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Baccarat is one of the most ancient and simple casino games played globally. There are many strategies and tips peddled on how to play and win the contest. Let’s find out if they are right.

Todd Knowles
  • Todd Knowles
  • 09-10-2020

What is Baccarat?

Simply put, Baccarat is a contest that involves comparing cards and is played between two hands (the banker and the player). The game’s objective is to move as close to as you can, but not beyond nine. The hand that achieves a value that is closer to or equal to nine is declared the winner.

Its origin is quite debatable. Some sources argue that it started back in the 19th Century. While others state that soldiers coming back from the Franco-Italian War introduced it to France from Italy by the turn of the 15th Century. Whichever the story is true is anyone’s guess. What we are most interested in is how we can enjoy this fascinating online casinocontest.

The play has variants. The three most popular variants are the punto banco (North American Baccarat), baccarat banque (a deux tableaux) and, baccarat chemin de fer (or simply “Chemmy”).

In punto banco, the cards that the croupier deals a player determine all the player’s moves. It’s the most played baccarat variant in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, Finland, and Sweden, and, in most cases, it’s simply called Baccarat.

On the other hand, in banque and chemin de fer, the players have the power to make choices. The winning odds always favour the bank and the house edge of not less than one percent, in whichever variant a casino offers.

Each baccarat round presents three possible results: hand winning, the bank winning, or a tie from both teams. The card(s) a hand is dealt always determine the winner and the outcome of the activity.

Unlike in blackjack, where your decisions and moves affect each game’s results, Baccarat is more of luck and chances. You only decide which side to bet on and how much stake you place at the start of each coup (round of play) and then wait for the results.

baccarat dealer dealing cards on blue punto banco table

How to play Baccarat

Did we mention to you that it’s the most straightforward casino game? Well, it’s true. The only thing you look out for is seeing the hand you staked on getting a value close to or nine. There are no strict rules to follow since everything is done and decided by the board or dealer.

Online Casino gaming has brought about a massive upsurge in the popularity of this game. Unlike the ancient days where you had to visit land-based casinos (which were sometimes miles away), you can enjoy the activity online as your pastime anywhere, anytime, provided you have an internet-linked smart device.

After you have selected your favourite online casino, the next step is making a deposit. After that, you only have two decisions to make: which hand you are betting on, and how much stake you are placing. There are many online casinos online that offer this game for free, especially if you are a beginner. If you are in such a casino, then skip the first step and proceed to choose the hand you’re betting on.

You can choose to either place your punt on the player to win or the banker. The croupier then deals with the banker and the player two cards each, face-up. Just these simple rules, and then we look at the results.

The titles player or banker refer to the two hands dealt in every baccarat coup. They represent outcomes that a gambler can back and are not significantly associated with either the house or the bettor.

If any of the players get a straight eight or nine (a natural), then the player wins, and everyone who placed a bet on them receive their respective prizes. On the other hand, if both of them receive a total value of eight or nine, we call that a tie. You receive your bets back, and the round comes to an end.

Let’s elaborate.

The game’s objective is to have a total value that is as close to nine as possible or get nine.

So let’s say you bet for the banker to win. If the banker is dealt two cards whose value adds up to or closest to nine at once, and the player’s value is way below, the banker wins. The vice versa is the same for the player. If the two hands tie, the round ends, and another commences. If no hand gets a value close to nine, then the player and banker will be allowed to draw more cards, although under given rules and conditions.

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How do I calculate the card value in Baccarat?

That’s relatively easy. In baccarat, all cards two through nine are worth their face value. A card with a nominal value of ten, the queen, the jack, and the king is worth zero; an Ace is worth one. If you’re dealt cards that add up to a number more than nine, the tens value is dropped, and the remaining number becomes the hand value.

For example, if the first two cards you draw have a nominal value of three and four—your total hand’s value is three plus four which equals seven.

If they have a face value of nine and six, the total hand value should be nine plus six, giving you a sum of 15. According to the rule, we leave out one and remain with five, which becomes the new face value.

If the face value is either ten, queen, king, or jack and a seven, then the hand’s total value is seven.

If face values are an ace and five, then the hand’s total value is one plus five which gives you a sum of six.

How to win at baccarat

Baccarat can have more than one player at every coup. After placing the bet, the dealer issues every side (player and banker) with two cards. If one side gets a value of nine or closest to nine instantly, the hand becomes the winner (natural). The round ends, the dealer pays out everyone who placed their bets in favour of the winning side and collects all the losing bets.

If both the banker and the player end up with a similar total value close to or nine, then we say there is a push (tie), and no one wins. You will receive back your bets, and the coup ends.

If no hand receives a natural win, the dealer consults the tableau (the French word for “board”) on the drawing possibilities. The conditions that will favour the player, or else, the banker to draw more cards depend on their total card value, although the rule is quite simple for the player. As a bettor, you don’t need to worry much, even if you don’t understand the rules since the dealer drives the process. No permission or action comes from you.

two men playing baccarat at land based casino table

Player’s & Banker’s rules for drawing

The player can draw a third card if their total hand value is between zero and five.

A banker’s chance to draw an extra card depends on their hand value and the player’s hand value. They can draw a third card under the following conditions.

  • If a banker’s has a total of two, they can draw a card irrespective of the player’s third card value.
  • If the banker has a total of three, they can draw a third one; unless the player’s drawn one value is eight.
  • If a banker has a total of four, they draw a third one, if the player’s drawn card was two, three, four, five, six, or seven.
  • If the player’s the player’s 3rd card is either a six or seven, the banker is allowed to draw an extra one.
  • If the banker’s sum total is at seven, then they stand.

After drawing the third card, the first hand that moves closest to or gets a total of nine wins the game.

The player pays even money—you get a profit of the same amount as your bet (100% your bet).

The banker, on the other hand, pays 95%. The five percent goes to the house since, in most cases, the banker always has a slight advantage over the player. The tie attracts an odd in the ratio of eight to one. However, it’s not always advisable to bet on a tie. The reason? Its chances of occurring are close to nil.

cash money in dollars, hundred dollar bills in a box

Baccarat winning strategy

Many people may peddle speculations about the possibility of using a strategy to your advantage over the house. There is not even a single guaranteed strategy or rule that can drive you into edging over the house from research and many credible sources. Baccarat is a pure game of luck, and as an online bettor, you only decide who to bet on and the amount to place a bet. The rest is a decision beyond your powers.

Some of these so-called strategies will milk your pockets dry or drain your bankroll faster than you think. Take, for example, the Martingale system, whereby for every lost bet, you double your previous bet on the next. If you plan to spend $5,000 on betting, you place $ 1,000 on your first bet and lose. You place $2,000 on the second and lose. To place the third bet, you’ll need $4,000 and your balance is $2, 000. The result is you remain frustrated or end up spending more than you initially budgeted.

Baccarat is more of luck and chance, and no strategy is a guarantee for winning. However, practice and patience may make you perfect in the sport. Be keen on your bankroll management skills and, just like all other gambling activities, first try out a free game, practice healthy limits, and be responsible.