Baccarat is a very popular card game that is available at land-based as well as online casinos. The game has been immortalized on the silver screen as well, with the legendary spy James Bond favoring it as his casino game of choice. The game appears complicated but is simple to play, with rules that are easy to follow. You have three options to place bets on – the player winning, the banker winning, or a tie. Baccarat has always retained the aura of being a game for the rich and the high flyers. However, the advent of the online casino has changed that perception. Now anyone who has a decent budget and the interest can play baccarat at his favorite online casino from the comfort of his home. There are a number of bets that one can place, and at online casinos you get a range of interesting side bets to work with as usual.
The game of baccarat has a rich history spanning more than 500 years. Known popularly as the game of the aristocrats and nobility in the olden days, it is said to have been first created by Felix Falguiere in the 15th century in Italy. The name ‘baccara’ translates to zero and came from the fact that the value of the 10 card and all the face cards is worth just that, zero. The initial name of ‘baccara’ underwent a small upgrade later to become the French word ‘baccarat’.
The story has different versions as to the origin. One story has it that the game was based on an ancient Etruscan legend wherein a virgin threw a dice that had nine sides to decide her fate. A throw of 8 or 9 would elevate her to the haloed status of a priestess, while a throw of 6 or 7 would mean she could not take part in any religious or community events going forward. A throw of 5 or lower would mean she would be banished to the seas and death by drowning.
That original game had a slightly different mode of play than what you get today, of course. There were 4 dealers at that time compared to the one dealer today. Every player got a chance to be the banker and the players could bet not just on the banker or the player but also on other players in the game. Anyway, the game moved from Italy to France where it came to be known as Chemin de Fer and was popular among nobility, especially King Charles VIII. From there it moved to England where it grew in popularity as well.
From England the game crossed over to different parts of the world, sailing across to the Caribbean countries and also South America. The game went on to become Punto Banco and also subsequently a different form, popularly called American Baccarat emerged where the banker was the casino. The game reached the USA sometime in the 1950s and found its pride of place in the casinos of Las Vegas, making an appearance at the Sands Casino first. With the arrival of the Internet and the online casino, baccarat is now a globally popular game.
The game of baccarat is very easy to play. At a land-based casino a baccarat table can seat anywhere between 12 and 14 players. At an online casino you just sign up/log in, deposit funds, and place your wager to start playing. Regardless of where you play, the game remains the same: you can bet on the banker, the player, or a tie between the two. The game involves multiple decks of 52 cards, usually anywhere between 6 and 8 decks. The following are the card values in this game:
This is how the game plays out: the player and the banker are each dealt a hand of 2 cards face up. The hand value is the sum of the value of the individual cards. A hand value of double digits results in only the value of the right digit being considered. The objective of the game is to get a hand whose value is 9 or closest to it.
A hand with a value of 8 or 9 is a natural hand and whoever – banker or player – has the higher value is an automatic winner. If the player’s hand is valued at between 6 and 8 he stands; if his hand value is 5 or lower he hits and is given another card. The banker will also stand if his two-card hand is valued at between 7 and 9. A two-card banker hand total of 0 to 3 results in a hit. Depending on the total value of the player’s hand the banker may also hit on a hand total of between 4 and 6. The following is a brief summary of the banker’s hand play.
There are 3 major bets in baccarat. They are:
There are a number of popular side bets as well that you see mostly at online casinos offering baccarat. These bets are great because they give you a good chance to rack up a few extra wins on the side. We list a few popular ones for you below:
Baccarat is essentially a game of luck as that is the only element that determines what cards form the player or banker hands after the deal. There is no highly comprehensive strategy, therefore, that you can adopt to win consistently unlike in a game like blackjack or even video poker, for instance. The good thing about baccarat is that the house edge is quite low, just 1.4% on the banker winning. Given all of this, it is critical you are able to work out the numbers in your head correctly and that will happen only if you understand their import. Know, therefore, the odds associated with the different bets.
The odds of a player win are 44.62% compared to the odds of a banker loss at 45.85%. The banker will win about 51% of the time compared to 49% for the player, provided of course there is no possibility of a tie occurring.
The odds of a tie happening stand at 9.53% which is why it has a high payoff of 8 to 1.
Another critical element is thorough knowledge of the different baccarat bets and the odds associated with each of them.
Here are a few tips to succeed in baccarat if you are a beginner at the game.
Play games at casinos operated by well-known casino operators because they will use software from renowned software providers.
Do not bet on the tie bet as it has a worst odds of winning.
Do not latch on to any of the winning systems floating around online for baccarat; this is a game of chance, not skill.
Set a budget when you are looking to play for real money and ensure that you stick to the budget you have set.
Check out the games before you play them; the number of decks used can directly influence the outcome of a game: for instance games with less than 8 decks give you better chances of winning.