In recent years, baccarat has become increasingly popular online, being almost entirely dependent on good fortune, with the chance to win from the comfort of your own home only a mouse-click away. It may come as a surprise to learn, therefore, that it’s one of the oldest casino games in the world.
Although a relatively new addition to the online casino, the first documented evidence of baccarat was in 15th century Italy. Its popularity spread to neighbouring France, where it was a favourite among the aristocracy. Baccarat games being played in Europe at this time were the chemin de fer variation, where players would bet, one at a time, against each other, rather than against the house.
By contrast, in England, the punto banco variation was played. Cards were dealt to two hands, one being called the “player” (punto) and the other being the “bank” (banco). Players would bet on which hand would win, the punto or the banco, the winner being the hand closest to nine in total.
Despite baccarat having such historic origins, it was some 500 years before it became recognised as one of Europe’s premier casino games. Today, it’s still a popular game among the casino “royalty”, being renowned for attracting some of the highest spenders in both Europe and the United States.
The benefits of playing baccarat online
A modern development in this historic game is the growing popularity of playing baccarat online. For anyone who thinks they might not like baccarat because it’s an “old” game, think again! The internet makes everything easily accessible from your own home and you can enjoy the excitement of live baccarat without having to leave the comfort of your arm-chair.
Online casinos have brought baccarat bang up-to-date. For people who enjoy gambling, but don’t feel like going out, playing baccarat online is a wonderful way to spend the evening. If you don’t fancy mingling with casino crowds, spending your night in a hot room, surrounded by noisy players, simply turn on your computer or mobile device and you’re ready to play.
Rustle up some snacks, pour yourself a glass of wine and prepare to have some fun. Of course, the online casino provides a host of alternative venues, as you can access a game of baccarat from almost anywhere if you’re using a mobile device. Simply install a baccarat download to your device and you can enjoy a game on the train on the way home from work, or sitting in a coffee house while waiting for friends, for example.
Although it’s not yet a household name, like poker or blackjack, baccarat is fast becoming a favourite among players online. An online casino will always have games running and you can play at any time of the day or night, unrestricted by casino opening hours or your own time restraints. Choose a time when it’s convenient for you and you’re ready to play.
How to get started
When playing in a live casino, it’s traditionally been the high rollers – the big spenders – who have played baccarat. However, since the introduction of online casinos, more flexible ways of playing have been introduced, enabling more people to play baccarat. In addition, games of mini baccarat, which you can play at a lower limit, are appealing to a larger audience.
Baccarat is, essentially, a game of luck. It’s very easy to play, even for novices. Players don’t need to make any tough decisions. The dealer simply deals the cards and it’s the banker versus the player, as in blackjack. It couldn’t be easier to get started for beginners. With a basic understanding of how it works, anyone can start playing.
The rules are simple: two hands are dealt and the player can bet on which one will win. The winner is the one which achieves a two-card or three-card hand that’s as close as possible to nine. Face cards and tens don’t have a value, meaning it’s only the other cards that are worth points.
More than two players can play simultaneously. They can bet on which hand – the banker’s or the player’s – will win. They can also bet on whether the game will end with a draw. When all the bets have been placed, four cards are dealt – two for the player and two for the banker.
If the player’s cards add up to eight or nine, this is called a “natural” and they will not take any more cards. If their score is not a natural, then a third card may be dealt. If the player’s hand totals more than nine, reaching a double digit, then the left digit is dropped. For example, if the total is 19, then the one is dropped and the player is left with nine points, winning the hand. If none of the players has exactly nine after all the cards have been dealt, then whoever is closest to nine will win.
In baccarat, it’s important to remember you don’t necessarily have to bet on your hand to win. You can opt to bet on the dealer’s.
When hosting games of baccarat, UK online casinos use the standard American rules for their mini baccarat tables. A random number generator is used to deal the cards and they are displayed on your screen as graphics. Some games offer live dealers, where players are connected via a video link to a real dealer who’s dealing the cards.
In many cases, if you’re a beginner, you can have a trial run and play baccarat for free, so you can learn how to play without spending your money till you get the hang of it. Baccarat is fun to play and you can enjoy it simply as a leisure activity. But it’s fun to try playing for real money and hopefully banking some wins.
Card valuation and rules
The cards between two and nine are worth their face value. For example, a deuce will be worth two points, a nine will be worth nine points and so on. Aces are worth one point and all face cards are worth zero points.
The most interesting aspect is the valuation of hands. People who are new to baccarat might find it hard to grasp how the highest value can be nine, if one card alone can be valued at nine. Always remember the golden rule of dropping the left-hand digit if the total value is in double figures. This means that even if you get two nines with your first two cards, the value is 18, therefore your hand value is only the right hand number, which is eight.
Players don’t need to worry about calculating the value of your hand. The dealer does it all for you, so when playing baccarat online, the software calculates it for you and you don’t need to be a mathematician to work it all out!
The cards will always be dealt by using pre-set rules that dictate whether or not a third card is dealt or not. Players don’t have to make any decisions, other than your bet type and wager size. The only rule is that a third card will be dealt to the player’s hand when the hand value is between zero and five. It stands – meaning a third card isn’t drawn – when the total value is six or seven.
The rules on whether the banker is dealt a third card are different. If the player has only two cards and he didn’t draw a third, the banker will follow the same rules as the player. He draws a third card if his total is between zero and five for the first two cards. He stands if the total is six or seven
However, if the player was dealt a third card, the banker’s rules are slightly different. They take into account the value of the third card. If the player’s third card is a deuce or a three, the banker will draw a third card, if his current hand of two cards has a value of between zero and four. If the banker’s first two cards have a total value of between five and seven, he will stand.
If the player’s third card was a four or five, the banker would be dealt a third card if the value of his first two was between zero and five. The banker would stand if the value of his first two cards was six or seven.
If the player’s third card was a six or seven, the banker would draw a third card if his first two were valued between zero and six, while he would stand with a hand that was valued at seven. If the player’s third card was an eight, the banker would be dealt a third card if his first two had a total value of between zero and two. The banker would stand if they had a value of between three and seven.
If the player’s third card was nine, ten, an ace or a face card, the banker would draw a third card if his first two were valued between zero and three. He would stand if the value of his first two cards was between four and seven. This is just a brief description of how the game and scoring works. In reality, when playing baccarat games, you will have no need to worry about this at all. The software will automatically deal when required. Players don’t need to worry about getting their head round what might seem to be complicated scoring.
Bet types and pay-outs
Baccarat is different from many other card games, as it enables players to bet on several different outcomes of each hand. When playing online baccarat, you can choose that your hand will win; you can predict the banker’s hand will win; or you can bet that it will be a tie.
Pay-outs are made at even money odds for player and banker bets. This means you’ll receive a pay-out that’s equal to your wager if you win. However, bear in mind that the banker bet has a 5% commission charge. This means if you won, your pay-out would actually be only 95% of your wager. Of course, you get your stake back too.
The tie bet has better pay-out odds of 8/1, which means you would win £80 for every £10 stake, for example. In order to tie, the player and banker decks must each have an equal point count. The odds are better because statistically, this is a more unlikely outcome. If the player or the banker is dealt a natural hand worth eight or nine points, the drawing rules aren’t applied and the winner is paid out.
Is there any strategy to online baccarat?
Quite simply, there isn’t any feasible strategy when you play baccarat, because you’re not required to make any decisions that will have an impact on your hand’s value. Always remember that when you play baccarat online, the outcome is almost entirely based on good luck. If you’re on a winning streak, don’t get carried away and think you’ve hit on a winning formula, as it’s mainly dependent on the cards going your way.
Bearing this in mind, set yourself a target before you play baccarat. Keep in mind the amount you’d like to win and similarly, the amount you can afford to lose. It’s impossible to use strategies to stop a streak of bad luck. Once you’ve either won what you set out to win, or perhaps lost what you could afford to lose, it’s sensible to stop playing for the time being. Be a responsible gambler and don’t get carried away. Always quit while you’re ahead.
There’s no point in trying to count the cards! Even if you think your maths skills are impressive, when you play baccarat, the used cards are not placed back in the shoe, so this controversial and risky strategy simply won’t work.
If you keep all of this in mind, you’ll always be ahead of the game and will enjoy playing baccarat online. Why not click on one of the links now and try your luck at baccarat? Whether you’re new to the game, or an experienced player, it’s always entertaining and you might even find you’re a winner!