Baccarat is one of the most popular games around. Learn how easy it is to play Baccarat (or Punto Banco) and how to spot the house edge
Baccarat originated in France in the 1800s although this is disputed by some scholars who believe it came from Italy in the 1500s. It's known as the favoured game for the world's most famous secret agent: 007 James Bond.
There are several variants of Baccarat offered in casinos, including Chemin de fer, Baccarat Banque, Punto Banco.
Punto Banco is the version of Baccarat online players are most familiar with. Unlike the other two variations in which a selected player is the banker, the casino performs this role in Punto Banco.
Basics of the game
Baccarat is a card comparing game involving two hands - the Player's hand and the Banker's hand. For beginners to the game, the term "Player's hand" is somewhat confusing because it is not related to the person betting on the game. The simplest way to think of Baccarat is as a guessing game. Let us explain.
When you start a game of Baccarat, the first thing you must do is place a bet. There are three options to choose from:
- You can bet on the Player's hand. The payout for this is 1:1.
- You can bet or the Banker's hand. The payout for this is 1:1 (less 5% commission).
- Or, you can bet on the tie. The payout for this is 8:1.
Most online baccarat games are played using six standard 52-card decks but we have discovered a few variants that use eight decks of cards which is slightly less favourable to the bettor.
After deciding where to place your chips, two cards are dealt face up to the Player's hand and the same for the Banker's hand. The winning hand is the one which gets the closest to 9 (nine). The card values are:
- Ace is worth 1.
- Two through to nine are face value.
- Ten, Jack, Queen and King are worth zero (0).
As you would have worked out, it is possible to get a number greater than 9 from the two cards.
When this happens, you must drop the first digit from the number and that is your total. For example, a six and a seven are dealt which adds up to thirteen (13). Simply drop the 1, and your Baccarat hand is worth three (3) points.
The "third card" rules
The rules governing Punto Banco Baccarat are determined by the totals of the hands. If either hand is dealt an 8 or 9 (known as a Natural) from the initial two cards, it must stand. Any other totals and the tableau of drawing rules comes into play.
Player's hand 3rd card drawing rules:
- When the total is 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, the Player hand receives a third card.
- When the total is 6 or 7, the Player hand will stand as it is.
Banker's hand 3rd card drawing rules:
There is a little more to the Banker's hand drawing rules. When the player stands with two cards (having a total of 5 or 6), the banker must follow the same rules as the player. However, when the player gets a third card, the following table applies:
Baccarat house edge
Due to the different rules regarding the two hands, each has its own house edge. The casino's advantage is:
- 1.24% on the Player bet.
- 1.06% on the Banker bet.
- 14.4% on the tie (based on an 8:1 payout).
While the Banker bet has the lowest edge, you normally have to pay 5% commission if you win on it which balances out the two sides.
With that said, there are several casinos now offering variants that have "no commission", so it is worth looking around for these.
The tie bet is best avoided the majority of the time as it will only eat into your bankroll.
Playing Baccarat online is a relaxing experience. It is more akin to roulette in that you only need to pick your bet and let the game unfold to declare the winner.
An additional benefit of online Baccarat is that many casinos allow you to play this game for free, so you can have a practice before moving onto the real money tables. There is also a plethora of live casino Baccarat games available. These bring the authenticity of playing at a real casino with real-life dealers into your online world.Last update: 06-10-2019