Baccarat: How to Play + Best Casinos (2021)
Baccarat is a card casino game which had gained its popularity at the end of 19th century. Since then it has become even more widespread among both land-based and online casino players.
I think, Baccarat has fully deserved such a place in the gambling world since it is not complicated at all when it comes to the rules, but at the same time, Baccarat provides fairly thrilling gambling experience.
Baccarat is a table card game, so I would bet, you have already figured out what it takes to play it. Let’s list Baccarat’s equipment items:
A deck of 52 cards. Usually, land-based casinos combine 4-10 decks together which produce one big deck that consists of somewhere between 208 cards (4 decks) - 512 cards (10 decks).
A table in Baccarat is very simple, and it has a very straightforward layout as a result. Baccarat table basically does these two things; it is a table at which casino players are supposed to sit and it has boxes for different kinds of bets (only 3 of them actually).
Also, Baccarat implies having a dealer, at least at land-based casinos or in online casinos with live dealer feature. The job of a dealer is to shuffle cards, deal them in strict accordance with rules and distribute payouts.
The whole gaming process of Baccarat revolves around cards, and, just like in Blackjack, the cards in Baccarat has specific values and some procedure on how to assign these values to cards. I would like you to learn about them before jumping to the gambling process itself.
First of all, the suits in Baccarat do not play any role.
Ace-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9 have their own facial values, starting from Ace, which has a value of “1”.
Tens-Jacks-Queens-Kings are worth zero.
As you can see, there is no much to learn about card values in Baccarat.
The goal of Baccarat is to guess correctly on the outcome, and in that sense, it is more similar to Roulette than to Blackjack.
On a Baccarat table, there are two boxes called: Banker and Player. Each of them is served with two cards initially, and one more card after if the rules require so (will discuss further in details). Participants of Baccarat are supposed to bet on whom (Banker or Player) gets a better hand, or on Tie.
Here is how dealt Baccarat hands usually look like in online casinos.
So to speak, up to 14 bettors can sit at Baccarat table, and they are provided with these options to bet on:
Player wins. Player’s hand has a higher value than Banker’s hand.
Banker wins. Banker’s hand has a higher value than a Player’s hand.
Tie (also you can come across other names: Draw or Push). It happens when both hands, Player’s and Banker’s, have the same value.
I would like to stress out that in Baccarat term “Player” has a different meaning, and I deliberately used terms “bettors” and “participants” when I was referring casino players.
“Player” in Baccarat has nothing to do with people playing in it. “Player” and “Banker” just simply two outcomes of the game to bet on, very similar to Red/Black in Roulette. Casino players have no influence on how “Player” plays its hand (opposite to Blackjack, for example), and both “Player” and “Banker” hands are played according to with predetermined rules.
How to evaluate hands
As I have already mentioned, the hand which has a higher value wins in Baccarat. However, the game is designed in such a way that the value of the hand can not exceed “9”. So to say, the best possible hand in Baccarat equals to “9”, and it is also called “Natural”.
Counting process in Baccarat is pretty simple and all you need is just to perform addition on cards’ values. However, as a hand must not exceed a value of 9 in Baccarat, there is one more important rule to it. If the value of the hand equals to 10 or higher, then Baccarat requires to subtract 10 from its initial value so that the hand comes back within “9” boundary.
Let’s consider a few examples to get a better grasp on it.
AK equals to 1 (A is 1 + K is zero = 1)
63 equals to 9
K9 equals to 9 (K is zero + 9 = 9)
96 equals to 5 (9 + 6 = 15, but we must subtract 10 from it since it exceeds 9, that’s how it gets valued as 5)
AK9 equals to 0 (A is 1 + K is zero + 9 = 10, and we must subtract 10 which will result in zero as a final value)
Gaming process and payouts
As we have learnt, there are only three outcomes on which participants of Baccarat can bet, and each of them has their own payouts depending on how hard to predict them.
Bet on Player pays at 1:1 rate (your bet gets doubled).
Bet on Banker pays at 0.95:1 rate (you will get your initial bet back and 95% on top of that). It has slightly lower payout then bet on Player, since Banker’s hands win a little bit more frequently because of underlying maths.
Bet on Tie pays at 8:1 (or 9:1 in some venues).
Step 1. Participants of the game place their bets on those three outcomes.
Step 2. Once all participants have placed their bets, a dealer deals two cards for Player and two cards for Banker.
Step 3. A dealer estimates values of both hands, Player’s and Banker’s, and draws the third card when the rules of the game require to do it. This third card is final (in case it was obligatory to draw it) in Baccarat and game’s round is finished after that.
Here is the rules how a dealer must draw the third card from the deck, where “stand” means no third card and “draw” means that third card must be dealt with.
A player must “stand” if a hand has a value of 6 or 7. Player must “draw” when it has a value of 0-5.
Banker’s choices are predetermined as well and they are completely dependent on how Player must have acted before.
Whoever (Player or Banker) hits 8 or 9 first is considered to be the winner, and the game’s round ends right away without an additional card to be drawn.
Punto Banco is the most popular Baccarat game with a huge gap, and, as a result, casino players often refer to Punto Banco as Baccarat itself. Hence, all above-mentioned rules are applicable to Punto Banco.
Chemmy (Chemin de fer) is a Baccarat game, where casino players compete against each other, and it deserves a separate article on its rules.
Banque is somewhat similar to Chemmy, but it has got a different notion of “Banker” making its position more permanent.
Macao is another type of Baccarat, where players compete against “banker”.
About RTP and House Edge
Baccarat (Punto Banco) is 100% game of luck, and there is no strategy to beat the house in the long run. However, all three different types of bets in Baccarat has different RTP or House Edge levels.
Bet on Banker (Banco): House Edge 1.06% RTP 98.94%
Bet on Player (Punto): House Edge 1.24% RTP 98.76%
Tie with 8:1 payout: House Edge 14.4% RTP 85.6%
Tie with 9:1 payout: House Edge 4.85% RTP 95.15%
As you can see, there is a huge difference between Player/Banker bets and Tie bets, and I am sure you have figured out that Tie bets are flat out robbery. Other than that, Baccarat is one of the best casino games for players as it has higher than any online slot RTP level.
Best Baccarat online casinos in United States (2021)
(players from United States are welcome)