Known as a game for high rollers, baccarat is popular the world over. It is not, of course, exclusively played by high rollers, and can in fact be enjoyed by anyone. The reputation of the game persists, however, and many online casinos have VIP areas specifically dedicated to those who want to place large bets on games of baccarat. For the rest of us there are standard baccarat table in every online casino, with reasonable minimum and maximum betting limits.
But for those unfamiliar with the game, how exactly does it work? And are there ways to get better results at the game? The answer to both these questions is yes, and certainly don’ have to be James Bond to play baccarat well. Let’s have a closer look at the legendary game of baccarat.
Basic Baccarat Rules
Many like to say that baccarat is simply a different version of blackjack, and the two games do have a lot of similarities. In blackjack the aim of the game is to create a hand as close to 21 as possible, and in baccarat the aim is to create a hand as close to 9 as possible. In blackjack, however, the player will go bust if exceeding 21, but in baccarat this is not the case. Plus, players may bet on the game of baccarat even if they are only observers and not directly participating. In blackjack, of course, this may not be done.
A round of baccarat starts and those who wish to participate place their bets. The player is then dealt two cards, the values of which are added to create a total. Keep in mind that in baccarat if the number exceeds 9, only the second value of the total is counted. For example, if the player were to get a 7 and a 6, the total would be counted as 1. Also, picture cards in baccarat have a standard value of 0.
The Third Card
But can a player call for another card, as in blackjack? No. There are set rules as to when a third card is dealt, generally if the hand has a value of 5 or 6. The dealer does this automatically, and in fact the player in baccarat makes no decisions concerning the hand at all. This is why observers may bet on a hand, and why the game is broadcast in live baccarat events. The game can be said to play itself.
Different rules apply as to when the house draws a third card, but this is again automatic and done by the dealer. For more a detailed explanation of when exactly the player and house receive a third card, simply search for a guide online. Many are available for free.
The most commonly played version of baccarat is called punto banco, which simply means player or bank. Observers may place bets on the player winning, the bank winning, or the hand resulting in a tie. Betting on the player gives even money if the bet wins, but with a slightly less chance of success then betting on the house. Betting on the house has the highest chance of success, but with reduced payouts. Betting on a tie game gives the biggest payout, but has the least chance of success. Keep in mind that if a bet on tie fails, it is a push, and the money remains where it is or another round.
The payouts for baccarat will always be clearly shown on the table, where virtual chips are placed when a bet is finalised. Remember, however, that in live versions of baccarat there is sometimes no digital representation of the betting table, with bets simply stated on the player’s screen. Also, keep in mind that once the cards are being dealt, no more bets may be placed. Bets are only valid if placed prior to the first card being dealt.
It has already been stated that baccarat is sometimes considered a high rollers game. For this reason it is important to be sure of the betting limits of a table before placing any bets. Look for an indication of what the maximum and minimum bets allowed are. In order to determine which limit is right for you, keep in mind that losses are inevitable, but that a single loss should not break the bank.
Rather select a table with a comfortable betting limit that allows for a few losses, without having to deposit more cash. This will provide the most enjoyable baccarat experience, without the pressure of having to endure a crushing loss. A player may move to a higher lower betting limit, as they prefer, which can be done at any time. Be sure to only leave a table when no bets have been placed, however, as that bet will be lost by default.