A Beginner's Guide to Baccarat: How to Play and How to Win

A Beginner's Guide to Baccarat: How to Play and How to Win

21/06/2021

Baccarat is an exciting casino game that features simple rules, a low house edge and a glamorous history. It has been popular among the French nobility since the 19th century, but James Bond really put baccarat on the map in the modern era. Ian Fleming’s fictional spy was often found trying his luck at baccarat tables, and the game features heavily in Dr. No, Goldeneye, Thunderball and other Bond films.

You can now enjoy the thrill of the casino floor from the comfort of your own home thanks to the advent of live dealer baccarat games. There are also lots of high-quality video baccarat games to choose from at leading casino sites, and this baccarat guide explains everything you need to know about the rules, the odds and the different variations.

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Baccarat Variations

You have a few key options at your disposal when playing online baccarat. The basic rules remain the same, but the format varies.

Punto Banco

This is easily the most popular version of baccarat. It was created in Argentina back in the 1950s and then exported around the world. Punto means “player” and banco means “bank”, because players go up against the casino in this form of the game. There are three potential outcomes – a player bet winning, a banker bet winning or a tie – with different odds on each potential result. Punto Banco is played at large tables, with seats for up to 12 or 14 players, plus two dealers and a banker. Six to eight decks are used, and the dealer does all the shuffling and distribution.

Baccarat Banque

In this version of the game, one particular player fills the role of the banker on a permanent basis, holding office until all the cards have been dealt. The role is put up for auction at the start of the game and awarded to the player willing to place the largest wager. The banker sits opposite a croupier, and the punters sit either side of the banker. The shoe in Baccarat Banque contains three inter-shuffled decks. The banker deals one banker hand, and a player hand for either half of the table. The banker can only bet on the banker’s cards and the other players can only bet on the player hands. The total sum of the player bets cannot exceed the total stake the banker has put up for a given hand.

Chemin De Fer

This differs from Punto Banco, because the players compete against one another, as opposed to taking on the casino. The house takes a 5% commission from winning banker bets, which is essentially a fee for hosting the game. Unlike in Baccarat Banque, the role of the banker passes from one player to the next in a counter-clockwise fashion as the game progresses. Six decks of cards are used, shuffled together, in Chemin de fer, which is also known as Chemmy.

Other Kinds Of Baccarat

Some online casinos offer Mini Baccarat, which is played in a similar manner to Punto Banco, but for lower stakes and at a faster pace, because there are fewer players. EZ Baccarat follows most of the same rules as Punto Banco, but on the banker bet all wins pay even money (1:1), and if the banker wins with a three-card total of seven, the banker bet will be declared void and result in a push. It also features side bets called the Dragon 7 and Panda 8. Another game you might find at online baccarat sites is Macao, which is seen as a precursor to baccarat. In Macao, you can buy as many cards as you like, but you will lose immediately if you exceed nine points.

How To Play Baccarat

Standard baccarat (Punto Banco) presents you with two main wagering options: bet on the player or the banker. It does not mean that you are the player and the dealer is the banker – they are simply the names assigned to each hand. You can also bet on the tie. If the result is a tie, neither the player nor the banker bet loses. Those wagers are settled as a push.

The croupier will deal two cards to the player and two cards to the banker. The hand closest to 9 wins. Aces are worth 1 point, while 10, jacks, queens and kings are worth zero. If any hand results in a total of 8 or 9 in the first round, no more cards are dealt, and the highest score wins. If neither hand has a total of 8 or 9, the game continues, and more cards are dealt.

If a hand reaches 10 in the first round, the score reverts to 0. When the cards dealt are greater than 9, you have to add them together and drop the first digit to get the value. For example, a 10 and a 4 would result in 14, and you would drop the first digit to leave a result of 4.

If the player’s total is 5 or less, then the player will receive another card. Otherwise, the player will stand. If the player stands, the banker will win on a total of 5 or less. The dealer will receive a third card based upon the third card the player draws, and the odds are stacked slightly in favour of the banker.

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Baccarat Odds

Any successful bet on the player results in an even money (1:1 payout). You have to pay a 5% commission on any winning banker bets, so the odds are essentially 1.95, or 19:20. This is because the chances of the banker winning are slightly greater than 50/50. If you bet on the tie, you will typically be paid out at odds of 8:1, although some casinos pay 9:1.

In standard eight-deck games of baccarat, on average the player’s hand will win 44.62% of the time and the banker’s hand will win 45.85% of the time. The house edge on a banker bet is 1.06%, whereas the house edge on a player bet is 1.24%, and it goes up to 14.36% on a tie bet, which is worth bearing in mind when devising your baccarat strategy.

Baccarat Strategy Tips For Beginners

Follow these baccarat tips to boost your chances of success and improve your bankroll management:

  • Avoid place tie bets due to the low RTP (Return to Player) ratio.
  • Consistently wagering on the banker is the safest baccarat betting strategy.
  • Set aside an amount you can afford to lose in a worst-case scenario and stick to this bankroll.
  • Go in with a plan to take profits at a certain level, or limit your losses, and stick to it.
  • Make sure you take advantage of online casino bonuses, promotions and loyalty programs, as they further reduce the house edge and they can make the difference between you securing an overall profit or loss.

Advanced Baccarat Strategy Tips

Online baccarat is a game of chance, but you can follow certain systems that help you manage your bankroll and tell you how much to wager on each hand. These are examples of advanced strategies that can help you thrive at the live baccarat table:

  • Martingale Betting System: A negative progression system that requires you to double the size of your stake after each loss. You will eventually recoup your losses if your bankroll is large enough.
  • Paroli Betting System: A positive progression system that involves doubling your stake after each win in a bid to capitalise upon streaks.
  • D’Alembert Betting System: A less aggressive negative progression system whereby you increase your wager by one base unit each time you lose.
  • Fibonacci Betting System: A famous sequence – 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55 etc. – that you follow to determine the size of each online baccarat wager.

Baccarat Betting Categories

As previously mentioned in this baccarat guide, there are three prominent betting categories:

  • Banker Bet
  • Player Bet
  • Tie Bet

There are also various side bets that you can place on certain online baccarat games, such as All Red, All Black, Big and Small, Double 8, Quik, Dragon Bonus, Dragon 7, Super Six, Panda 8 and Perfect Pair.

Baccarat Betting Strategies

We have already laid out basic tips in the baccarat guide, but we should reiterate that the best way to beat the casino is to take bonuses and practice sensible bankroll management. If you do not like the sound of the progression systems explained above, you can alternatively consider the 1-3-2-6 strategy, the cancellation system or Oscar’s Grind. You can also use card counting to further reduce the house edge or generate a positive expected value.

Play Baccarat Online

There are a number of advantages to playing online baccarat as opposed to visiting a land-based casino. You can play any time of day or night, from the palm of your hand, wearing whatever you want. You also save on petrol. Online casinos offer bonuses, free bets and loyalty points, which are not really available at brick and mortar casinos. You can also replicate the sociability, the camaraderie and the excitement by playing live baccarat with real dealers in studios. You generally have more flexibility in terms of bet amounts, side bet options, baccarat variants and game speeds when playing online too.

Online Baccarat vs. Live Dealer Baccarat

Online baccarat is a video casino game whereby the results are determined by a random number generator (RNG). This software deals the hands according to the set return to player (RTP) ratio determined by the house edge. Licensing bodies regularly test online casinos’ RNG algorithms to ensure they are fair and working properly, and that the correct RTP is delivered in the long-term.

Live dealer baccarat, on the other hand, is very similar to the real-world experience. It is played with a human dealer at a real baccarat table, and the action is streamed to your screen though a high-definition video feed.

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Play Baccarat With Casino Bonus Funds

Most online casinos will give you a welcome bonus when you sign up for an account. They may match your initial deposit in the form of free bets or bonus funds, or they may provide a no-deposit bonus when you register your account. Some offer reload bonuses and short-term promotions too. If you want to play online baccarat, you can treat the funds as a baccarat bonus. You will have to meet wagering requirements, but you can then make a withdrawal if you are left with any winnings.

Practice Baccarat For Free

Some casinos will allow you to create an account and play online baccarat in demo mode with a phantom balance. This presents you with an exciting opportunity to learn the ropes, test out strategies and hone your style of play before taking the plunge and betting for real money. If you cannot access a demo casino, you can simply download free baccarat software and play offline as you familiarise yourself with the game.

Recommended Books On Baccarat

If you want to broaden your knowledge of baccarat, its history and the art of succeeding as a player, you can check out these books:

  • Secrets of Winning Baccarat by Brian Kayser: Seventeen informative chapters teach beginners and experienced players everything they need to know about the game.
  • The Baccarat Battle Book by Frank Scoblete: This book suggests ways to reduce the house edge and details various baccarat tips.
  • The Ultimate Baccarat Winning Strategy by Stephen R. Tabone: Empirical, research-based advice on the optimal decisions a punter can make when playing baccarat.

Conclusion

Applying strategic rigour to your wagering decisions at an online baccarat table can make the difference between ultimately securing a profit or a loss. Remember to avoid tie bets, claim casino bonuses and take steps to reduce the house edge. Ensure you have a very thorough grasp of the game, the odds and the rules, and then spend time practicing for free before playing for real money.

FAQ

♠️ How do you play online baccarat?

You can play online baccarat by signing up for an account with one of the leading casinos recommended by CasinoSource.co.nz. Simply make a deposit, choose your preferred baccarat game from the list provided, double check the rules, and start playing for real money.

♦️ What is the best bet in baccarat?

Many players find that the banker bet is the best option when playing baccarat. It has the lowest house edge (1.06%), which makes it more appealing than a player bet or a tie. The house takes a 5% commission on it, but it still has the highest theoretical RTP.

♣️ Can you use betting systems in baccarat?

You can use a wide range of betting systems when placing player and banker bets at a baccarat table. Effective bankroll management is a cornerstone of any well-constructed baccarat betting strategy, and you can use systems such as the Martingale, Paroli, D’Alembert or Fibonacci to determine the size of your bets.

♥️ How do you become a better baccarat player?

Practice makes perfect when playing online baccarat. It is important to master the game, glean baccarat tips from the experts and conduct thorough research, but ultimately you need to spend many hours actually playing online baccarat or live baccarat to hone your skills.

♠️ Is baccarat a popular casino game?

Baccarat is one of the world’s most popular casino games. You can play online baccarat at all the leading casino sites, and our baccarat guide explains the various options at your disposal in more detail.
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Martin Green

Martin Green

Martin's Story

Martin Green spent five years working at William Hill before becoming a journalist in 2009. He has a degree in English Literature and he has edited a number of magazines, newspapers and websites during his career. He began working as a sports writer and professional tipster in 2014, and his work has featured in a large number of top publications across the web.