Baccarat is one of the easiest games to learn in a casino. It has some resemblance to blackjack but does not require any decision-making after the bet. Thus, it takes just a few minutes to learn.
The Object Of Baccarat
In essence, Baccarat is a simple guessing game. It’s just about betting which hands out of two that are dealt – the Banker’s hand and the Player’s hand – will win. A winning hand has the highest points out of a possible 9 points.
How to Play Baccarat Online
- Select Your Game – navigate to the table games in the online casino lobby. Many casinos will have more than one version of baccarat. We suggest choosing a standard baccarat game, rather than the “no commission” variety, as the odds and house edge we cite later correspond to regular baccarat.
- Adjust Your Stakes – after the game loads, you can increase or decrease your bets. Don’t worry if you make a mistake. You can always clear your bets.
- Place Your Bets – in baccarat, you bet on either the Player, Banker, or a Tie. The Player and Banker do not correspond to you or the house – they are just names for the two hands that are dealt. You can freely bet on either one. After you place your bet and hit the “Deal” button, the dealer deals two cards to each hand. The winner is the hand whose cards add up closest to 9.
- Cards 2 through 9 count as face value, Aces count as 1, and Tens through Kings count as 0.
- If the Player or Banker is dealt a total of 8 or 9 right off the bat, that’s an automatic winner, called a “natural.”
- If the cards add up to more than 9, the first digit is dropped and the second digit is the resulting value of the hand (ex: 6 + 8 = 14, drop the 1 to end up with a value of 4).
- If the Player has a total of 5 or less, the Player will be dealt one more card. If the Player stands (is not dealt one more card), the Banker will take another card if the Banker’s hand is 5 or less.
- There are other scenarios for the Banker taking another card if the Banker’s hand is more than 5 based on what third card the Player draws, but we won’t worry about those right now. The dealer does everything, so it is not important for our purposes at the moment. You can always check the game rules while you play to review everything. The important thing is which hand ends up closest to 9 in the end.
- Payouts Are Made – If you bet on the hand that ends up with the higher total, regardless of which hand it is, you win! A winning Player bet pays out 1/1 (ex: you bet $10, you profit $10). A winning Banker bet also pays out 1/1, but the casino takes a 5% commission, effectively making it a 19/20 payout. The reason for this is that the Banker has an advantage, always acting second. A winning Tie bet pays 8/1, but more on that later.
- Go Again – If you want to play another hand, you can clear your bets and start over, simply press the “Re-Bet” button to make the exact same bet you just made, or even click the button that doubles your previous bet. If you want to quit, just close the window and the money you had at the table will automatically be put into your account.
Baccarat card values
Card values in baccarat are very straightforward and easy to remember.
Numbered cards 2 – 9: These cards are worth face value i.e. a 5 of diamonds is worth 5 points
10 and face cards: These cards are worth zero points. Face cards are the Jack, Queen, and King
Aces: Aces are worth 1 point.
Hand values are based on the last digit of the sum of all the card values. For example, a player is dealt a 5 and a 9. Together, these add up to 14. The last digit is 4 so that is the value of the hand. In baccarat, the suits of the cards dealt are irrelevant.
Actions——Draws and stands
There are two actions that participants in a game of baccarat can take – draw or stand. When a player chooses to draw, an additional card is dealt, bringing the total hand size up to three cards. This is also referred to as a hit, i.e. we can say that the player hit for a card.
When a player stands, they indicate that they do not wish to draw and want to proceed with the game while holding the current value of their hand.
There are rules for when a participant can draw or stand and these are different for the Banker and the player.
Third Card Drawing Rule
Betting on Player
When a player bets on the Player, they are essentially making a wager on their hand beating the Banker’s. If the player’s hand is closer to 9 than the Banker’s, this is a win and the player will receive a 1:1 payout.
The house edge on a Player bet is 1.24%, which remains the same whether you are playing with 6 decks or 8. If you are playing with a single deck (a rarity), the house edge is 1.29%.
Betting on Banker
The Banker bet is the most popular with players because the house edge is slightly lower than the Player bet and much lower than the Tie bet. In a 6- or 8-deck game, the house edge is 1.06%. It is 1.01% in a single-deck game.
The Banker bet pays out 19:20, which is almost even money but it factors in the house’s 5% commission charge. This is implemented because of this bet’s popularity with players thanks to its higher likelihood of occurring.
Betting on Tie
The Tie outcome is the most unlikely but it remains a tantalizing option because of its 8:1 payout. It is so rare because it requires the Player and Banker hands to have exactly the same value.
The house edge on a Tie bet is, predictably, very high. In a 6-deck game, it is 14.44%. In an 8-deck game, it is 14.36%. In a single-deck game, it is even higher at 15.75%.
There are a multitude of possible side bets in baccarat but it is up to the casino/game developer which ones, if any, are offered. In standard baccarat, there are only three possible bets but below are a few examples of the side bets that are possible in variant games:
- Dragon Bonus: This is a bet on the size of the disparity between the winning and losing hand. The higher the win disparity, the bigger the payout. For example, a player might bet on a win disparity of 8, which means that the winning and losing hands must be at least 8 points apart.
- Even/Odd: This is a set of four side bets based on whether the final value of either of the two hands in play is even or odd
- Big and Small: This is a bet on the total number of cards in play, determined by whether the player hits or stands. If there are 4 cards on the table at the end of the game, the Small bet wins. If there are 5 or 6 cards on the table at the end, the Big bet wins
When making a pair bet, the player chooses either their own hand or the Banker’s hand and makes a bet on that hand being formed of a matching pair. The player can choose to bet on getting a pair themselves, the Banker getting a pair or both getting a pair.
The bet doesn’t specify the value of the cards, which can be two 10s, two 5s, two Aces or any other value, only that a pair is dealt. Remember, suits don’t matter in baccarat so the suits of the dealt cards are irrelevant.
Generally, casinos payout at 11:1 on this bet, which has a house edge of 10.36% to 11.25% for 8- and 6-deck games, respectively.
Rules And Strategies
As far as strategies are concerned, there really aren’t any viable ways to improve a player’s odds of winning. Some players have tried the Martingale betting system with mixed results, but the reality is that, aside luck, there’s no a mathematic formula to win at baccarat.
Check the Odds of the Game
This might seem obvious to some players. However, check the odds that are on offer before you start playing baccarat at an online casino. For instance, you might expect a casino to charge a commission of 5% on the Banker. However, a casino can charge up to 25% on the same bet. Some casinos offer less than 5%. Therefore, check the odds of the game to determine if they are good for you and maximize your winnings.
Don’t Change the Gaming Strategy Midway
Once you come up with a strategy, stick to it no matter what happens. Unless you have a valid reason to change your strategy, stick to its rules. But, if you set several bets and continue to lose, quit playing first and come back later. And, if you suspect that your chosen casino is the reason you’re losing, withdraw your money and quit.
Avoid a Tie Bet
The house edges for baccarat are very low on 2 of the three bets. The three baccarat bets are the Player, the Banker, and a Tie. The house edge for the Banker is around 1.06%, and that of the Player is around 1.24%. Wagering on the Banker means the player loses 1.06 units for 100 units. Wagering 100 units on the Player means you will lose 1.24 units. These house edges are great in casino schemes.
With a Tie, the house edge is around 14.4%. As such, you stand to lose 14.4 units when you wager 100 units. That means the bet will just waste your money. Therefore, avoid a Tie at all costs if you want to play Baccarat and win real cash.
Bet on the Banker
Your first bet at the baccarat table should be on the Banker. That’s because the Banker wins the player slightly more than 50%. But, to get an edge on the bet, a 5% commission will be taken from your winnings.
There is no specific strategy for winning real cash when playing online baccarat. However, you will increase your chances of making profits by following these tips for online baccarat.
Other Tips To Emphasize:
- Start with mini baccarat games which are perfect for beginners – they have lower table limits and smaller number of players so the whole experience is not so intimidating.
- If it’s possible play games with less than 8 decks of cards.
- Never wager all your money on a single bet.
- Be aware that betting a tie (also known as a standoff) – it’s tempting but at the same time it’s probably the worst bet you can do – the odds against one of the players winning are much better.
- Don’t bet against streaks.
- While betting, start with small amounts.
- Remember that counting cards at this game doesn’t work.
- Study the winning patterns.
- Remember that a natural 8 hand can only be beaten by a 9-hand.
- You have to draw your cards if your total comes out to be lower than 6 or 7.
- Take an advantage of offers and bonuses offered by the casino.