How to Play Baccarat Like a Pro
Are you a big fan of table games? If you are, you may find a lot of fun with everybody else who flocks to the blackjack tables for some pure excitement in a highly popular game featured at many real casinos. There is a good chance you will make this your usual selection at an online casino as well.
But, if you have a penchant for the new and improved and a strong liking for excitement in your table games, then perhaps you're the kind of person who goes straight for the Baccarat tables.
Baccarat gambling with real money is one of the hottest games in the online casino and real-life casino world. If you haven’t yet been thrilled by this dynamic game, this article will provide all the information you need to make a formidable first impression in any physical or digital setting.
It all begins with the way you say “Baccarat” (say: BAH-KAH-RAT) but doesn’t end there. While learning to master this game of chance is a lifetime accomplishment, understanding the basics so that you can enjoy playing is fairly easy.
This guide to Baccarat will include an explanation of the rules, a guide to playing, basic vocabulary and some simple tips to getting the most from each bet and plenty more. By the time you have completed this guide, you will be able to play at an intermediate level and understand some important principles of the game including:
- The Rules and Playing Guide to Baccarat
- Important Pointers for Winning in Baccarat
- Managing your Bankroll for Efficient Playing
- How to Select the Best Online Baccarat Casino
- Important Strategies for Winning at Baccarat Online
- and More
The game of baccarat provides and exciting new twist to the array of table games available at your favorite casino. Whether at a physical casino or one of the exciting live dealer options accessible in the comfort of your home, you are sure to enjoy this guide to playing this classic game of chance at an accomplished level.
The Rules and Playing Guide to Baccarat
Unlike many card games played with the classic “52”, baccarat players will depend more on making clever decisions and lucky predictions rather than holding the winning hand.
In the classic game of baccarat, the casino deals the cards and controls the hands that are played. The player has control over the betting decisions, but no say over how many cards are dealt or how many times a hand can be “hit.”
The simple point of the game is to hold a hand of cards with a value of “9” or as close to this value as possible.
The cards each have their value. All the number cards are worth exactly as much as their number indicates, i.e. the number 3 card is worth 3 points to the value of the hand. Aces are worth a 1 point to the hand’s value. Finally, the tens, Kings, Queens and Jacks are all worth zero points to the value of the hand.
You can play baccarat with a single player and banker, also called a “dealer.” But there can be other players as well. When you join the baccarat table, you will make a wager on the expected outcome of a single play of cards.
The player can then place a wager that the cards dealt will have any one of three possible outcomes. These are that the player’s hand will win, the banker’s hand will win or that the player’s and banker’s hand will tie. There are only three wagers possible so that keeps things pretty simple.
If you were to bet that the banker’s hand will be the one to win, you would be charged a 5% commission that will be charged to you if you win. This is because there are some advantages to this bet as you will see later in the article.
If the two hands of cards produce the same value total value, the hands are tied, and the game is called a “push.” Because wagers are always placed before the hands are dealt, it is possible to place your bet on this outcome. This sounds like a very exciting offer as the bets here are always at a rate of 8 to 1.
Nevertheless, you will read later in the article why this is not always the most prudent wager. House edge is always something to consider no matter the type of gambling games you are playing.
Here are the house edge percentages given for the 8-deck shoe baccarat game. The wager that the hands will tie, or a “tie bet” is at 14.36%. The bet for a banker’s hand or player’s hand wins are at 1.06% and 1.24% respectively.
Different Variations of Baccarat
Most physical casino locations will have the “pit” section or the area where all the table games are collected. This is where you will find blackjack, roulette, and the ever-popular baccarat game. The baccarat table is one of the largest on the floor, yet today you will find much smaller “poker-sized” tables dedicated to Mini-Bac. This version of the baccarat game is the same, except that it includes a lower minimum bet.
Bets on the full-sized baccarat game can have a $100 or $100,000 minimum. Either way, you choose to play, one of the most important things to consider is the commissions. Keeping an eye on how much commissions you have accumulated by betting on the banker's hand will make the game less surprising.
Of course, your dealer or banker will also be keeping track of the commissions you have accumulated. You may be asked to pay out or “complete” your commissions before continuing into the next hand or once a certain number of winnings have been accumulated. This accumulated amount could be as little as $25 or as high as $100.
You can always find the baccarat tables easily as they are typically the largest tables in the casino. A full-sized baccarat table will seat 12-14 players. The seats all have numbers, and this makes keeping track of all the individual commissions easier for the dealer.
You are sure to notice the absence of the 13th seat. Common superstitions about the significance of numbers has stricken the 13th seat from the table.
To begin the game, the dealer will shuffle the full 52-card deck. 8, or sometimes 6, cards will then be shuffled again and slipped into the “shoe.” The shoe is the term for the box that holds the cards a player will use in a single game.
A card will be cut from the deck and then placed on the table a little way away from the shoe. This is the beginning of the round and all players at the table will then make their wagers. Only after the wager is made are the players dealt their two-card hands. These two cards are the only cards dealt to the player in the game, and the entire outcome of the game is decided by the total value of these cards.
The total values of these cards will be added and, as you will read later on, sometimes the total value will require that a third card is dealt to the player’s hand. Then after the amounts are added again, it will be determined if the banker will deal himself another card. The outcome of the round is decided when the dealer has completed their turn.
Which Hands Win at Baccarat?
As mentioned before, it is not the winning hand that will win the bets, rather the player who bets that the specific winning hand would win. For a hand to win, it must have a total value of “9” or be the closest hand to “9” without passing this number. Baccarat is a game based on single digits, after 9 the score reverts to zeroes.
The player's hand is always acted upon before the banker’s hand. After the cards are dealt the player’s cards are flipped over face up, and the total value called out by the banker. The dealer will then expose their cards at this point.
If the player’s hand has a total value between 6 through 9, their hand stands and no additional cards will need to be drawn. If the player’s hand is either an 8 or 9 total value, this is called the “natural” hand. Natural hands beat the bank automatically.
If the total value of the player’s hand is less than a 5 to 0 another card may then be dealt to the player. Remember there is no ten. If you were to receive a “6” card to a hand with a total value of “4”, the final value would be “0”. After a new card is added the totals are recalculated against the banker’s hand.
The banker will deal himself cards, or not, according to the cards the player is dealt. Like this:
-If the bank has a hand with a value of two or less, they will also take a third card when the player is dealt a third card.
-If they hold a value of three, they will also take a third card when the player is dealt a third card. Unless the third card dealt to the player is an “8”.
- If the Banker’s hand is 4, they will take a third card, unless the player’s third card had a value of 0,1,8, or 9.
- With a hand of 5, the banker will take a third card unless the player's cards were a 4, 5, 6 or 7.
- With a hand of 6, the banker will take the third card, unless the player’s card was an 8 or a 6.
- With a hand of seven, the banker will take no third card.
- If the banker has a natural hand (value of 8 or 9) this in an instantly winning hand. Of course, if the player’s natural hand is of greater value they will win.
- If the values of the banker’s hand and dealer's hands are equal, the result is a tied game or a “push.”
Important Pointers for Winning in Baccarat
Following are some important pointers to consider for maximizing your chances of winning big at baccarat.
- When playing at a physical location casino, look for those casinos that require less than the customary 5% rate of commissions for bet on the banker’s hand.
- Don’t just give your cash to the casino, take some time to master the dynamics of this exciting game with play cash before taking your game to the exciting realm of real money.
- Beware of the tie wager. While there is an exciting 8 to 1 ratio, involved it comes with a scathing house edge of +14%.
- Take the time to develop your effective strategy to beat the house edge. The house edge on the banker's hand is a mere 1.06% and 1.24% for the player’s hand. As you can see a fairly safe strategy can be built around betting on the banker’s hand. This is why a casino that offers low commissions on banker’s hand bets could be a gold mine.
- When building your strategy remember that the most successful strategies are productive in the long term.
Never forget the importance of managing your bankroll intelligently as well, you will find pointers on this task in the following section.
Managing your Bankroll for Efficient Playing
Behind every cool, consistent Baccarat payout, is a smart player with a mind on their bankroll. The most important first step in proper bankroll management in baccarat is keeping your “playing” funds separate from the funds you have designated for living expenses and other financial duties.
There is a risk involved in gambling; the risk is half the charm of the game. To keep the game charming and not a financial nightmare is by disciplined spending. If you dip into your rent and vacation funds to pay for your bets, you will find that even if you win you set yourself for a bad practice that has bankrupted many.
When it comes to taking your bankroll out for some fun, fully understand that this money could be gone in the night, but if you have fun making it last as long as you can, you still come out a winner.
When you are new to the game, play it cool and ease off if you feel the stakes are getting high. It’s far more impressive to play intelligently than win big or lose big within the first five minutes. Remember that of you hope to walk away with more winnings than losses to your bankroll, and you will need to quit while you are in the lead.
If you get a feel for your luck, you will never fear pushing it.
How to Select the Best Online Baccarat Casino
The best way to find the baccarat casino that is best for you and your playing styles is to set out some parameters in what you would like to look for in a casino. By choosing an online venue that best suits your skills and playing strategies.
Following are some hallmarks of the best baccarat casinos:
High Payout Percentages
Payout percentages are the amounts of winnings that casinos are paying out to their winning players. If you see that a baccarat game pays out 98%, you know that it will payout $98 from every $100 bet wagered. That $2 difference is kept by the casino for a service charge.
Remember when you are doing your calculations that the $98 we are referring to is not the cash you will be in your wager, but a cost that will be calculated throughout the casino over time. The important thing to understand is that casinos with a higher payout ratio provide players better odds of winning.
Excellent online reviews
Another good way to select the best baccarat casinos is by reviewing their services from review boards and online casino rating boards. The page you are on right now is a perfect example of this. There are experts who visit the various major and minor online casinos to look at the payouts, history, graphics, gameplay and overall quality of the site and submit a user review.
Many will have specific rating systems for games like blackjack, poker, casino Hold’em and baccarat. More importantly, you can find information on the withdrawal process schedule, deposit options and the level of customer service that can be expected from any of these casinos.
This is important as many will be using real life money and the capacity to fully trust the digital casino is essential to fun and enjoyment. Make sure the baccarat casino you select for your gaming includes high baccarat cash-bonuses. This way you know you will be getting your full money's worth and a thrilling online experience.
2 Important Strategies for Winning at Baccarat Online
Strategy No. 1 — Following the Shoe
When you are playing with real money Baccarat, you will want some clues to make the best decisions on where to place your cash. The two bets with the lowest house edge are betting the banker’s hand will win or the player’s hand. So, how will you know where to place your cash?
One simple strategy for choosing a winner is to follow the shoe. It is a simple strategy based on a simple concept, but could this be the mathematical loop that brings you the ultimate fortune?
Well, it’s no loop at all, it’s a simple matter of observing the last few hands and where the winner was found. You will place your bet on the one that appears to be pulling out the higher win-to-loss ratio. The principals behind this simple strategy are based on the logic that wins happen in clusters. Find the hand that is winning the most, and it is likely to do so again. Place your bet there.
Of course, baccarat is a game of chance. As such, the outcomes are all based on the random shuffle of the deck. Nevertheless, if you feel lost and unsure of where to put the bet, this could help you to a winning strategy.
Strategy No. 2 — Avoid ties like the plague
The heat of the moment can sometimes take the better of the best baccarat payer and urge them into the worst mistake any serious baccarat player could make. Betting on the tie may seem like a lucrative idea. You can get paid 9 to 1 in the right casino if the two hands come out as a tie. This means a bet of $50 dollars on a tie bet will payout a $450 winning. So what's the problem? You have probably seen this bet won at least once. But, have you ever won this bet? Probably not.
Neither have most of the baccarat greats who will all tell you the same thing, “the tie is highly risky bet.” The odds of hitting this hands are so low it could be considered the “suckers” bet of the game. Much like the “insurance” found in the game of blackjack.
There may be a time when you will make his bet because “why play the game without it?”. But do yourself a favor and stick to safer more sensible bets before you decide to play dangerously with real cash.
A Few Cultural Tidbits about the Classic Game “Baccarat.”
Following are a few fascinating dollops of information on one of the most exciting games in the history of gambling.
- Baccarat is considered one of the oldest gambling games and was originally played with the deck of Tarot cards.
- Baccarat was invented in Italy and the word “Baccarat” means zero.
- Baccarat was played by the famous medieval gambler Felix Falguiere, who bought this game to 15th century France.
- Baccarat has made an appearance in the “James Bond” series and is the game of choice of the famous agent of the English Crown.
- In the 1953 film “Casino Royale” is based on a high-stakes game of Baccarat between James Bond and Le Chiffre, a SMERSH operative.