Baccarat Guide How to Play and Win

If you are looking for a great game of luck to play at an online casino then the thrilling game of baccarat is well worth exploring. It’s easy to learn, has a low house advantage, and comes with an exciting history that gives it an air of mystery and intrigue.

In this Ultimate Baccarat Guide, you can learn everything you need to know about the game and start playing. We will take a brief look at its history before sharing the simple to learn rules and some great tips including the baccarat wagers you should bet on and the ones to avoid.

Now let’s look at the fascinating history of the game.

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History of Baccarat

While dice games have a history that can be traced back to ancient times, card games have a much shorter historical development. Card games really only became popular with the advent of the printing press when card decks could be mass-produced.

Baccarat is believed to have originated in 15th Century Italy and created by Felix Falguiere an Italian gambler who used tarot cards to play the game rather than divine anyone’s fate. The Italian name for the game was ‘ Baccara’ which can be translated as zero. This could be attributed to the fact that in Baccarat the tens and face cards have a zero value.

Though the game didn’t really take off in Italy once it was introduced to France by soldiers returning from the Italian Wars in the 1490s it soon grew popular. It was particularly well-liked by the French nobility and was played in private gambling salons.

The first mention of the ‘baccarat’ in written form was in Album des Jeux [Album of Games] in 1847 in the author Charles Van-Tenac mathematically analyzed the game in this book.

There were two popular forms of baccarat in France, Baccarat en Banque and Chemin de Fer, scholars believe the former is the older version of the game. As the phrase Chemin de Fer comes from the French for ‘Railway’ or ‘RailRoad’ and the first French railways didn’t appear until the 1820’s we can surmise that Chemin De Fer is the newer game.

It continued to remain popular in France and in England where a scandalous trial known as the Tranby Croft affair bought the game into the public eye. This 1891 lawsuit which the media named the ‘Royal Baccarat Scandal’ due to the participation in the events by the future king, Edward VII even led to the rules being published in the tabloids of the day.

Though the game reached America around the same time introduced by French and English migrants, other card games such as Blackjack and Poker remained more popular.

Where it did become popular was in Cuba during the 1940s where it was known as Punto Banco, with punto translating from the Spanish as punter/player and banco meaning bank. Famous gambler and baccarat book author Tommy Renzoni saw its potential and promoted it in the Sands casino in November 1959. It didn’t get off to a great start with the table losing $250,000 on its first night but gradually it turned a profit for the casinos.

It soon became a popular game with the high-stakes jet set and was played in special cordoned off areas in the casino where legendary stars such as Frank Sinatra dressed in tuxedos sipped cocktails and betted huge stacks of chips.

In popular culture, baccarat became well known through the James Bond movies and novels. In fact, the whole of the first novel Casino Royale pits 007 against the dastardly villain Le Chiffre in a game of high stakes baccarat at the Royale-Les-Eaux casino in France. The original version of the novel also included the baccarat rules to help them understand the plot.

In recent years it has become a great hit with Asian players but the biggest change has been the emergence of online casinos where baccarat is enjoyed by thousands worldwide. What was once a game for the rich and famous now can be enjoyed by all.

How to Play Baccarat

For most of its history baccarat has been secretive and allusive with a sense of prestige and elegance surrounding it. For this reason, casino table game enthusiasts assume that it’s going to be a hard game to learn. This can’t be further from the truth when you are playing online all you have to do is place your bet and click a button to deal. After that, the outcome is decided by a predetermined set of rules. You can learn the basics in five minutes and master the game in a few hours.

The most popular way to visit a casino these days is through an internet connection. For many of us, the preferred or only way to visit a casino and play our favorite games is to do so through an online site. At a land-based casino, you have up to 9 players at the table alongside you, for the virtual computer games you don’t, you just play solo.

Once you have read this guide you can head over to one of the online casinos and test out your baccarat skills. The best casinos offer free versions of their baccarat games so you can get practical experience before playing real money baccarat. Just make sure that you sign up with a reputable casino site, all the online casinos that we recommend have been vigorously checked by a team of gambling experts.

Baccarat is a game played usually played with 1, 6, or 8 decks of card and is played as follows;

You have the option to bet on three different choices the banker hand, the player hand, and the tie bet. Once you have placed your wager you will click or tap the deal button on your screen. Two cards will be dealt face up to both the player and banker sections on the baccarat table layout. It’s important to understand that you don’t have to be the dealer to play the banker bet, there are no restrictions on betting on any of the three wagers.

In baccarat the hand that has a total as near as possible to 9 wins. If either the player or banker is dealt an 8 or 9 then this is a natural hand and the game no longer commences. The hand with this total wins the game.

It is important to know the value of the cards in baccarat; Aces are counted as 1, Ten’s, and all the face cards have a value of zero [0], and the rest of the cards 2 to 9 are counted as face value.

The next important rule to know regarding hand values is that there are no double-figure scores in baccarat you can’t get any higher than 9. The left-hand digit is dropped if the score reaches double figures. So as an example if you were playing a hand that had a total score of 7+6 in baccarat it can’t equal 11 so the total score would be 7+6=13 and by removing the left-hand digit you would have a total of 3. The same with the 10, Jack, Queen, and King, if your hand included a Jack and a 5 the Jack would score 0 and your hand total would be 5.

There will be times when a third-card needs to be dealt; this is done automatically so you don’t need to understand any third card rules to play the game. The player hand will always draw the third card before the banker.

If the player hand is 6 or 7 then a third card isn’t drawn but if the total is 0 to 5 then an extra card is dealt and this is the total of the player hand.

The banker rules are a little more complicated If the banker’s hand totals 7 an extra card isn’t drawn. If the total is 2 or less he draws a third card. The banker draws a third card if they have a total of 3 but not if the player’s third card is an 8. If the banker has a 4 they draw with the exception of the player’s third card being 2 to 7. When the banker has a total of 5 they will draw when the player’s third card is 4 to 7. And lastly, if the banker has a score of 6 they will only draw a third card if a 6 or 7 is the player’s third card.

The two bets payout at evens odds 1:1 but the house takes a commission of 5% on winnings from the banker bet. The house advantage on the banker bet 1.06% compared to the player bet which is slightly higher at 1.24%. In the long term, this makes the banker bet logically the best bet to place. The tie bet is a wager on both the player and banker being dealt hands with the same number of points that pays out at 8:1 odds.

Baccarat Side Bets

To add a more exciting ingredient into the game, as well as the option for player and banker or tie bets [which is a sort of side bet] there are other wagers available to play. As baccarat is a game of chance these side bets with their higher house edge will be harder to win but do offer larger payouts. While most baccarat players will advise, don’t play the side bets they can add an extra layer of excitement to the game for those who like to take an occasional risk and want to stake more than one bet each round.

The side bets available will depend on the online casino that you are playing at but these are some of the common ones.

Player Pair – To win on this side bet the player hand has to get two cards of the same rank, so two 4s, two 8s, two kings, and so on. This wager pays out at 11:1.

Banker Pair – If you haven’t guessed already you are staking a bet that the banker hand will have two cards of equal rank, once again the payout odds are 11:1.

Either Pair – This side bet is a wager that the first two cards dealt to the banker or player will form a pair. Either pair has a payout of 5:1.

Perfect Pair – The banker hand needs a matching pair with the same value and suit to win this side bet. The Chances are slim but at 25:1 the returns are high for the aggressive baccarat player.

Small Bet – If the banker and player’s hands have a total of 4 it pays 3:2

Big Bet – If both the player and banker’s hands have a total value of 5 or 6 and you win it pays out 2:1.

Baccarat Tips and Tricks to Narrow the Odds

Unlike some of the other casino table games that have mathematical strategy systems to reduce the odds, baccarat is a game of luck so there is only so much you can do to increase your chances of winning, here a few tips.

You should know that one of the bets with the highest house edge at over 14% is the tie bet that usually pays out at 8:1. The odds are stacked in the casinos favor with this bet so it’s best avoided.

As you have the opportunity to play free casino games online you can become a baccarat wizard by investing some time with some free chips. This saves you having to spend your bankroll before you really understand the rules. Going into the real money game with some knowledge is a smart move.

While we are discussing bankroll, make sure that you collect any bonuses that you are due when you are signing up to an online casino site. If you follow the link from any of the recommended online casinos on this site you can be assured that they will have some amazing welcome bonuses for you when you sign up and deposit funds. This will boost your baccarat bankroll but do make sure that you bet wisely and no more than you can afford to lose.