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Baccarat: the first casino card game

Online Baccarat
Baccarat: Card game of the high rollers

Baccarat game: A short history

The baccarat game is a classic through and through. It originated in the 1500’s in Italy and France. As it grew in popularity it became a game of choice played between royals. Over the years, it also didn’t evolve much from the very simple card game it started out as. It became the card game of choice mostly for European gamblers, with some popularity in the rest of the world.

Baccarat and other games portrayed in art

Virgil, published Lyons, 1517. (Private Collection/The Stapleton Collection/Bridgeman Images)

Over the years, it as it moved into more mainstream casinos baccarat became a game of choice for high rollers. The game is a high-risk card game which is part of the allure for most high rollers.

There are a number of variations of the game, but they are basically played the same. The game has been known by other names like baccarat chemin de fer, punto banco and baccarat banque. These various can still be found to this day in casinos the world over.

It has a bit of an exclusivity tag to it as can be seen from the number of high rollers that play it. The game is the father to its more popular children: blackjack and poker.

Times have changed to such an extent however that it has now become a game that can be played by anyone online. You will still find limited tables when you visit a brick and mortar casino, but this is not the case when you are online.

The online versions have also opened it up a lot more to a wider audience as the bet sizes fit in with all levels of gamblers.

Baccarat: the playground of high roller

Across the globe, the high stakes tables always include a couple of baccarat tables. It is the ultimate game of chance and as a result of its classic heritage, it is still played by high rollers the world over.

The online casinos offer fast game-play where you would be able to play from a few cents per hand to a few hundred dollars per hand. The choice is yours… how brave are you feeling?

Baccarat rules: How to play baccarat

Learning how to play baccarat will be one of the easiest things you will ever learn. Baccarat rules are not very intricate and you will get the hang of it VERY quickly when you play online.
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: Playing online gives you the opportunity to play for free, which is the best possible way to practice.
There are only three possible outcomes in a game of baccarat:

  • Player
  • Banker
  • Tie
  • In this case, the terms “Banker” and “Player” don’t refer to the player and the dealer, but rather to the two betting options.

    Betting on the banker is your best bet

    At the start of a game, you can bet on one of these three outcomes. You either select the player hand to win, the banker hand to win or for the hand to be a tie.

    The values of the numbered cards are equal to the values shown on them. The 10, J, Q and K all equal zero and the A is worth 1.

    The score in the game is calculated by adding the values of the cards together. As soon as the value of the cards reach 10 or more, the tens digit is ignored.

    Here are a couple of examples of hand values you can come across:

  • 3 and 4 total 7
  • 8 and 7 total 5. This is because the 1 is dropped (8+7=15)
  • 8 and 1 total 9
  • The highest or best hand you can aim for is one that totals 9. The worst hand, called Baccarat, is when you get a zero!

    Let’s run through the sequence of how a game is played:

  • Before any cards are dealt, you will place your bet on banker, player or tie
  • The banker and player receive two cards dealt face down
  • Both sets are turned face up and the totals are calculated
  • Based on the value of the cards, the banker and player have two options:
  • o Draw a single card
    o Stand

  • The hand with the highest value wins!
  • After the first cards are dealt and either the banker or the player has 8 or 9 as a total, no further cards are dealt. This is called a natural.

    It is basically as simple as that!

    Well not quite…. There are a couple of exceptions and the following will then happen:

  • If the player has a hand of 0 to 5 in value a card is drawn. If the player has 6 or 7, he stands
  • The banker’s actions depend on what the player has done. If the player did not draw a card and the banker stands on a value of 0 to 5, he draws another card. If the banker has a value of 6 or 7, he stands
  • If the Player drew a 2 or 3, the Banker draws if he has 0-4, and stands if he has 5-7
  • If the Player drew a 4 or 5, the Banker draws if he has 0-5, and stands if he has 6-7
  • If the Player drew a 6 or 7, the Banker draws if he has 0-6, and stands if he has 7
  • If the Player drew an 8, the Banker draws if he has 0-2, and stands if he has 3-7
  • If the Player drew an ace, 9, 10, or face-card, the Banker draws if he has 0-3, and stands if he has 4-7
  • The payouts are usually 1-1 to the player and 95% to the banker and 5% to the house. When the player and the banker’s hands are of equal value, the tie bets are paid out at 8 to 1 odds. In some instances, a tie bet pays 9-1 (as shown in the image below).

    Winning big on the wors possible baccarat bet: a tie

    Baccarat strategy

    We are not going to give you too much hope here. Although we will discuss some of the strategies employed as impartially as we can in our blog posts.

    The game of baccarat is a game of luck and there aren’t any strategies that will help you to manipulate the house edge. It is set in stone and you are not going to change the mind of the casino about that.

    Strategies that are often punted are variations on betting that is also used when playing blackjack, craps or roulette. These variations in betting, however require huge chip stacks and the hope that you don’t hit a slight bad streak. If things don’t go your way, your bet sizes can get out of control and away from what the house is willing to offer.

    The gains from such better strategies are also extremely small. It turns a great card game of chance into a monotonous one.

    If you are however looking for the best possible bets to place, we would be able to help you:
    1. Best bet: bet on the banker even with the average 5% commission that is paid usually
    2. 2nd best bet: bet on the player
    3. Worst bet: bet on a tie. The odds of 8-1 or 9-1 will excite many high-risk gamblers, but the returns are horrible in the long run

    Playing baccarat online for free and for real money

    Online casinos are providing an option to gamblers that was not available previously: the chance to play for free. That is not the only thing it offers. You can also play 24 hours a day and with many casinos, you can play on a computer or on your mobile phone!

    There is merit in both options in my opinion. Playing for free is the best possible way to try out any game. It is basically like a demo, except this demo doesn’t have a time limit on it. So you can play and learn for a couple of minutes or hours if you feel like it.

    The thrill of the game comes when you decide to switch over to playing baccarat for real money. The online casinos are online every day of the week, right through the year at all hours and there is always an open seat waiting for you.

    The casinos also have the nice extra that they come with bonus offers to go with the convenience they offer. If you have had a hectic day, you might have a few bonus dollars in your account and play a bit before you go to bed.

    The world of this ancient card game was definitely rocked when it went online!

    Online baccarat is played at a much higher pace than you would be able to play it at a regular casino. This gives you the opportunity to also work through a large number of hands in a fairly short time. So if you have 30 minutes to play and you feel like it, you can get in quite a bit of baccarat. That would never be possible if you had to drive out to a casino.