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Decoding Baccarat: A Beginner’s Guide to the Game




Baccarat is one of the oldest casino games still played. Believed to have been created back in the 1400s in Italy, the name is derived from “baccara,” which is Italian for “0.” Although Baccarat games have evolved greatly over the centuries, their popularity and the thrill they deliver have not changed in the slightest. So, if you are also looking forward to enjoying all the thrill this incredible game of luck and strategy has to offer, then keep reading. This complete guide to the game tells you all the rules you need to know as well as a few tips and tricks that will help you bring your A-game to the table.

Introduction to Online Baccarat Games: Understanding the Basics

At its core, Baccarat is an elegant game of chance where players strive to predict the outcome of each game against the Banker. Sounds simple, right? Well, while the basics are simple, there are a few little intricacies you need to be aware of to ensure that you can fully enjoy the game while you are sitting at the table. So, here we delve deep into the basics of online Baccarat.

Objective of the Game

The name of the game comes from the Italian word for 0, namely “baccara.” This is significant because the name ties into the objective and purpose of the game. In order to win, the goal is to get a hand of cards that is closest to 9. This is made more complicated by the fact that all cards above 9, which includes the 10s cards and the face cards, carry a value of 0.

And how can you win? When playing a live Baccarat game online, all you need to do is predict whether the Player will win, the Banker will win, or if the game will end in a Tie. The highest hand one can have in a game is 9 while the lowest is 0. But, the calculation is where another level of complication is added – only the right-side number, or the one’s value, of the total score is considered when collecting points.

For example, imagine you end up with a 10, a 7, and an 8 card. In that case, with the 10 being considered a 0, your total score is 7 + 8 = 15. However, your hand value is only 5, which is the one’s value of your score. In the same scenario, if the banker ends up with a King, a 5, and a 6 card, then the total will be 0 (for the King) + 5 + 6 = 11. In this case, the hand value is only 1, which means that you win the round with a higher value of 5.

Betting in a Baccarat Game Online

Betting plays a crucial role in online Baccarat games. There are majorly 3 types of bets you can place – the Banker Bet, the Player Bet, and the Tie Bet. Regardless of the bet you choose to place, you need to pay attention to the house edge and house commission to prevent any unexpected losses.

  • Banker Bet: The Banker bet is the most popular bet in Baccarat games, primarily due to the house edge being the lowest along with the odds making the Banker more probable to draw cards closest to 9. Adding to its popularity are the rules regarding when the third card for the Banker can be drawn or not. While the payout for this bet is 1:1, bettors do need to be careful that there is commonly a slightly high commission associated with this bet due to the high probability of winning.
  • Player Bet: Contrary to the Banker bet, this bet is placed on the Player. If the player achieves a hand closest to 9, then the Player and those betting on the Player win. While the Player’s odds of winning are not dismal, they are certainly lower than the Banker, primarily since the rules regarding the rules for drawing the third card for the player are comparatively not so favorable for the Player. The payout for this bet is also 1:1, albeit without any house commission associated with it.
  • Tie Bet: While the two previous bets boasted somewhat favorable probabilities, the Tie bet is the worst of the three. This bet involves betting on both the Banker and the Player having the exact same hand value, whatever the value may be. The probability of this occurring is incredibly low, hence it being the least popular bet. However, due to its lack of probability, it also offers a much higher payout of 8-1.

Rules of the Game

In standard live Baccarat online games, also known as American Baccarat or Punto Banco, up to 6 or 8 decks of cards are generally used. The cards are worth the face value of the card, with the number denoting their scores. The Ace is worth 1 point while all 10s and face cards are worth 0. This means that apart from the 10s and face cards, Ace is the lowest-value card and 9 is the highest-value card. When playing the game, the following 4-step gameplay is followed.

Step 1: Placing the Bets

The game starts with you placing bets on the outcome of the game. As listed above, you can bet on the Baker, the Player, or a Tie between the two.

Step 2: Shuffling and Dealing Cards

Once all bets are made, the dealer deals 2 cards each to the Player and the Banker, both placed face down.

Step 3: Beginning of the Game

The game begins once both the Player and Banker turn their cards over. Unless either of them naturally has a hand that meets the winning conditions, the game continues by dealing more cards. In this situation, the participants can choose to “Draw” or “Stand.” Draw means they are not satisfied with the card they have and would like to draw more, while Stand means they would like to proceed with the hand they currently have.

In the event the participants would like to “Draw,” there are certain rules and requirements associated with it.

  • Player’s Hand: The rules for the Player are pretty simple and determine whether the Player needs to draw or stand. If the initial cards of the Player have a total value of 5 or less, then they need to draw a third card. If the total value is 6 or 7, then they will need to stand.
  • Banker’s Hand: The rules for the Banker are slightly more complicated. SInce the Player always takes action first, the Banker’s actions depend on the Player’s actions. So, if the Player chose to stand, then the Banker follows the same rules applicable to the Player – drawing a card if the total value is 5 or less and standing if the total value is 6 or 7. The complication arises if the Player chooses to draw a third card. Following are the rules associated with such a situation:
    • If the Banker’s total value is 2 or less, then the Banker has to draw a third card.
    • If the Banker’s total value is 3, then the Banker draws another card unless the Player’s third card was an 8.
    • If the Banker’s total value is 4, then the Banker draws another card if the Player’s third card was any number from 2 to 7.
    • If the Banker’s total value is 5, then the Banker draws another card if the Player’s third card was either 4, 5, 6, or 7.
    • If the Banker’s total value is 6, then the Banker draws another card if the Player’s third card was 6 or 7.
    • If the Banker’s total value is 7, then the Banker has to stand and cannot draw a third card.

Step 4: Determining the Winner

The winner is determined when either participant ends up with a hand closest to the value of 9. Based on the above rules, the participants may end up with 2 or 3 cards. Accordingly, by calculating the value of the cards each participant has and then only considering the one’s value of the total score, the one with the higher value closer to 9 wins the game.

5 Tips and Tricks for Your Next Baccarat Game

There are a few tips and secrets that you need to know the next time you go for live Baccarat games, be it at the casino or on your computer. These tips will help you understand the game better as you keep playing it more frequently and give you insight where you need to bet and how you need to play.

  • Banker Bet is the Safest Bet: The Banker bet is the safest bet with the lowest house edge, while the Tie bet has the highest house edge. This is because even though the Tie bet offers an 8-1 payout, the chances of succeeding on it are low and there is also a significant house edge or commission you need to pay off. So, even if you do win, you may still not have enough bankroll to pay off the commission, which can be problematic.
  • Apply Betting Strategies: You can plan and manage your bets as per the many different strategies to ensure you are not overspending and stay within your goal. For Baccarat games, Martingale Strategy, Reverse Martingale Strategy, Fibonacci Sequence System, Labouchere System, and the 1-3-2-6 System are considered the most appropriate strategies.
  • Take Advantage of the Online Platform: Many Baccarat online platforms allow you to practice the game for free. So, it is always ideal to take advantage of such free game opportunities to allow you to get a full grasp on the way the game is played before diving headfirst into it with your real money. You can also apply the betting strategies mentioned above to the demo mode to understand which one you are the most comfortable with or which one seems to be the most profitable for you.
  • Understand Commission Rates: Before any game, keep in mind that there is a commission associated with each game. So, it is ideal to be aware of the commission rate that the online casino charges on winning bets. Accordingly, it is ideal to prepare a substantial bankroll to ensure that you can pay off the commission alongside your winnings.
  • Play Responsibly: The most important tip is that you need to play responsibly. It is easy to get swept away in a game, especially if you have continuous winning streaks. However, if you seem to be having a good day with multiple winning streaks, then it is always best to quit while you are ahead and have positive earnings. You can also set a budget for each round or set a limit in terms of the number of Baccarat games you will play to control yourself from losing too much money.

Wrapping Up

Baccarat is a thrilling game of luck that has enchanted people over multiple centuries. As long as you play responsibly, it is also a game that will have you on the edge of your seat, be it at the casino or in the comfort of your home through online live Baccarat. So, get a thorough understanding of the rules and betting methods and get some practice in with the free demo play modes, and you will be ready to enjoy the Baccarat table to the fullest in no time.