Baccarat Guide

Introduction to Baccarat

Baccarat is one of the oldest forms of gambling games in existence. It’s origins are unclear and it’s often debated whether Italy or France was the source. The game may seem intimidating to a casual gambler but I learned quickly that the game is a slower version of playing coin flips. This classic game kept the Las Vegas Strip alive during the recession and in Macau (often labelled an Asian Vegas), 95% of the games are Baccarat with the casinos focusing heavily on VIP treatment for players.

In the live version, players are given papers to keep track of every card and every deal. An advantage for card counting is debatable at best, but online it means nothing. It is safe to assume that online operators shuffles after every hand.

As much as aficionados want to hope that skill or counting will increase the chances of winning, the reality is that playing the banker every hand is the way I would play. The banker bet has a house hold of about 1.06%, but the player bet holds about 1.24%. Players wishing to hit a long shot may also bet the tie for a hold of 14.36%. While some players beat up the casinos on this game, overall it is a game that requires all luck and no skill.

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Learning The Ropes

Traditionally players and bettors alike thought that Baccarat was a very complicated game with lots of rules and it was only for the rich. What they don’t know is that it is one of the easiest games around hence it’s common place at all land based and online casinos. There are a few rules to get use to, but the goal of the game is simple. Closest to 9. As noted above the goal of the game is to see which hand, whether the dealer or the player hand will win. To win, the hand must be closest to 9.

Baccarat Table and Play

With the game of baccarat, the bettor holds the shoe and slides passes one card facedown to the stand-up dealer, who will then pass it to the customer with the largest player bet. The second card is placed next to the shoe and is the first card of the banker. The bettor then deals another player card, then the second banker card. The dealer calls for the player hand it is looked at and then turned over for all to see, at this point the dealer calls out the point total. Next the dealer calls for the banker hand, and the shoe holder looks at the cards and gives them to the dealer. If the player total requires a draw, the dealer will say, “Card for the player,” and the shoe holder will pass a card to the dealer, who will pass it to the player-bettor, who looks at it and passes it back to the dealer, who turns it face up. Finally, if the banker requires a card, the dealer will call, “Card for the bank,” and repeat the process with the shoe holder.

Card Values

* The objective of Baccarat is to draw a 2 or 3 card hand that totals closer to 9 than the banker.
* 10, J, K, Q count as 0.
* Aces count as 1 and all other cards are face value.
* If your total is more than ten, you drop the ten. So a 7-8 hand totals to 5.
* There is no such thing as a “bust” hand in Baccarat.

Player Rules

* The banker and the player each draw two cards.
* If either the player or banker totals 8 or 9, both automatically stand with no exceptions.
* If a player stands, the banker hits on a total of 5 or less.
* If a player’s total is 6 or 7, the player stands.
* If the player’s total is 5 or less, the player automatically hits and the banker gives the player a third card.

Banker Rules

If the player receives a third card then the banker draws a third card according to the following:
* If the banker hand totals 0,1,2: Banker always draws a 3rd card.
* If the banker hand totals 3: Banker draws if Player’s third card is 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9,0 and not 8.
* If the banker totals 4: Banker draws if Player thirds 2,3,4,5,6,7.
* Banker has a 5: The banker draws if Player thirds 4,5,6,7.
* Banker has a 6: The banker draws if Player thirds 6,7.
* Banker has a 7: The banker stands.
* Once the final cards are dealt, the one with the total closest to 9 wins.

Betting In Baccarat

If you bet on the Player hand you have a house edge of 1.24%. If you bet on the bankers hand the edge is either 0.6%. The Tie Bet pays out 8:1 but it’s very rare and it’s not really a good bet to have.

Mini Baccarat

In most high end European games you will have the cards dealt to the banker and player. In most games you see in the US and the world you have the dealer acting as both the player and the banker. This makes the game go by much quicker and it’s more enjoyable. Fun Fact: In the high end baccarat players are allow to tear or crumple cards after play. Not bad when you are dropping $2000 a hand.

Game Etiquette

When playing this game there are a few tips one should consider:

When buying in make sure to place your money on the table as the dealer cannot take it from your hands directly.
* Do not look at your cards if you are the player until all the cards have been dealt. If you are the banker do not look at the cards until the player’s cards have been revealed.
* Players are allowed to keep score of the table results and they can simply use an X in a column beneath the Banker, Player or Tie.

Online Bonuses

There is no such thing as an online baccarat bonus. That is because the house advantage is low and a player could play both the player and banker. A player that attempted this strategy would push on all ties, which occurs every seven hands, and only pay juice on a banker win. This only occurs 1.23% more often than a player win. This is enough of a reason for an online casino to exclude it from their bonus program.

A player that wants to play baccarat with a bonus will want to find a wager requirement of 94x or less to receive 100% payback or more. This rate applies to banker wagers only. Gamblers that prefer to bet on the player side will need to find a bonus of 80x or lower.

VIP Programs

One advantage to playing online baccarat over the live game is that not just high-rolling online players will qualify for a casino’s VIP program. Players that do not bet both sides will qualify for .1-.2% of their wagers back in the form of cash. Higher volume players may also earn more cash back or better bonus offers based off of their action.

My Personal Opinion Thoughts

Baccarat is a streaky game that is not based on skill. I do not play it for this reason. It is still an enjoyable game that is also fast. Players that are annoyed by the slow speed of playing the game live but still have fun playing it will want to try playing online.