Baccarat is one of the more simple casino games. Despite appearances, players do not participate in this card game at all other than to choose whether to bet on the player, banker, or a tie before the game starts. Baccarat is supposed to have originated from Italy and then travelled all over Europe.
How to Play Baccarat
The goal of this game is to pick whether the player or the dealer will be dealt cards totalling closest to nine. Cards two to nine are valued at their face value, while tens, jacks, queens, and kings are valued at zero and aces are valued as one. The tens place is dropped from the total of the values of the cards that are laid down. For example, if the dealer receives an eight and a nine, totalling 17, it is counted as a seven. The highest either player can achieve in Baccarat is a nine. The suits of the cards do not matter in Baccarat, and the player and banker cannot bust as in blackjack.
The dealer deals out two cards each to the player and himself, a total of four cards in all. If either of the player or the dealer’s cards total numbers 8 or 9, this is considered "natural" and they both stand - no more cards are dealt, and the highest score wins. Otherwise:
- The player stands with a 6 or higher, otherwise (5 or lower) the player hits and is dealt another card.
- If the player stands, then the dealer will hit as long as he has a total of 5 or less.
- If the player hits, then whether the dealer hits or stands is dependent on this table:
|Banker||Player's 3rd Card|
Payoffs in Baccarat
- Betting on the banker pays even money less a 5% commission (or 19:20).
- Betting on the player pays even money.
- Betting on a tie usually pays 8:1, although it is not unknown to receive 9:1.
Baccarat house edge and optimal strategy
Although varying slightly depending on the number of decks used, the house edge is approximately 1% when betting on the banker, 1.25% when betting on the player, and over 14% when betting on the tie (approximately 5% when the casino pays 9:1, but either way it is a bad bet).
As there is no skill or player input involved in Baccarat whatsoever, the one and only best strategy is to gamble with the lowest house edge, so always bet on the banker.
Playing Baccarat online
Baccarat can be played at almost any online casino. Many now offer the choice between a regular virtual game and a live dealer game which is beamed direct from a casino floor. Due to Baccarat's low house edge and volatility, many casinos disallow the game while playing with a bonus, or they increase the wagering requirements for Baccarat substantially. Our recommendation therefore is to generally decline a bonus when playing Baccarat online. Nonetheless here are the current best value bonuses that allow Baccarat play:
Top 10 bonuses for playing Baccarat
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+ $25 free
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+ 25 free spins
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