So How Does Baccarat Work
Baccarat is a game that may look intimidating at first but is actually simple. Even complete beginners can confidently enjoy it as a dealer is the one who takes care of everything. What gamblers need is just to decide which hand they place a wager, so you shouldn’t worry about how to play baccarat even if you a complete beginner.
This game has some common features with blackjack, but at the same time is very different. The goal is to guess a winning hand. It’s either a banker or a player. These are just the names of the hands, and participants can choose to bet on either one of them.
The gameplay is simple and allows players to relax and enjoy the experience. Apart from deciding on the hand, all they need to think of is how much to bet. From then on the dealer follows a predetermined set of rules to determine the winning hand. That’s nothing either side can do. In addition to a banker/player bet, there’s generally the third option, which is a Tie. This Tie scenario does occur but is relatively rare and the bet is considered a bad choice.
The hand that has a total that is closest to 9, wins. 2-9 cards carry the same face value; 10-K have zero value and A gives 1 point. Unlike blackjack, it’s impossible to go bust because when the total exceeds 9, the first digit is dropped. For instance, the total of 5 and 8 is 13, after dropping the first digit, the total becomes 3.
In the beginning, both banker and player get two cards each, and more may be dealt. But it’s not a player or a dealer who decides to hit or stand. There are specific rules that dictate further decisions.
The Important Rules to Know
As there’s nothing the player can do after the bet is placed, there’s no need to memorize rules as the game will develop on its own. But it’s good to know some key rules as some of them give a deeper understanding of the baccarat and how to play it.
- A player’s bet pays 1 to 1. A banker’s bet pays 19 to 20. One of the things beginner players may want to know is why that 5% commission is charged when they win with a banker bet. That’s because the banker has a positional advantage since the hand is played knowing the player’s final total. This way the chances of losing decrease.
- A total of 8 or 9 is called “natural” and it automatically wins if the other hand has less. But if these totals do not show up initially, a player will get an extra card if the total is anywhere from 0 to 5, and no more cards are given when the total is 6 or 7.
- The banker draws depending on the player’s total. If there’s a need to improve the hand, the banker is given an extra card. There are multiple rules to when a banker draws and stands in response to a certain player’s third card and these rules are explained in the chart below.
What the player gets when drawing affects the banker’s move. Look up the number of points collected from the draw at the top of the table. Banker’s current total is on the left. Where the two lines intersect it’s what the banker should do. S stands for Stand and D stands for Draw. Remember that it’s not about the player’s total but the player’s third card.
Suppose a player gets an extra card that gives 4 points. Banker’s hand totals to 5. The chart shows that a banker will draw. If instead a banker has 6, the rule is to stand.
The bacarrat Odds
Baccarat can be played using a different number of decks. Unlike other games, there will be a tiny difference in the odds as the number of decks changes. So, it’s acceptable to ignore this factor and concentrate on the hand, which is the key element that influences the odds. The chances of the banker’s hand winning is 45.8% and the player’s hand winning – 44.6%. What seems to be an insignificant advantage is important. The other 9.6% are the chances of Tie.
When it comes to the house edge, it’s 1.06% for the banker against 1.24% for the player. Even considering the less favorable 1.24% casino edge, it’s better than most other casino games can offer. So, both hands would be a good choice. But choosing a Tie is definitely a bad decision because even though it pays 8 to 1, the house edge is 14.36%, which is crazy high.
If you bet on any of the hands and it’s a Tie, there’s nothing to lose as you get your money back. So, if you can’t lose when it’s a Tie, it’s better to just ignore this bet.
How to Play Baccarat
This is one of the easiest games because there are just a few betting choices and everything is taken care of by the dealer. But it’s still a casino game meaning players need to be aware of risks and come up with a game plan. Decide before you join a table how big your bets are going to be and either you’ll bet on the banker or player hand or a Tie.
There’s no need for a detailed plan with multiple scenarios. But to have fun and do it responsibly, make sure you set some boundaries and stick to them. When ready to execute your plan, place a bet and wait for the outcome. The round will unfold the following way:
- After wagers are placed, two cards are dealt for each of the hands.
- Based on the draw rules for baccarat and the player’s hand total, there will be an extra card given or no more cards.
- When it’s the banker’s turn, there are other sets of rules to decide the next move. The first set of rules of baccarat is applied to when a player doesn’t draw the third card and the second set of rules for the situations when the third card is drawn by the player.
- Then the totals are compared and the hand closest to 9 wins.
Baccarat Betting Systems and Strategies
Many systems can be and are applied to baccarat. But none of them can ensure positive outcomes and many will just make the gambling riskier. Players use Martingale that originally is used in roulette, Fibonacci and D’Alembert are also used to play baccarat. But what you really need is a simple game plan and control over what you do in response to certain situations.
Bankroll management strategy is the single most important of all. Playing responsibly and walking away when the fun stops might be difficult, but is crucial. Many strategies assume bets pay 1 to 1 and in this regard betting the player hand is the option. But the banker generally is a better option as it offers the lowest house edge.
- Bet on the Player. The chances of the player’s hand winning are 44.6%. So, it’s a nice choice. The house edge is 1.24% and the payout is 1 to 1. As mentioned, it’s more convenient to use this bet when applying specific betting systems as they require the 1 to 1 payout. That’s why even though it gives the house a higher edge than the bet on the banker, it’s often recommended for strategies.
- Bet on the Banker. If you want to have statistically better chances of winning, that’s the bet you need. Banker’s hand has a slight edge over the player’s hand and that’s all you need to theoretically win more often. However, casinos usually take a 5% commission to balance out the difference in chances. There are no-commission game variants, but they always make up the difference by introducing some less favorable rules. The house edge in the case of the bet on the banker is 1.06%, which is one of the lowest in the casino.
- Bet on a Tie. This is the worst choice in baccarat. The casino has an edge of 14.36%, which is too high and even the 8 to 1 payout doesn’t make it worth taking the risk. So, avoid this bet. If you think there’ll be a Tie, just bet on any of the two hands instead of chasing higher payouts that are unlikely to land.
Learn All about Baccarat Strategy
The odds can’t get any better than 45.8% and the house edge any lower than 1.06%. That’s why no matter what strategy is implemented, a simple strategy to stick to the banker will be the most optimal. There are strategies that you can apply to baccarat to make gambling a bit more fun, but that’s not to benefit financially from them.
Different Versions of Baccarat
Despite being a simple game, baccarat has many variations. The presentation may be different, but the basic rules stay the same. To spice up the gameplay, many content developers introduce side bets with unlikely scenarios but that offer nice payouts.
This is the most common version of the game that you can find online and offline. Everything is standardized and players only decide what bet they want to place. The rest is done for them. The game unfolds according to the predetermined set of rules so that everyone will know what will happen once the cards are dealt.
Chemin De Fer
This version is significantly different from the punto banco in the way that players are much more involved in the process. They don’t just bet and passively watch how things unfold but participate. One player becomes a banker and challenges other participants. He/she is in charge of dealing cards and decides how much he/she wants to bet. Others then place their bets on the opposing hand. If a banker loses he/she must pay every winning bet and the role of the dealer goes to the next player.
Chemin de fer and midi baccarat are both types of games that are exclusive to offline casinos because of the procedures involved. Midi-baccarat was created as a mix between big and mini versions. The key difference is in the pace of the game. Big tables are usually slow and mini versions are super fast. Midi is somewhere in between.
The pace is controlled by the rules of who can handle the cards. The mini version is fast because the dealer takes care of all the card handling. As the pace is very fast, lower table limits are usually applied to mini tables. In midi baccarat players are allowed some freedom and can turn cards up. This will slow down the game, but the limits are higher than at midi tables.
Tips on How to Play Baccarat and Win
There are strategies some players will be tempted to implement as they hope for a better return. But basically, baccarat already offers the most optimum course of action. Betting on the banker gives one of the lowest house edges in gambling. What’s more important is that no skill is required from the player to reach that minimum casino edge. Below are some recommendations to win more often in baccarat.
- Ignore the Tie bet. When you hear Tie is a bad choice in this game, that’s absolutely true and that’s because this bet gives the casino a massive 14.36% edge. 8 to 1 payout won’t make up for taking this huge risk.
- Choose the banker every time. That’s the advice that should make your balance last longer as a banker’s hand gives the house the lowest edge, which is 1.06%. This might not be the most exciting way to play as the actions are limited to one choice but it surely is the most lucrative.
- Avoid the side bets. Some baccarat variations present multiple side betting opportunities. One of the most popular options is the Banker/Player pair. The hand should have two cards of the same rank. Perfect Pair is a more advanced option when a pair should consist of two equally ranked cards of the same suit. This one pays 25 to 1, but as you might have guessed, the chances of landing these combinations are low.
Check the number of decks. The fewer decks the more chances of the banker winning and vice versa. So, this knowledge should help you pick the right game when given a choice.