The card game Baccarat is not as well-known as other casino games like poker and blackjack, but its origins are just as rich. Invented in Italy in the fifteenth century, the name baccarat – the French spelling of the Italian baccara – means zero and refers to the value of the picture cards.
As Baccarat spread around the world it developed different forms. In France it became known as Chemin-de-Fer and was a favourite of the French aristocracy for centuries. Chemin-de-Fer is also the favourite game of fictional spy James Bond, and he can be seen playing it in several movies.
Another variant is American Baccarat or Punto Banco which developed in South America and the Caribbean. This is the type most often found in casinos because it pits players against the house instead of against each other.
Baccarat is simple to play and easy to learn, so why it never became as popular as other table games is a mystery. Casinos tried to market it as a game for the elite, setting high minimum bets and reserving tables away from the main casino floor. This added to the allure of the game, but may also have made players feel like Baccarat wasn’t a game they could try.
Nowadays, Baccarat is available in different forms in most online casinos, helping to raise its popularity and introducing more players to this intriguing card game.
How to Play Baccarat
Because Punto Banco is the most common form of Baccarat, we’ll consider those rules. Two hands of two cards are dealt, one designated ‘player’ and one designated ‘banker’. Before the cards are revealed players can place bets on which hand they think will win, or they can bet on the two values being tied.
The winning hand is the one whose value is nearest to 9. Unlike blackjack, the hands cannot ‘bust’ by going over as only the unit value of each total is counted: for example, a 9 and a 6 would score a total of 5 (the 1 of 15 is ignored).
In certain circumstances a third card can be dealt to either hand. These are dictated by set values, such as if the player has less than 6, or the banker totals 3 or less. Baccarat is a spectator game, like roulette, as players don’t need to make any decisions about the cards, only which hand they are going to bet on.
Top Tips for Winning at Baccarat
The game really is as simple as it sounds, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve your chances. Here are some top tips from industry insiders to help you make the most of your bets and have the best chance of walking away with a profit.
Never opt for the tie bet
Yes, it pays much higher returns, but the chances of the two hands tying for value are very slim. Most tie bets pay 8:1, but they have a house edge of 14.4%, which is 14x higher than betting one of the hands. Leaving this option well alone is a no brainer.
Bet the banker
It might seem like both player and banker have equal chances of winning, but that isn’t quite so. Because of the specific rules set down for each hand about when to draw a third card and when to stand. The house edge for the banker is 1.06% and for the player is 1.26%, indicating that the banker is slightly more likely to win.
The real money rolls in when the banker goes on a winning streak, and by continuing to bet on the banker, you’ll ensure you’re onboard when it does.
Take a break when the banker loses
Once the banker’s winning streak is over, pass the next round and watch to see what happens. Whichever hand wins should be the one you bet on next time. If it’s a tie, wait another round.
However, if you’ve been riding on the player’s winning streak, you should switch to banker as soon as you lose. Don’t wait a round, get straight on that next streak!
Manage your bankroll carefully
Baccarat is a quick game with very little time between hands. This makes it easy to lose track of how much you’re betting. Give yourself a set amount to start with, and when that’s gone, don’t be tempted to add more.
You can use some betting strategies to help you decide how much to wager, but remember that none of them guarantee you’ll make a profit.
Live baccarat adds an extra level of drama
Baccarat is growing in popularity at online casinos, so much so that operators are always looking to improve the experience for players.
At 888 Casino, you’ll find state of the art technology including multiple camera angles and smart readers which display the values of the cards on your screen, while real time chat functions let you talk to the dealers, who are knowledgeable and well-versed in the rules of the game, ensuring your live baccarat experience is as close to perfect as possible.
Baccarat is a quick game which is easy to pick up and has simple strategies to help you make the most of your game. Follow these simple tips and you will have a fun time whilst maximising your chances of walking away a winner.