Everything You Need to Know About Baccarat
Baccarat has become one of the more popular card games at casinos, both on and offline. It has a simple format that is easy to grasp, though there isn’t much players can do to actually influence the outcome. In essence, baccarat is a game where sets of cards are compared with each other. Players can place bets on the cards as to which side they think will win. As with blackjack, this is a game against the dealer only, so it can bring a little levity and camaraderie to the proceedings when surrounded by like-minded players. The game itself actually has a number of versions to it, each developed in different countries during the time of its inception and have slightly different rules, with some games enabling players to have a touch more influence on the outcome. All this and more will be discussed throughout this article, as well as tips on how to succeed and bets to get you ahead.
A History of Baccarat
The game of baccarat is believed to have originated in Italy during the 15th Century. It was created by Felix Falguiere, a gambler who apparently based the game on an ancient ritual used in Rome. This ritual involved the Nine Gods who prayed to a virgin. This virgin would throw a nine-sided die and which number she threw would determine her fate – be a priestess or die in the sea. Baccarat followed this general outline by using a numbering system of nine, with the gambler’s fate also based on the hand they placed. Each of the cards has a different value with the goal being to reach nine. From Italy, the game moved to France where it was only played by the French aristocracy. Here the first variation of the game was born – Chemin de Fer, and for centuries it was kept in the elite classes before it eventually made its way down through the social levels to that of casinos.
In the years that followed, the game made its way across the Channel to England. It was during this time that Ian Fleming created his famous spy, bringing him into the baccarat world and creating the suave character we all wish to emulate. From there, the game moved to the Americas where, once again, more variations of the game were spawned. In Cuba and the Caribbean, arguably the most popular version of the game came into being – Punto Banco. Here, the adaptations from the original betting against other players were modified, allowing players to only bet against the banker. Not long after this version became established, it once again jumped, finally landing in the United States where it was first played in Nevada. Surprisingly, the game was slow to catch on there, not seeing the same roaring success that blackjack and roulette had had. With the arrival of online casinos, though, the popularity of baccarat has slowly increased, as this version of the game offers lower betting requirements and carries a less elite air.
Types of Baccarat
There are three main versions of baccarat, each of which has spawned a number of modifications over the years, particularly with the arrival of online casinos. However, we shall just stick to the three main versions to give you an idea of the differences between them. First up, and possibly the oldest variant is Baccarat Chemin de Fer. This is generally known as the original version as it is the main game played in France and has its roots closest to that of the initial inception. Unfortunately, nowadays you’ll be hard-pressed to find a casino that offers this true version of the game. In fact, before the internet, interested players could only really find it in France. The way this game is played means that players can actually affect the outcome of the game with their decisions. Part of this is due to the more active role the players take in the game, where they can shuffle and draw cards.
The second version is Baccarat Banque and is actually very close to Chemin de Fer, with the only difference being the role of the banker. In this version, the banker is whichever player holds the largest pot of money. This variation is also not very popular and, though it is available in some casinos, has a predominance in Europe. The final version is the most popular and the one that players tend to believe is baccarat. This is Punto Banco, also known as American Baccarat. This game is all about chance, with almost no skill involved in creating the wins. The way the game is played is determined by a strict set of rules, with luck informing the outcome. Despite this lack of ability in being able to make an impact on the game, this is the most popular form of baccarat and can be found in almost any casino across the globe. Particularly in online casinos, when the game is labelled baccarat, it’s usually Punto Banco.
How to Play Baccarat
Due to the high popularity and ease of accessibility of Punto Banco, the rules on how to play baccarat will refer only to this game. As we have briefly outlined, the aim of baccarat is to correctly predict which of the two players is going to have the highest hand. In this case, it can either be the player or the banker, though there is an option to bet on a tie between the two. The game is played directly between just these two players, regardless of whether other players are at the table. Similar in its format to blackjack, the aim of baccarat is for players to reach, but not exceed a specific value – in this case, nine. Each of the cards has its own value, which will add up to make this total. Before we can go any further with the rules, however, it is important that you know what these individual values are, and how to create the score.
All the numbered cards have their face value with the exception of the ten, which holds a value of zero. Similarly, all the face cards are also worth zero while the ace is worth one. Hands in double figures such as a seven and sex, equalling 13, has 10 removed, making it a hand of three. The game begins with the player placing their bets as to which hand they think will win. Once this has been done, two cards will be dealt to each player at the table. Unlike blackjack where players can choose whether to hit or stick, baccarat has strict rules that must be adhered to. If the two cards in the player’s hand have a value less than five, it is an automatic hit. A value that is over five will see the player standing. In addition, there can only be one hit per hand as the maximum cards in a baccarat hand is three. Once this process is over, the hands are compared, with the higher value hand winning.
As with all casino games, there is a strong element of luck involved when playing baccarat. However, there are some tips that you can use to boost your chances of success, first up with regards to the bets that you make. For example, you should never make the ‘tie’ bet, simply because this is genuinely the worst option out there. As we have already outlined, baccarat has relatively low house edges, except when it comes to the Tie bet. This bet sits at a massive 14.4% to the house – or in other words, a waste of your money. The banker bet is easily the best bet to make, so if this is your first time, your initial bets should be on that. The banker bet wins slightly more than 50% of the time, though there is a 5% commission taken from it to balance things out. If you’re lucky, you can try and find a table that offers no commission bets for the absolute best action.
Baccarat does involve capitalizing on streaks. With that in mind, there are a number of betting strategies you can implement — more on that below — or you can continue playing the banker until you hit a streak of losses. If the banker starts on a win, keep playing it as this can help build your bankroll. Once it does lose, don’t jump on the opposite bet immediately. Instead, wait a single turn to see what the next outcome is before starting again. On the other hand, if you have been riding the player bet this entire time, once it loses, do not wait a turn; instead, instantly jump to betting on the banker. Finally, money management is key to being successful in baccarat. Essentially, this is a 50/50 game so everything is always tight but in order to go the long haul, you’ll have to place careful wagers, ones that you can maintain. You should also give yourself loss limits and once you pass that, walk away and take a break.
How to Make Successful Bets
You can increase your chances of success in baccarat by using certain strategies, but you should keep in mind that betting techniques are very important too. A player can create more advantages for themselves through the number and types of bets that they make. One of the commonly used betting techniques in baccarat is known as flat betting. This is exactly as it sounds and involves the player making the same constant bet on each hand. With this betting technique, you won’t gain any extra money, but it is nevertheless considered to be advantageous in the long run. To win using this strategy though, you’ll need to pick the winning hand more than 50% of the time. It isn’t really a way to earn a profit but more a method to get you used to the way the game plays. It does give you the ability to bet more though, as well as reducing the risks of actually making a loss. There are two other forms of betting that can also be used, though they are slightly riskier.
These are positive progression and negative progression betting techniques. The first of these, known as the Martingale system, involves players doubling their bet every time they have a win. As soon as they lose a bet, the bet should start from the initial value and the whole process can begin again. This method is designed to try and increase winnings when the going is good. This can be productive when combined with a winning streak on the banker bet. The Reverse Martingale is a negative progression strategy and, as the name suggest is the opposite of the Martingale. Instead of raising the bet on every win, players raise the bet on a loss. In this way they hope that when a win does finally land, the bet will be big enough that the profit will cover all the losses previously incurred. This is the riskiest of the three with players risking losing all their bankroll very rapidly.
Live Versus Virtual Baccarat
In recent years, thanks to advancements in technology, live baccarat games have become available at online casinos. For years there were a number of virtual games available, so how do the two compare? To start with, virtual games give you a great grounding in the game. They can offer a number of different baccarat versions that help get you acquainted with the ins and outs of the various options. They also offer a slightly slower paced introduction and allow players to be able to choose the demo mode. This mode is great for players just starting out as it allows a risk free start to the game, giving you the chance to get a feel for the way it all works. These virtual games are also very low stakes so when you are ready to give it a go, you aren’t going to be losing everything in just one quick bet. However, these are rather isolated games and don’t give a feel of the true baccarat experience.
Live baccarat, on the other hand, offers a much more immersive atmosphere. By its very nature, players are able to converse with one another as well as the dealer, creating that much more friendly atmosphere. These live games are much more fast paced, as the dealer will be working with a number of other players as well. To make these games appear as authentic as possible, studios are dressed to look exactly like a real casino. There are real tables, cards and dealers, all of which are comprehensively covered by a series of cameras that catch every aspect of the action. These video feeds are then streamed live to the participating players so that they can enjoy the game from the comfort of their own home. The dealer can talk directly to the player or through a live chat function and is able to even give hints on gameplay and discuss various aspects of the game, much as they would in a land-based casino.
Choosing Where to Play Baccarat
When choosing where to settle down and play online, there are a number of things you should be aware of. Choosing a casino is not as easy a task as you might think. You need to take a number of aspects into consideration, namely the safety and security of the casino. This can usually be determined by checking that the casino holds a license from a regulatory body. These regulators ensure that the casinos are following specific rules such as offering fair games and paying out players. Once you have established that the casino can be trusted and actually pays out winnings, then you can check other aspects. Next, you should check the game options; it’s no good if the casino is great but doesn’t have baccarat on offer! Finally, it can be a wise choice to check out the bonuses they offer. Why not get a leg up in the game with a few extra pennies in your initial bankroll to get the process going?
Baccarat is a great game that’s fun and relatively easy to understand. The fact that it does not really have many strategies that can be used to affect the outcome make this a nice easy game that can even be relaxing. Heading to one of the live games will give you a bit of downtime as you discuss games with other players and possibly even make friends. Thanks to online casinos, there are now a large number of options when it comes to playing this game, allowing players from all budgets to have a turn, not just those with deeper pockets. While none of us may be the next James Bond, baccarat in any form definitely gives us the chance to dream. So why not give it a try – have a look at some of those casinos, take a few demo runs on the virtual games and then hit one of the live tables. Who knows, Lady Luck might be watching over you, too!