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On this page, we take a look at the history of baccarat, how it is traditionally played, and guide players to the best online baccarat games.
Online Baccarat – A Brief Description
Online Baccarat is a card game where players compete to get the winning hand. A hand consists of two or three playing cards. The winning hand will be the one that has a total value of nine, or is the closest to nine, based on the predetermined value of each card. Players do not have to bet on the outcome of their hand but can bet on the hand they think will win.
How the cards are dealt in a game of baccarat may be determined by the variant being played, though the rules remain virtually the same across all the main versions of the game. Punto Banco is simply a game of chance, whereas Chemin de fer and Baccarat Banque allow players to affect the outcome of a hand a little more.
The History of Baccarat
The exact origin of baccarat is yet to be determined; it is believed to have been devised by Felix Falguiere around 1480. He based the game on an ancient Etruscan ritual and used tarot cards to turn it into a wagering game. The name comes from an Italian slang word that means zero, based on the many possible hands that can add up to zero.
Baccarat Travels to the World
Baccarat was popularised in France after it made its way there from Italy. The game took nearly 500 years to become popular, with participation skyrocketing in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Since then it has become a staple at any casino, and a favourite amongst high rollers, who play the game in private rooms at casinos.
Chemin de fer remains the most popular version of baccarat in Europe, though Punto Banco gained enormous support in England, and made its way to the USA from there.
The game was further popularised and brought into mainstream culture by the 1953 James Bond book Casino Royale. The book described the Chemin de fer variation as Bond’s favourite casino game.
The Rules of Online Baccarat
Online Baccarat is similar to traditional baccarat, with the exception that players don’t wager against other players, but only against the house, which is called the banker in baccarat. Two hands are represented on screen after the cards have been dealt. Just like traditional baccarat, players bet on which hand they think will win, or they can bet on there being a tie.
Online Baccarat Outcomes and Bets
With all baccarat games, there are only three possible outcomes – the player wins, the banker wins, or it’s a tie. Players do not have to wager on their hand, but rather wager on the hand they think will win. The winning hand is the one that is closest to nine.
All the cards in a deck have different values and add up in different ways. Below we take a look at the rules of online baccarat, which are applicable on all three variants, the value of each card in the deck, and how the totals are added up.
The ‘Baccarat’ Hand
The worst possible hand in a game of baccarat is zero and is called ‘baccarat.’ Six decks are used and reshuffled after each hand is dealt. The player’s hand is dealt first.
If the player’s hand, which is comprised of the first two cards they are dealt, adds up to between zero and five, they are dealt another card. Anything between six and nine means the player will not be dealt another card. Six and seven is called a ‘Stand,’ while eight and nine is called ‘Natural,’ as the hand is considered naturally strong.
If the banker’s hand, also comprised of the first two card they are dealt, adds up to zero, one, or two, they are dealt another card. This varies greatly depending on the variation of the game being played.
The value of each card, no matter what suit, is determined as:
- Ace = 1.
- Cards 2 – 9 = The card’s face value.
- 10, Jack, Queen, and King = 0.
The Jokers are removed from the pack and aren’t used in play.
The total value of the hand is calculated by counting the value of all of the cards dealt. However, if the total of a hand adds up to ten or more, the first digit of the total is removed. For example:
- 10 = 0
- 11 = 1
- 12 = 2
- 19 = 9
The Variations of Traditional Baccarat
Traditional baccarat has three main variants that are popular around the world. Certain markets prefer certain versions,
The most popular version of baccarat, both in England and the United States of America. Punto Banco is purely a game of chance. There are no optional plays, and the playing cards are all dealt according to the fixed rules. Modern games of Punto Banco allow players to bet on a tie, called egalité.
The main variation that Punto Banco has is how the banker’s cards are dealt. The bankers draw determined by the player’s hand.
So, if the bank has a zero, one, or two, the bank will draw another card regardless of the player’s total. The rest of the draws are determined as:
|If The Bank Has||They Draw Another Card If The Player Has|
|3||0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9|
|4||2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7|
|5||4, 5, 6, 7|
*The banker only draws if the player’s total of six or seven is reached after they drew three cards.
Chemin de fer
A version of baccarat that was popular in France. Chemin de fer requires at least six players to participate. Any number of players may bet against the banker in this variant.
This version of baccarat was popularised by the 1953 James Bond novel Casino Royale.
Baccarat Banque varies from Chemin de fer and Punto Banco and is played on a specially designed table. That is thin in the middle, and players sit on either end of the table.
In Baccarat Banque, players cannot wager on the banker’s hand, only on their own and on other players’ hands. Players can wager on hands on any side of the table, a move called ‘playing across the line.’
The Variations of Online Baccarat
Live Video Baccarat
Live video baccarat offers all the thrills of baccarat in a live casino with the safety and privacy of online casino games. A live video baccarat game is played exclusively by the player and the banker. Bets can thus be made on the player’s or the banker’s hand. These live dealer casino games are usually operated and licensed by Evolution Gaming, the industry leader in live video casino games. Baccarat is one of the best gambling games available.
Microgaming Online Baccarat
Microgaming, the industry leader in online casino games, has three different online baccarat games available for internet gambling players to enjoy. These are:
- Baccarat: Microgaming Baccarat is played on a mini table, meaning the game is played with only one deck of cards. Because of the one deck, the house edge is much lower on mini table baccarat. This makes it perfect for beginner players.
- High limit baccarat: High limit baccarat is aimed at more experienced players. It has a much higher wagering limit, and while still played on a mini table, it is played with eight decks of 52 cards. The game also has an autoplay feature.
- Baccarat Gold: The most advanced of the three Microgaming baccarat games. Played on a regular, nine seat baccarat table, though it remains a player versus banker game. Stellar graphics and sound make it the most interactive baccarat game on offer.
Online Baccarat Glossary
- Banker Bet – When a player wagers that the banker will win the round.
- Croupier – A casino employee or representative who monitors the tables and ensures play is fair.
- Shoe – The oblong carrier used to deal cards
- Natural – A term used if the first two cards that are dealt with a player or banker add up to eight or nine.
- Mini Baccarat – A smaller version of the game, usually found at online casinos. Players only play against the banker and not other players.
- Punto Banco – A variant of baccarat. Punto means “player” and Banco means “banker.”
Online Baccarat Tips and Tricks
- Quit while you’re ahead: Players should plan their strategies with care and precision. Experienced players set a reasonable amount they expect to win, and cash out when they reach that amount.
- Plan and stick to a budget: It is vital that players stick to a budget. Players should plan out how much they have to spend on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. So, if a player can afford to spend 200 a month, they can divide that into 50 a week.
- Bet on a win: Ties are possible but unlikely. Always bet on a win, as the chances of a win for a player or banker are much higher.
- Look for online casinos that take the least commission: Online casinos take a small commission on wins on a banker’s hand. The commission usually doesn’t exceed 5%, but players should still look out for online casinos that take the least commission.
- Practice for free: Most internet casinos online allow players to play their games for free before making a wager. Players should always try out a game for free and ensure that they know the rules of play.
- Try mini table baccarat: Beginners should always start with mini table baccarat. The house edge is low, and the rules aren’t complicated.
- Banker bets are good: The banker is the best possible bet. Although wins on banker bets are subject to a commission, the there is a 44.6% chance of winning on a banker bet, the best in the game.