips, but if you are wondering how to play baccarat in an online casino – simply set the betting limit and click the position you like.
Baccarat Basics 101
If you never played baccarat, we created a useful step-by-step guide that will inform you of some basic elements of this game. Here is how to play baccarat card game!
- Find your game – there are several different variants of this game (more on that later). The best way to play baccarat is at an online casino, as there you can read all the rules and take your time (unless you are playing at baccarat live casino).
- Decide on your hand – before you place the bet, decide what hand you want to play, as there are three possibilities – player, banker, and a tie. The house edge is around 1%, so you don’t have to overthink.
- Check out the cards – but don’t touch them if you are in a brick-and-mortar casino.
- Wait for the announcement – the dealer announces the winner, removes the cards from the table, and announces a new coup (round).
Baccarat Rules and Card Values
Now that you know what round of baccarat looks like, you probably want to know more about the hand values as that is the only possible way to know how to play baccarat, once you are at the table. Surprisingly, baccarat card values are slightly different than in most other games.
- Ace – 1 point
- 2-9 – their face value in points, regardless of the color
- All cards with images (K, Q, J) – 0 points
- Joker – not included in the game
As previously stated – there are three positions you can bet on, and every one of them has its dedicated spot on the table. Once everyone has placed their bets, the dealer will put the cards, face down in this particular order:
The first round of dealing cards involves only 2 cards for each type of bet. The dealer will now turn cards for everyone to see and announce the total points for each hand. If a total of a hand is more than 10, then the value of the hand is only the second digit. For instance, the player position gets 8 and 7, which is 15 in total, but 5 in baccarat points. The closer to 9 the hand is the better.
If after those cards are dealt, one hand has a value of 8 or 9 in points, this is called a “natural win” and the coup is over. Another round can start. Otherwise, there are two important rules that apply:
- Player’s rule – if the player has an initial total of 0–5, they draw a third card. If the player has an initial total of 6 or 7, they stand.
- Banker’s rule – if the player stood pat, the banker regards only their own hand and acts according to the same rule as the player, that is the banker draws a third card with hands 0–5 and stands with 6 or 7.
In case the player opted for an additional card, the game is played as follows:
- The banker has 2 points or less – draws card regardless of player’s cards.
- The banker has 3 points – banker draws a card unless the player got an 8 as the 3rd card.
- The banker has 4 points – the banker draws a third card if the player’s third card was 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
- The banker has 5 points – and he draws a card if the player’s third card was 4, 5, 6, or 7.
- For a total of 6 – the banker draws a card in case the player’s third card was 6 or 7.
- The banker has 7 points – he stands.
If after dealing the initial hand, both the player and the banker have 6 points, it’s a tie.
Once the hand is over, the dealer will announce the winner and transfer chips to the winner. If you are playing online, the winnings will be automatically added to your gaming balance. As you can see, the most complicated part about this game is figuring out whether or not you have to accept the additional card, but once you start playing it, this decision will come naturally. If you are still wondering how to play baccarat and what your odds are, just keep reading!
We already mentioned how when playing baccarat house odd is only around 1%, which makes it one of the most popular games among players who like to win. The thing is that in this game, you have as good chances as the house to win or lose any given hand. Reputable casinos with proper equipment (or computer algorithms or professional live dealers in case of online casinos) don’t manipulate the dealing process so you can bet anyone can win. Of course, there are some odds involved.
- Hose edge on player bets – 1.06%
- House edge on banker bets – 1.36%
- House edge on tie bets – 14.4%
- Bettors chances for winning – 44.62%
- Bettors chances for losing – 45.85%
- Chances for hand to end as a tie – 9.53%
Keep in mind these are only some basic statistics related to the game. If you want to know how to play baccarat like a pro and learn more about the numbers involved, make sure to read some books about this popular game.
Let’s get back at those numbers. If math wasn’t exactly your favorite subject in school, maybe some perspective will help you make the decision whether this game is right for you. Let’s take another popular game of chance as an example – roulette. Depending on the variant, roulette gives you chances anywhere from 5% to a little more than 30% for winning. Compared to baccarat, which gives you basically 50:50 chances, it is more than obvious why so many punters love this game.
How to Win Baccarat
Now that you know how to play baccarat, it is about time you learn some tips and strategies. Just like any other game, baccarat has many hard-core fans convinced they have found the “perfect combination”, but we guarantee you’ll have more success if you follow our simple rules and focus on established strategies.
Here are the top 3 strategies in baccarat:
- One-Sided Strategy – also known as BOSS (The Baccarat One-Sided Strategy) is simply self-explanatory. You have to choose a side and stick to it. If it seems that things might not work out, activate stop loss (possible if you are playing at a live online casino), and never allow yourself to lose more than three hands in a row.
- Trend Switch Combat Baccarat – contrary to the one we mentioned previously, according to this strategy, the player should always switch bets between the banker and the player position.
- Breaking the Doubles Strategy – most baccarat outcomes can be predetermined by patterns, mostly PB or PP or BB. This strategy allows you to feed on them, and utilize them for your own benefit. However, considering that discovering patterns is not exactly a piece of cake, rather focus on the previous two strategies, especially if you are a complete beginner.
To conclude this article, we also created a small list of the best baccarat tips:
- Use the demo – if you are playing online, make sure to use the free demo to learn how to play the game properly, and exercise discovering patterns.
- Don’t bet on a tie – tie bets give the house the biggest edge, and you definitely don’t want that.
- Pay attention – being mindful is always a plus, whatever system or strategy you choose. Not only does being focused allow you to discover patterns, but also to keep losses under control.
- Be intuitive – sometimes our guts know best, so trust your instincts.
- Skip the mini-baccarat – especially if you are a beginner. This is considered to be a high-stakes game, and due to its fast pace, it is not suitable even for most average casino players.