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5 Casino Cards with 2 King cards face up

What is baccarat?

Baccarat is a popular card game played at casinos all over the world. Many baccarat enthusiasts believe that the game dates back to the 19th century. Some people even believe that the game was first introduced by soldiers during the reign of sovereign Charles VIII and has been very popular among the French nobility.

Group of people playing baccarat

Baccarat is possibly one of the simplest casino games, but there are different variations with slightly different baccarat rules. Generally, a game of baccarat is played between two hands- a banker and a player. The points system is also very easy. Each card from 2 to 9 have the same number of points as their face value. The 10, Jack, Queen, and King do not have any points (zero points). An Ace is worth 1 point.

Baccarat rules do not permit the use the Jokers in the pack, and they are removed before commencing the game. The value of the hands depends on the units digit of the sum of their constituent cards. For instance, if you hold a 2 and 3, it is worth 5. However, if your hand comprises of a 6 and 7,  it is worth 3, as 3 is the units digit in the combined points total of 13. In baccarat, the highest possible value of a hand is 9.

Variations of Baccarat

Baccarat enjoys popularity all over the world. As such, there are many versions of the game played in different countries around the world.

Some of the popular variations of the game are:

Punto Banco

Punto Banco offers a very small house edge, which means that players have a far greater chance of doubling their money. It is also very simple to play where players have to bet either on the Punto (player) or the Banco (bank).

A minimum of two cards each is dealt for both Punto and Banco, and from there, there are rules towards if the dealer is required to draw more cards towards one of the two. Whosoever reaches nine first or a number closest to nine is declared the winner. In the very rare case of a draw, the casino gains its edge.

Chemin de Fer

Chemin de Fer means railroad in French and is another very popular version of baccarat. The rules are quite similar to that of Punto Banco. The exception is that players can decide to be the bank and have the power to decide if the player or bank hand should draw a third card. This version requires at least 8 players and can accommodate up to 12. The card values are also the same as in other variations of baccarat.

Baccarat Banque

Baccarat Banque is extremely popular in France and other European countries. In this variation of baccarat, one player is assigned as the Bank. Typically, either the player with the highest stakes or the first person who signed up to play gets to play the Bank. The banker is the only player allowed to wager on the Bank hand. The rest of the players must wager on the Player hand. Also, the banker remains so till the end of the shoe or till he runs out of money or decides to give up the role of the banker.

EZ Baccarat

EZ Baccarat is very popular in the US, mainly because it is commission-free. In other variations of the game, players have to pay a 5% commission each time they wager on the Bank hand and it wins. If paying the commission amount annoys you, you may want to play EZ Baccarat, which requires no such commission. The game needs at least 6 to 7 players and more or less has the same rules as traditional baccarat except:

  • All winning Bank Hand wagers are paid even money
  • When the three-card winning Banker Hand totals 7, then the banker bet will push
  • There are two side bets- Panda8 and Dragon 7

The gameplay is much faster since the 5% commission on winning hands is eliminated.

No commission baccarat games

Besides the EZ Baccarat game, there are several other no commission baccarat games where players do not need to pay a commission on winning. In this version, all Bank Hand wins pay even money except when the Bank Hand wins with a total of 6. In such cases, you win half (50%) of the bet. Also, the house edge is 1.46% on each hand compared to the traditional 1.06%.

How to play Baccarat?

Baccarat is not at all complicated, which is yet another reason for its popularity. However, baccarat rules may be quite unique.

Traditional baccarat needs you to play against the dealer (Bank) and not the other players. It is different from other card games as you do not need to get the best hand. What you need to do is guess which hand wins- the banks or yours. A tie, although rare, is possible, but you are not encouraged to bet on a tied outcome. The hand that gets 9 or closest to 9 wins the round. So, your goal is to get to 9 points with the cards at hand.

Here is a short video on how to play baccarat:

Video courtesy: YouTube

The cards in the game have value as follow:

  • 1-9: Face value (for example, 5 has a value 5)
  • 10, J, Q, K: 0
  • A: 1

You may follow these simple steps to play baccarat:

  • You place your bets on either the Banker, the Player, or for a tie on the table. Cards are not dealt until all bets are on the table.
  • In the first round, a virtual dealer places two cards face up in the Player box for the Player. The Banker then receives two cards face up in the Banker box on the table. In a live casino, the croupier or the casino dealer will hand out and call out the total amount of points, and how the game will progress.
  • If either the Player or the Banker has an 8 or 9 the closest to 9 wins and the round is over. You may receive money for the bets that you’ve won.
  • If both the Banker and the Player have the same amount of points, tie bets win.
  • If nobody is close to an 8 or 9 or a tie, the value of the player’s hand dictates what happens next:
    • The player stands if he has 7 or 6
    • If the player has anything between 0 and 5, another card is added to the total hand value that ends the player’s hand.

Betting options in Baccarat

In Baccarat you bet on either the Player or the Banker winning instead of playing against the dealer. Here is how the bets come into play:

Betting on the Player

You can bet that the Player hand will have the best hand closest to 9, also sometimes referred to as the Punto bet. The payment ratio on player bets is 1:1, which generates a house edge of 1.36%.

Betting on the Banker

Betting on the Banker can be more advantageous as the house edge is only about 1.17%. Banker bets win more often than Player bets and your bets may pay 19:20. Casinos may deduct a 5% commission in case the Bank hand wins.

Betting on a tie

Not all people prefer to bet on a tie as the house edge can be as high as 14.2%. Also, ties are pretty rare and the house may pay 8:1 on your winnings.

Is it a game of skill or luck?

Baccarat is a game of pure luck. You have as much control over baccarat as much as you would have when you take a spin at a slot machine. The best baccarat strategy may often be to make the wager with the lowest house edge. However, with the right baccarat strategy, you can significantly increase your winning odds and bankroll. You don’t have to spend hefty amounts to play baccarat. Online and live casinos allow you to play the game using very reasonable sums.

Here are some handy tips to increase your chances of winning at baccarat:

Don’t bet on a tie

The house edge on the Banker Hand is 1.06%, and on the Player Hand is 1.24%. However, the house edge on the Tie bet is a massive 14.2%. This means that you lose 14.2 dollars for every 100 dollars wagered.

The best bet is the Banker

Betting on the Banker Hand gives you the best odds at a casino. Statistics show that the Banker Hand wins more than 50% of the time. This is why many casinos charge a 5% commission on Banker Hand wins.

Bet on the Banker till it loses

It is a great idea to capitalize on streaks as baccarat, the game, involves complete chance. If you win by betting on the Banker Hand, keep going till it loses. However, don’t get too aggressive on your betting amounts. Keep it reasonable.

Skip a round after the Banker loss

If you do lose on the Banker Hand, don’t immediately bet on the next hand. Skip a hand and watch the next decision. Place your subsequent bets keeping that decision in mind.

Mini baccarat is riskier

The first difference between baccarat and mini-baccarat is that the dealer deals the games and not the players. Also, mini-baccarat is faster, with dealers getting around 150 to 200 decisions. If you do plan to play mini-baccarat, the Banker Hand is your best bet.

Skip the Player Hand until it loses

When the Player Hand loses, you should immediately bet on the Banker Hand. In contrast, if the Banker Hand loses, it is wise to skip a hand before betting again.

Leave if none of your strategies work

Whether you are playing at a live casino or a real one, the fact remains that baccarat is a game of luck. If none of your strategies are working, it may not be your day. The best idea then is to quit the game instead of incurring losses.

What is the best bet in baccarat?

Irrespective of your betting amount, the basic baccarat strategy does not change. The best bet always is to bet on the Banker Hand despite a 5% commission on the winnings.

The simplest strategy to multiply your chances of winning at baccarat is to bet on the banker and wait for the right time to cash out.

Can you win money playing baccarat?

Despite being a game of luck, there are very high chances of winning good money in the game of baccarat. Playing baccarat is like betting on a coin flip, which means that the game can be tight. Interestingly there may be many streaks even when the coin flips.

We would once again like to stress that betting on the Banker Hand amplifies your odds of winning. More than half of all baccarat bets are won by the banker, which could be the reason why casinos levy a 5% commission on Banker Hand wins. Another upside to betting on the banker is that the house edge is the lowest.

Where to play baccarat?

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