Baccarat is one the oldest casino games and also the simplest to play. There is no need to count cards or learn any specific strategy.
There is a spot on the table called player and another called banker. You simply choose one of these spots and bet. The cards are then dealt, and depending on the score of the hand you win or you lose; no other action or strategy is required.
This game is very popular in Goa casinos attracting both Indian and videshi tourist looking to gamble. If you can’t make it to Goa, or Macao (China) where the game is even more popular, playing online is advised.
In this guide I’ll cover the best casinos for playing baccarat online and then cover in detail how baccarat is played.
Best Baccarat Casinos for India
For Indians the best Baccarat online casino is www.betway.com.
Betway Casino – At Betway it is possible to play, deposit, and withdrawal in rupees. This helps save greatly on the currency conversion fees charged by other online casinos.
The baccarat games at Betway are available in both random number generator (RNG) format and a more realistic game that uses a live human dealer broadcast from Riga Latvia. Ties pay 8:1, player bets 1:1 and banker bet 0.95:1.
How to Play Baccarat
As I mentioned in the intro playing Baccarat does not require strategy, however understanding how the game is played will make it more exciting; you’ll know which cards to cheer for. The game starts with players making a wager on either player or banker.
It is important to note banker does not refer to the house, nor does the spot marked player refer to the casino player; these are just the names of the spots available for wagering. Once all bets are made, the dealer deals two cards to each the player spot on the table and the banker spot.
The dealer then examines the scores to decide if either hand will be dealt a third card. Let me quickly cover the scoring first.
- Number Cards 2-9 are worth their face value
- Face Cards (K,Q,J) and Tens are worth zero
- Aces are worth 1
Cards are totaled together to determine their value; however there is a slight catch. Baccarat only uses 0-9 as the scores.
Therefore a hand of 10 is worth 0, a hand of 11 worth 1, a hand of 12 worth 2 and so on. This means if the cards are 9 and 7 that spot has a score of 6 (not 16) because the first number is dropped. Again just remember the score is always 0-9.
Baccarat Third Card Draw
Getting back to the game, where we left off, each the player spot and the banker spot were dealt two cards.
Sometimes these are cards are final and no other cards will be dealt.
Other times one or both spots might draw an additional card. Let me explain how this works.
If either spot is dealt a score of 8 or 9 (this is called a natural hand), no further cards will be dealt; the outcome is immediately determined based only on the initial cards dealt to each spot.
When the Player Draws
In the absence of a natural hand the player will draw a third card when his score is 0-5; on 6 or 7 he stands.
When the Banker Draws
The rules for when a banker draws a third card are a little more complex. If the player stood pat (didn’t draw a card), the banker draws a card when his score is 0-5 and stand on 6 or 7. If the player did draw a card the following rules come into play.
- If the Player drew a 2 or 3, the Banker draws if he has 0–4
- If the Player drew a 4 or 5, the Banker draws if he has 0–5
- If the Player drew a 6 or 7, the Banker draws if he has 0–6
- If the Player drew an 8, the Banker draws if he has 0–2
- If the Player drew an Ace, 9, 10, or face-card, the Banker draws if he has 0–3
Highest Hand Wins
When all cards are dealt whichever spot (player or banker) has the highest score is the winning spot and bets are paid accordingly.
Note: The game is nowhere near as confusing as it might sound. Again, you bet on a spot and watch the dealer do the rest of the work.
In baccarat, winning banker bets are charged a 5% commission; this is because banker wins a little more often than player. Ignoring ties, which are considered no action (neither player nor banker bets win or lose), the chance of a banker win is 50.685% and the chance of a player win is 49.315%.
Even though a commission is charged on winning banker bets, it is the overall better bet. All things considered the house has a 1.06% advantage on banker bets and a 1.24% advantage on player bets.
The only strategy involved in baccarat is finding a casino that offers a bonus, or offers reduced commission. An example of the later is www.betfair.com where the commission ranges from 2.76% to 2.80% on winning baccarat bets.
This reduced commission cuts the house edge to about 0.00%; no house edge at all. If you’re going to play baccarat online do so at Betfair.
Final tip: Most casinos offer a side bet paying 8:1 on a tie. This is a suckers bet with a house advantage of 14.36%. and therefore a bet you want to avoid.