Baccarat is one of the most misunderstood games that you can play for real money in a casino. We have all been there; you have seen the game played in a movie for high stakes, or you see a huge crowd of people standing around a Baccarat table in a land-based casino. Everyone seems to be very studious at the game, and yet you have no idea why.
Our real money baccarat guide is here to help you de-mystify the game so you can give it a shot for yourself. We’ll discuss how to play the game, if there are any differences with online Baccarat, and touch on the best strategy for the game.
The game of Baccarat dates back to Europe, specifically France, around the 1400s. Like many of the other casino games played for real money, Baccarat was meant to be a social game versus gambling when it was introduced. The word “Baccarat” means zero in French and Italian, and this name was used likely because the rules of the game have all face cards give a value of zero (more on that to follow).
Over the years, the game became very popular in France, then as it spread across Europe, the element of betting was introduced. From there, the game began to burst in popularity, finally making its way across the Atlantic to the U.S. and into casinos there and around the world.
Despite some people being intimidated about how the game is played, real money Baccarat is actually one of the most popular real money casino games in the world. Baccarat is particularly popular among high-stakes Asian gamblers. However, the game is easy to learn, and once you get the hang of it, you will love it no matter what stakes you are playing.
Baccarat is an incredibly fun game, even though the player doesn’t do anything except watch a hand be dealt and make wagers. There is more to the game than just dealing the first two cards, and the concept of a Dealer vs. Player betting scenario where you are only involved from the outside makes the game even more intriguing.
Of course, we all play real money casino games to win money, and Baccarat is no exception. This is one of the games that we would suggest trying for play money if you have never played. Once you get the general idea of the game flow, you will quickly find yourself making a deposit and starting to play for real money online, or heading to the Baccarat table at your local casino.
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The rules of baccarat are a little more complicated than other real money casino games, but they aren’t too tough for you to pick up. Now, there are several variants of Baccarat that you may come across, but the most likely version you will see in a land based or online casino is called Punto Banco.
If you take the basics of the game, Baccarat is a card game where the Dealer and Player both receive two cards (and a possible third) and are attempting to reach a certain number; in this case, it is 9. To get to that number, however, the total of the cards is added, and if that total is over 10, then the 1 is removed. For example, if you have a 9 and a 6, you have a total of 15, but in Baccarat that is considered a 5.
Ok, now that we have that sorted, let’s look at how the hand is played. Similarly to blackjack, you are playing your hand against the dealer. However, in Baccarat you can place a bet on you losing the hand (don’t we wish you could do that in Blackjack?). As a player, you have three choices: bet the Dealer is going to win, bet the Player is going to win, or bet that the hand will end in a Tie. Once all the bets are placed, then the two hands are dealt.
There are typically 8 decks of cards in a Baccarat shoe. Each hand starts with two cards. Remember that all 10s and Face cards have a value of zero when counting a hand. Now, here’s where it gets complicated, but we’ll try to make it as easy as possible to understand.
If either the Dealer Hand or the Player Hand has a value of 8 or 9, that is called a “natural, ” and the hand ends right there, with the outcome determined by only each hand’s two cards.
If neither hand is an 8 or a 9, the game continues.
The Player is first to act, and if their hand is 6 or 7, they also stand on that number. The Player must draw a card if their total is between 0 and 5. A third card is then dealt, and the total is announced.
Once the Player action is complete, it is time for the Dealer to act.
If the Player has not drawn a third card, then the Dealer acts according to the same rules as the Player.
If the Player has drawn a third card, then the Dealer follows this set of rules:
Easy, right? Seriously though, that is all the action that takes place in any baccarat hand, and bear in mind that at no point do you control the hand – all of this is done in front of you by the dealer, or by the Random Number Generator if you are playing online.
Once the hand is complete, it is time to pay out bets. Here is how the gamblers get paid on their bets:
If you bet on the Player Hand and it wins, you win 1:1 back on your bet. For example, if you bet $20 on the Player, you will receive $40 in total.
If you bet on the Dealer Hand and it wins, you win 0.95:1 on your money, essentially paying a 5% commission. The reasoning behind this is that the dealer has a slight edge having to act after the Player Hand is complete. Using the same example as above, if you bet $20 on the Dealer Hand, you will receive $39 back in total, paying $1 in commission.
If you bet on a Tie and the hand ends up in a Tie, you will be paid 8:1 on your bet.
There are also some side bets that can be placed depending on where you are playing the game, such as betting on whether the first two cards of the Player or the Dealer will be pairs, etc.
There is no real difference between playing Baccarat for real money at an online casino and walking into your local establishment. The only real difference is that you may find more variants of the game available in the lobby of an online casino as they don’t have to hire dealers and build tables for each game.
Another benefit of playing online real money Baccarat is being able to find a game that isn’t full. As the game doesn’t require a full table to play, you can just sit down at a Baccarat table and start playing. You can get the best of both worlds if you choose to play at an online casino that offers Live Dealer games. These games are streamed online and dealt by real people, and Baccarat is one game that is almost always featured in a Live Dealer casino lobby.
When you see a Baccarat table, you will also see next to it a list of the last 20-30 hands, and the outcome of each hand. Also, most live baccarat tables will provide sheets for players to be able to track patterns longer than the last 30 hands, looking for an edge to be able to bet the next hand. We will cover all levels from Beginner to Advanced in our Baccarat Strategy Guide, which you can access by clicking the link below:
For now, we are going to give you one piece of advice that can be used by all types of players:
DO NOT BET ON A TIE
While this bet has a significantly higher payout, it is because it is so much tougher to achieve. The house gets a significant edge on these bets, and since we want you to at the very least keep as much of your hard-earned money as possible when playing casino games, we cannot in good conscience tell you to make that bet. Stick to playing the Player and Dealer hands…it may not be the sexy play, but you know what is sexy? Walking away with the casino’s chips.
While you may see long streaks of Player or Dealer wins, that does not mean the game is rigged. The board is intended to give you the latest outcomes so you can take that into consideration when you place your bets, but truthfully that doesn’t help many people except the superstitious.
As for online Baccarat, all online casino software of merit has been tested and verified to be playing correctly by a third-party auditing firm. The last thing a casino wants is to get a bad reputation for cheating their players, so it is just as important to them that you feel safe. All our reviews include details of where a casino is licensed, and you can check their homepage for a logo of one of these auditing companies.
According to the odds, the best bet is to bet on the Dealer Hand. This is why the casino takes a commission on winning Dealer bets; the odds of a winning hand for the Dealer are higher than the Player. Bear in mind that each hand is different so you may find yourself on a losing streak if you bet the Dealer hand every time. Over time, that number will balance itself out.
Absolutely! Most online casino software companies have developed browser-based games that require no download, and those games have also been converted to be able to fit properly on the screens of most mobile devices. If you are lucky enough to be playing in a legal jurisdiction, you may be able to download a native casino app from your app store, giving you a much richer look and feel to the game and also giving you access to all the other real money casino games the operator offers.