HOW TO PLAY BACCARAT
Baccarat: Where Did It Originate?
It is thought that baccarat originated in Italy in the 1400s as a card game for the upper social classes and aristocrats. Initially, the game was known as Baccara, the Italian word for ‘zero’ due to the face cards and tens being valued at zero during play. Later the French spelling baccarat was adopted worldwide.
In the late 1950s, a professional gambler, Tommy Renzoni, introduced the game to the United States, and in 1958 to one of the casinos in Las Vegas, where it became a hit.
Why Play Baccarat?
Objective of Baccarat
The objective of the baccarat casino game is to place a wager on the hand you think will have a total of nine or close to it. You can choose between two hands, the Banker or Player, or bet on a predicted tie.
Baccarat Basic Rules
Various Size Baccarat Tables
There are three different sizes of baccarat casino tables. Punto Banco (full size), midi Baccarat, and Mini Baccarat.
Full-Size Punto Banco: This is the largest of the three tables, seating up to 14 players. The betting range is wide and appeals to high rollers with stakes from as low as $100 to $100,000 per bet. It is common for players who have bet the highest on either the Banker cards or Player cards to turn over the cards for their respective hand.
Midi-Baccarat: Usually seats up to nine players, with one dealer and a medium bet range, for example, $25 to $10,000 per bet. Players also get to turn over the respective cards if they have placed the highest bet on the Player or Banker’s hand.
Mini-Baccarat: Seating up to six or seven players, the mini-baccarat can have a betting range from as low as $5 up to $5,000. In this game, the table has one dealer, and players are not allowed to turn the cards over and, as such, the game is played at a faster pace.
Baccarat is usually played using six to eight decks of cards. Each card has a value. However, the card suits, namely hearts, spades, clubs, and diamonds, have no role to play in baccarat.
Unlike blackjack, you are unable to ‘Bust’ in baccarat. Should the two cards dealt total more than nine, you can do one of two things, either subtract ten from the total or drop the first digit of the total.
Baccarat: How Many Cards?
The Third Card: During the game, the Player and Banker Hands are both dealt two cards. However, there is the option of a third card being dealt, but that depends on the total of the two cards already dealt. There are different draw rules for the Player Hand and the Banker Hand, as follows:
Banker Hand: A winning wager on the Banker Hand typically pays out 95% of the stake, with 5% commission going to the house. For example, you bet $10, and the hand wins, you would receive $9.50.
Player Hand: A winning wager on the Player Hand pays out 100% of the stake with no commission to the house. For example, you bet $10, and the hand wins; you win $10.
Tie: A winning wager on a Tie is usually paid out at 8x your stake. For example, you bet $10, and the hand wins; you receive $80 plus the original $10 stake.
It is worth noting that any bets placed on the Banker or Player Hands will be cashed out if there is a tie and nobody placed a tie bet. In other words, no hand wins, and you can either switch your wager, remove, or add to your wager, or simply not bet on the next hand.
Baccarat House Edge
The house edge is the casino’s profit expressed as a percentage of the money that is gambled. Compared to other casino games, baccarat has one of the lowest house edges. That is why it is extremely popular with high rollers worldwide.
The Banker bet has the lowest house edge at 1.06%; the Player bet has 1.24%, and the Tie has the worst, standing at 14.36%. Taking the house edge into account, wagers placed on the Banker Hand will return $98.94 for every $100 bet and the Player Hand $98.76. Disappointingly, wagers placed on the Tie Hand will only return $85.64 for every $100 gambled.
The Best Bets In Baccarat
Considering the house edge, the outright winner of the best bet in baccarat is the wager on the Banker Hand. With a 1.06% house edge, even though the house takes a 5% commission, the Banker Hand wager seems the best bet. That is followed closely by the Player Hand bet. Finally, even though you could expect an 8:1 payout on the Tie bet, the odds of hitting a Tie bet are slim, and many would say, not worth the punt.
Baccarat Betting Strategy
As the draw rules for baccarat are fixed, there are no real opportunities for strategic decisions, unlike blackjack, for example. However, we do have a few tips to help with your baccarat strategic gameplay: