How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat Online

While it’s true that there are more popular casino games out there, it’s also true that baccarat has stood the test of time and remained one of the most played casino games. Even in modern online casinos, players can find many baccarat variants.

Baccarat represents one of the most famous card games available in many casinos (physical and online). Similar to blackjack, it involves comparisons of cards. There are always two hands involved regardless of the number of players at the table – the player’s hand and the banker’s hand. In the end, you can expect one of the three outcomes: a player’s win, a banker’s win, or a tie. Now let’s see how to play baccarat and what players can do to increase their chances of winning.

Understanding hand values in baccarat

Once again, we will mention blackjack because baccarat works similarly when it comes to the valuation of hands. There is a specific point value for each card in this game. First, we have the Aces worth 1 point. Next, there are the regular playing card values from 2 to 9 worth face values (2 to 9 points). Finally, we have the 10, Jack, Queen, and King, cards that don’t have point value (zero points). 

What makes baccarat different than blackjack is the valuation of the hand. Instead of addition, the hands are valued based on the unit digits of the sum of the cards. Simply put, when a hand includes 3 and 4, the hand’s value is 7. However, when the hand consists of 6 and 8, the value is 4 (the total is 14, and only the second digit counts). The maximum value you can expect from a baccarat hand is 9.

The most famous baccarat versions

Baccarat Banque

This specific version of baccarat is not very common in online casinos. However, if you have a chance to try it, you shouldn’t hesitate to do so. The reason is simple – it can be entertaining to play Baccarat Banque. This version includes three decks instead of the typical six decks of playing cards (52 cards each). Also, the banker/dealer is selected at the beginning of every round. Once the sides get the cards, you can expect three hands of two cards (two for the players and one for the bank). Every player is free to bet on one or two of the player’s hands, and betting on the banker’s hand is not allowed.

Punto Banco

Most baccarat games offered in land-based and online casinos across the globe belong to this category. In this case, the version is played with 6 or 8 standard decks of cards. Up to a dozen, players can be part of this game at once. You should know that the standard rules of this game are applied to the Punto Banco version, which means that the player gets two cards, and so does the banker. The participants can bet on the player or banker or a tie. The winning hand is the hand that is as close as possible to 9 points (without going over). If the player or the banker doesn’t have 8 or 9 in the initial two cards (also known as a natural), they may get a third card. We have a specific table with drawing rules in play here. For example, when the player has a total of 5 or less, they will get a third card, but they will stand when the initial total is 6 or 7.

On the other hand, when the banker has a total of 7, they stand. Sometimes, the drawing depends on the player’s third card. For instance, when the banker’s total is 6, they draw a third card, but only when the player’s third card is a 6 or 7.

Mini Baccarat

Mini Baccarat is actually a subtype of Punto Banco. The most crucial difference here is the size of the bets used in the Mini version. Namely, Mini Baccarat is played with relatively low stakes. It is one of the most popular variants in online casinos. Finding a baccarat game with such low stakes in brick-and-mortar casinos will be challenging. Many experts recommend Mini Baccarat to beginners and casual players. Don’t forget that this version is usually fast-paced and involves eight standard decks.

European Baccarat

If you have mastered Punto Banco and Mini Baccarat, you should not have any problems understanding European Baccarat. However, this version is not entirely the same. To start with, when the player’s hand is 5, you can decide whether to draw or stand. Next, the banker is free to ask for a third card. In Punto Banco and Mini Baccarat, the banker gets a third card only when specific conditions are met. Finally, some casinos fun the banker’s hand. So, when a participant places a stake that matches the banker’s bet, the rest of the participants can’t bet.

Progressive Baccarat

This game is available only in online casinos. It’s a fast-paced version with exciting side bets. In addition to betting on the player’s hand, a tie, and the banker’s hand, you can also bet on a progressive jackpot. If the jackpot is won, every player who has used this bet will get a proportional cut. Needless to say, this gives players a chance for a massive win.

Live Dealer Baccarat

Of course, every baccarat game in a land-based casino belongs to this category. Still, the situation is different when it comes to online casinos. Thanks to the live dealer, baccarat players can feel the glamour surrounding this card game from the comfort of their home or while on the go. Instead of software, you will get an opportunity to play in real-time with the help of a professional croupier. The games are managed in studios and promise stable HD streams. If you like a more realistic experience, this is a good option without visiting an actual casino.

The best baccarat strategies

For many people, the absence of complex rules and the fact that this is a game of chance make baccarat attractive. So, it’s difficult for many people to think of a baccarat strategy that can help them win. Still, the truth is that some experts have developed specific strategies. We are not saying that they are working all the time, but it may be wise to try them. Don’t forget that every player has a specific gaming style and goals, so not every baccarat strategy works for players.

Learning where to place your bets

When players learn that there’s a 5% house commission on winning bankers’ hands, they often focus on the player’s hands. However, the commission we’ve mentioned should not affect your decision because the house edge is low even with it. Keep in mind that the house edge for the player’s hands is typically 1.24%, while the banker’s hands come with a 1.06% house edge. On top of that, we have online casinos promising 4% commissions. In cases like these, the house edge drops to an incredible 0.6%. Betting on a tie is risky because the house edge is 14.36%. 

Following the shoe

Some players prefer the strategy that follows the shoe. Those who decided to follow this baccarat strategy bet on the player for the next round whenever the player wins the current hand or vice versa. This means that when the banker wins a hand, they bet on the banker in the next round. It seems that the idea here is to follow a streak. Once again, baccarat is a game of chance, and in our opinion, you should not track any patterns or streaks for a long time.

Increasing your wager

Some gamblers know this strategy as a modified Martingale system. When using this system, you must boost your stake after a winning bet, but for up to four hands in a row. For instance, you may have placed a bet worth €5, and you’ve won that hand. After that, you can increase the bet to €15 on the second hand, but if you lose, the bet goes back to €5. So, in theory, the fourth increase can go up to €35. Regardless of the outcome on the fourth increase, the next bet should be worth €5. When the Martingale system is left without limits, you may invest a lot of money (something that not all players can afford). 

Final Thoughts

Without any doubt, online baccarat, just like its land-based counterpart, is a thrilling card game. Some of the bets come with an excellent house edge, and thanks to the numerous strategies, you may take advantage of the odds. To get the most from your gaming session, you should learn the basic rules of baccarat and understand the differences between the various versions of this game. Once you get informed about all these things, you can start looking for a baccarat-friendly online casino. At Safe Crypto Casinos, we can help you make the right choice thanks to our detailed crypto casino reviews.