Baccarat is a card game that dates back to the 1800s in France. It is a game of strategy, unlike some other traditional games that rely purely on luck. Today, the game has been transformed by technology into a favourite online casino game as well. Whilst baccarat is a guessing game, there are strategies which means you can win big.
Baccarat: a classic table game
At every version of Baccarat, two hands of cards are played at the table, one for the player and the other for the banker. If you have no casino close by, consider playing online using one of the selected offers at baccarat.net. The dealer pulls out one card for the player and another for the banker and repeats the process so each has two cards.
The cards point values are face value from numbers one to nine (an ace is worth one), with the 10, Jack, Queen and King worth zero. If you have a total of 10+, you just count the number after the 1. For example, if you have a total of 12, ignore the 1 for a point total of 2.
If the total points on the first two cards placed (player or banker) are 8 or 9, this is known as a “natural” or “natural win” and the game is over and bets paid. For totals that are not 8 or 9, the dealer can draw an additional card. If the player hand has a total of 6 or 7 nothing changes for them or the banker, unless the banker total is 5 or lower, in which case the banker takes an additional car.
Different versions of Baccarat
Played with six or eight full standard decks of 52 cards, this is the high roller version of the game with games starting around USD100 or more and usually separate from the other casino games. In some Asian countries, Macau in particular, the minimum bet can be as high as USD500 with the game played in a roped-off area.
A lower stake version of Punto Banco with eight standard decks and fewer players making for a speedy game.
Chemin de Fer
Multiple players compete against each other rather than the dealer. A player takes the role of banker and deals, keeping aside the money he wants to put in stakes. Initially players announce their bet until the player with the highest wager gets to decide whether to take the third card. Peer pressures usually prevents a bad decision.
A casino will always have a slight advantage (house edge) over a player. In Baccarat, the house edge when betting on the player is 1.36 per cent, or 1.06 per cent for a bet on the banker. This means that the casino expects a theoretical win of USD1.36 or USD1.06 every time you place a USD100 bet. Betting on a tie increases the house edge to 14.4 per cent, one of the worst house edge figures for any table game.
The best strategy for most casino games is to take the bet with the lowest house edge, in baccarat this is the banker bet. However, the difference between the banker bet and the player bet is small enough that you choose the player bet for entertainment. Ignore side bets or progressive jackpots as the house edges are dreadful.