It is time to delve into the history, rules and winning possibilities of yet another popular table game; baccarat! The game of baccarat is often overshadowed a little by its bigger and more popular “siblings” blackjack and roulette. That is no reason, however not to have a look at the rich history of this game.
And while we’re at it, we might as well also explain the rules to you, so you can try your hand at some online baccarat and figure out your odds and card values with our handy guide. So, buckle up and get ready to dive deep into this former game of aristocrats and learn about the pull it has now, in the age of online gambling.
We’re going to have a proper look at baccarat from its earliest days until today where you can play a quick game of online baccarat almost anywhere and anytime, thanks to the wonderful technology of online casinos.
15th century – Seeing that baccarat goes straight back to the times of Columbus and co. means that it is one of the oldest casino games in existence. It was invented in Italy and that is also where the name stems from, since baccara used to mean zero in Italian. And since all the face cards (except the ace) and tens have zero value in baccarat, you can see why it is more than fitting.
16th century – It is believed that baccarat made its way to neighboring France at the end of the 15th century thanks to soldiers returning from the Franco-Italian War. They brought it to their home country during the reign of Charles VIII and it the game became an instant hit with his majesty himself and his surrounding noblemen. Soon after, baccarat became a favorite among the French aristocracy and remained so for several centuries.
20th century – Let’s take a big jump here and explore how baccarat made its way over the channel to England where it caught the attention of some Ian Fleming who became a big fan an incorporated baccarat into his crime novels, creating the world’s most famous fictional baccarat player. We are, of course talking about the spy James Bond!
Over time, baccarat also made its way to the United States where it was incorporated into casinos in Las Vegas in the 1950s. And while it didn’t catch on like roulette or slot games, it became a staple of casino play for the gambling elite and was also marketed as such. Baccarat tables were set up in separate rooms with high-end furniture and high minimum bets, making the game somewhat special and only open to a select few.
21st century – Fast forward to nowadays and baccarat finally got rid of its reputation of being elitist thanks to the rise of online casinos. Nowadays, everybody can play online baccarat in the online casino of their choice. They might not sit in cushy chairs of the finest leather and they might not drink the most expensive scotch while they’re doing it, but that doesn’t matter anymore. Today, baccarat is open to anyone.
Online Baccarat vs Land Based Baccarat
As mentioned in the history, baccarat used to be a game for the elites. And in the times of land-based casinos this was kept up. The separate chambers and high buy-ins prevented your average casino-dwelling everyday-man from playing baccarat a lot.
But in the days of online casinos, no such restrictions exist anymore. Everyone can now play a round of online baccarat wherever and whenever they want to. Just navigate to your favorite online casino and there you can choose to either play online baccarat in the table games section or even at a live casino table.
You’ll get the pure baccarat experience without having to leave the comfort of your own home. What’s not to like?
How to Play Baccarat Online
Playing online baccarat isn’t much different from playing baccarat in a land-based casino. The only difference is that it is more inclusive in an online casino, since you can circumvent high minimum bets and dress codes.
Just like in a “real” casino, there’re only three outcomes in online baccarat, the player wins, the banker wins or there’s a tie. Just like offline, the dealer (or the computer) does pretty much all the work in online baccarat.
Understanding the Baccarat Table Layout
The table layout of a baccarat table is fairly simple. Since there’re only three outcomes, that is all you need to put on the table.
Full-sized baccarat tables can usually be found in secluded areas of the casino floor in a land-based casino, since it is mostly used to attract high rollers and the table limits can be incredibly high.
A baccarat table is oval and comes with yellow numbers on each side. The numbers go from 1 to 15 with the 13 being skipped for reasons of superstition. In some oriental cultures the number 4 is considered unlucky and will therefore sometimes be skipped instead or as well.
On one side of the baccarat table, there will be a cutout in the shape of a “u” that is supposed to give a place for the dealer to stand (this can be skipped in online baccarat, obviously).
What you will see at the place where you’re sitting is a field with your three outcomes (banker, player, tie) and places for you to place your chips on the outcome you predict.
It’s as simple as that. A full-sized baccarat table usually has place for 14 players and three dealers (one of them is the caller and they rotate). Each player has fields in front of them to place their chips on one of the three outcomes. The middle of the table is reserved for the dealers and it helps them keep track of all the bets and it is also where the caller deals the hands.
Mini Baccarat Layout
The mini-baccarat table is basically a full-sized one cut in half. There’s only space for up to 7 players and it also only needs one dealer. but that is where the differences end already. The only other thing is that the bet sizes are usually also lower on the mini tables.
Seeing those differences, the mini table is where you’ll want to start off if you’re new to the game of online baccarat. Things are just a little simpler here.
Understanding Card & Hand Values in Baccarat
The question of card values in baccarat has a fairly straight-forward answer. All cards 2 to 9 are worth their face value, so a 7 would be worth 7 points and so on.
Tens, jacks, queens and king are all worth nothing and the ace is worth one point. Your hand of two cards has the value of the rightmost digit of its added value. So, if you have a hand of jack (which is worth zero) and a 7, your hand would be worth seven points. If your hand consists of a seven and a five, however this would add up to 12 points and so your hand would only be worth 2 points, since that is the rightmost digit. Easy enough, isn’t it?
Getting Familiar with Basic Baccarat Terminology
In order to properly understand online baccarat, you’ll have to familiarize yourself with some of its terminology. But fret not, we’re here to help with a handy dictionary of the most important baccarat terms!
Burning is the removal of the top 3 to 6 cards before the game starts. This is done right after shuffling.
Caller is the dealer that is responsible for dealing the hands at your baccarat table.
Coup is a French word that describes a round of baccarat with both a banker hand and a player hand.
Loss bet is a bet against the bank.
Natural is when your two received cards add up to either 8 or 9.
Shoe is the box that holds the cards and from which the cards are dealt.
Tie bet is when the dealer and the player get the same amount of points. Neither hand wins in this case.
Understanding the Order of Play in Baccarat
The first thing you’ll have to do in a game of online baccarat is decide which outcome the next hands will result in. You have three choices, bet on the banker, the player or a tie.
After that the two hands are dealt by the dealer. The player hand and the banker hand. The cards will then be turned face up and the next moves are determined. If either player or banker card get a value of 8 or 9, that hand wins and the bets are paid out.
There are, however some situations when further action is required. If the player’s hand is worth between 0 and 5 points, an additional third card is dealt.
If the player drew a third card, the banker has some rules to follow for his own hand.
If his total is 2 or less, the banker draws a third card, no matter what the player’s third card was
If the total is 3, a third card is drawn if the player’s third card wasn’t an 8
If the total is 4, a third card is only drawn if the player’s third card was 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7
If the total is 5, a third card is only drawn if the player’s third card was 4, 5, 6 or 7
If the total is 6, a third card is only drawn if the player’s third card was 6 or 7
And the banker will have to stand if his total is 7
After all those shenanigans, bets are finally paid out. Bets are paid out as even money on player bets and 95% of even money on banker bets with a 5% house commission. In the case that player and bank have a hand of the same value, all bets on tie are paid out 8 to 1 and all bets on player or banker stay in place for the next game. Although, depending on casino rules, players might also be able to retract these bets.
Basic Baccarat Rules
A lot of the rules explain themselves when you understand the order of play, so we don’t want to repeat too much. As long as you understand the card values, your betting options and the rules for drawing a third card, you’ll be golden. Just make your bet on one of the three outcomes and let the game roll along.
Betting Options, Odds & Payouts in Baccarat
The three outcomes are that the:
player hand wins
the banker hand wins
the game results in a tie.
Since a tie is the most unlikely outcome, a correct prediction on this one will reward you with odds of 8 to 1. A bet on the player’s hand will grant you even money. The same goes for a correct bet on the banker’s hand, although you’ll have to forego 5% of your win as a commission to the house.
Types of Online Baccarat & Rule Variations
While the most common version is the one we explained in this guide, there are other variations of online baccarat that you can give a try.
One of the most common variations is EZ (easy) baccarat. You play it with the same rules as standard baccarat with a few slight differences. You don’t have to forego a house commission when you bet on the banker hand. If the banker gets a 7 with three cards, nobody wins since this is considered a push and you have two more betting options: Dragon 7 and Panda 8!
The Dragon 7 bet is one that you can make on top of your decision on the three traditional outcomes. Basically, the Dragon 7 overrides the possibility of a push and will get you a win if that outcome occurs. And it pays well with a 40 to 1!
The Panda 8 pays out 25 to 1 if the player hand totals 8 on the third card, simple as that.
Super Six Baccarat is another variation with an additional side bet. Here you can place a bet on the banker hand winning with a score of six and if that happens, you’ll receive a sweet payout of 12 to 1.
Three card baccarat on the other hand places some additional value on face cards. Here, the best possible outcome is to have three face cards and if a tie occurs, the hand with more face cards wins. There is also another possible bet to be placed here: Three Faces. if the banker hits three face cards, this bet will be paid out. And since the chances for this outcome are pretty slim, you can bag yourself odds of up to 96 to 1!
Popular Baccarat Strategies
While there might be a couple of baccarat strategies, none of them has proven to improve your winnings considerably. The only strategy that has a track record of improving your chances is the Martingale system which you might know from roulette. But even this one only works if there is no maximum bet and you have a nice cushy bankroll.
It works just as in roulette and at the core of it, it’s a very simple doubling system. You start by placing a bet on one of the even money outcomes, so the player or the banker. Every time you lose, you double your bet and once you win, you start over.
This strategy plays with the mathematics and will give you a plus, once you actually win. But, like we mentioned before, it only works if there are no maximum bets and if you’re not queasy about doubling up on your losing bets for quite a while. So, you’ll really need a fat bankroll to begin with.
DOs & DON’Ts in Baccarat
The most important thing when playing online baccarat is having fun and playing inside your financial means. You should never overextend yourself on your bets. Only play as much as you can afford to lose when push comes to shove.
It’s also important to know the basic rules (so after reading this guide you should be covered on that quite nicely). What you shouldn’t do is rely on betting strategies, but it doesn’t hurt to know and understand them.
One last tip from us is that you should avoid betting on a tie. It’s a rare outcome and the 8 to 1 odds don’t really reflect how rare. You’ll have much more fun just placing your bets on the even money outcomes and it will also stretch your bankroll for a much longer amount of time.
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