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Understanding How Baccarat Works
One misconception that you will find common among those unfamiliar with the game is that baccarat is a difficult game to learn and play.
However, this is far from the truth. Baccarat is a fairly simple game that is easy to learn and play. Like every other game you will find in the casino, baccarat has rules and gameplay that guide how the game works.
Score the Cards
Like every other table and card game at online and offline casinos, the Baccarat game is also played with decks of cards, which determines winning in the game.
The game is usually played using the standard deck of 52 cards, with each card having specific values assigned to it.
As in blackjack, the value of each card in the baccarat game is not always obvious, especially to newbies who have little to no understanding of the game.
All tens and face cards (K, J, & Q) during the blackjack game are worth zero points, while the Ace card is worth 1.
On the other hand, each number card, from 2 to 9, is worth its face value, i.e., the "2" card is worth 2, the “3” card is worth 3, and so on. The table below shows the cards in the baccarat game and their value.
How to Win
One thing to note about baccarat is that players at the baccarat table will not receive individual cards, unlike card games like poker and blackjack.
Instead, the dealer deals cards for only two hands in the game, namely the Player hand and the Banker hand.
The players will then have to place bets on whether the player will beat the banker, the banker will beat the player, or if the two hands will result in a tie.
The goal of the blackjack game is to bet on a hand with a value closer to 9. The hand value is the sum of the points of the cards in each of the player and banker hands.
For example, if a hand has the two-card and the 5-card, the sum value for that hand will be 7.
However, if the hand value of the cards exceeds 9 and forms a double-digit, only the value on the right digit counts.
For instance, let’s say one of the hands draws a 5 and 8, totalling 15. The hand value that will count for that hand will be five (5).
14 total will result in a hand value of 4, while 16 total will result in a hand value of 6, and so on.
Natural Win Explained
Like you will find in blackjack, there is a way to get a natural win when you play baccarat. A hand value of 8 or 9 is a natural win in baccarat.
In other words, if the sum of the card points in a hand totals 8 or 9, it triggers a natural win for that hand.
The players who bet on that hand will win, and the round ends without any further gameplay.
Baccarat involves placing a bet on which hand will get a value equal to or closest to 9 between two hands, the player and the banker. Players can also bet on the result being a tie, which doesn’t happen often.
In baccarat, you must first place your bets on the player, the banker, or a tie at the beginning of the game before the dealer deals the card.
Once the bets are set, the dealer will shuffle the card, and both hands will receive two cards each.
The hand with a total hand value closest to 9 wins the game, and if your bet happens to be that hand, you win. Naturally, the tie bets win if both hands have the same total hand value.
It is also worth noting that, like blackjack, further moves can occur when the cards are on the table, which involves drawing a third card, commonly known as a hit.
After a third card has been drawn, the hands will be compared and the winner determined.
How Hits Work
Typically, during most rounds of a blackjack game, the dealer will deal two cards each to the "player" hand and the "banker" hand.
However, certain circumstances can make the dealer draw a third card for the player hand, the banker hand, or both hands.
Generally, if the player has an initial total of 6 or 7, the hand stands. However, if the player reveals an initial total of 0 to 5, the hand will take a hit and draw a third card.
While the rule is slightly different, the banker takes a hit in certain situations. The banker hand generally follows the same rule as the player hand when taking a hit.
This means the banker stands with an initial total of 6 or 7 and draws a third card when the initial total is less than 5.
That said, the banker hand also acts according to some set of complex rules if the player draws a third card. These rules include:
- If the banker hand totals 2 or less, the banker draws a card, regardless of the player’s third card.
- If the banker hand totals 3, the banker draws a third card unless the player’s third card is an 8.
- If the banker hand totals 4, the banker draws a third card unless the player’s third card is 0, 1, 8, or 9.
- If the banker hand totals 5, the banker draws a third card if the player’s third card is 4, 5, 6, or 7.
- If the banker hand total is 6, the banker draws a third card if the player's third card is 6 or 7.
- If the banker hand total is 7, the banker stands, regardless of the player’s third card.
Baccarat Betting Systems
There are many different betting systems and strategies that you can apply when you play.
While these betting systems will not guarantee that you win, they can help improve your returns when you win or, at the very least, minimise the losses you will incur.
Generally, there are three betting systems that Irish players can use when they are playing baccarat or any casino game online.
The one you will use will depend on your bankroll and preferred style of playing.
Negative Progressive System
The Negative progressive system requires that players increase their bet when they lose and decrease it when they win.
The idea of this system is that you will eventually win when you gamble, and when you do so, you should be able to recover prior losses and make some profit.
The most popular negative progressive system strategies include:
Positive Progressive System
The positive progressive system is the opposite of the negative system. It requires that players increase their bets after every win and reduce it when they lose.
The idea behind this system is to make the most of winning streaks and keep losses at a minimum when you are experiencing a losing streak.
Examples of positive progressive system strategies include:
- Oscar’s Grind
- Contra d’Alembert
- Reverse Labouchere
- 1-3-2-6 System
- 1-3-2-4 System
Flat betting is simply the term used when a gambler bets the same amount on each hand during a casino game, including baccarat.
Unlike the progressive system that constantly increases and reduces the bet size, flat betting retains the same bet size, whether you win the round or lose.
Developing a proper baccarat strategy can be somewhat controversial since your only decision is on whom to bet. Betting on ties is generally ill-advised, while banker bets are the most promising, at least on paper. It can, however, be a good idea to understand the difference between different versions of baccarat such as mini-baccarat and Punto Banco. These versions have slightly different rules, so it will serve you better to know the difference and be able to tell the difference of which version you are playing. Don't forget to always take breaks after big wins or losses.
Types of Bets in Baccarat
When you load up the baccarat game at an online casino, you will find a table that says “Player”, “Banker”, and “Tie”.
The Banker Bet
The “Banker” bet is the most common baccarat bet you will find online or in any land-based casino.
Most baccarat enthusiasts see this bet as the best option during a baccarat game. It has the lowest house edge compared to all the other available wagers and even one of the lowest you will find on any bet at a casino.
Typically, the payout on the banker bet is 1-to-1, which is even money. However, since the bet features a pretty low house edge, making it highly favourable for the players, most casinos charge a 5% commission on any wins players get on the banker. This brings down the payout to 0.95-to-1 on most online casinos.
The Player Bet
The “Player” bet is the second-best bet option players have available when placing bets on the baccarat game. While it has a lower house edge than the banker's bet, it is more favourable than the "Tie".
Like the Banker bet, the payout on this bet is also 1/1 (1-to-1). However, unlike the former, the casinos don’t charge any commissions when players win the bet.
The Tie Bet
The Tie bet is the third bet that players can place on the baccarat game. It is the wager that a player places when they think both the banker and player will have the same value.
However, the odds that this will happen are significantly lower than the other two options, which is also reflected in the house edge and payout of the bet.
As a result of the low winning chances of this bet, its house edge is rather high. However, if you are lucky enough to win the bet, the payout could be as high as 8-to-1 or 9-to-1 in some casinos.
Aside from improving players’ level of excitement, some of these side bets have great payouts and can be a great way to rack up some incredible winnings.
Listed below are some side bets that you can look up when you want to play baccarat online:
- Perfect Pair
- Dragon Bonus
- Panda 8 and Dragon 7
- Egalite Bets
- All Red/All Black
- Big and Small
Like most table games at any casino, land-based or online, the baccarat game comes in many different variants.
The most popular land-based version of the game is Punto Banco.
This section will look at some of the most popular versions of the baccarat game that you can enjoy when you play online.
The word Punto Banco means "Player-Banker". In this version of the game, the casino banks the game at all times and plays out both hands using the standard set of rules. Though it varies from one casino to another, the dealer uses 6 or 8 decks of cards in this version of the game.
The dealer deals two cards face-up to both hands for each round, starting from the “player” hand and alternating between the hands.
If either the player or banker or both hands get a total of 8 or 9 at this stage, the round ends, and the winner will be determined.
But if neither has an 8 or 9, the drawing rules will apply to determine whether the player and the bank hand should receive a third card.
After the third card is drawn, the hands will be compared, and the winner will be determined.
Chemin De Fer
Chemin de fer is a variant of the baccarat game that first appeared in the late 19th century.
The main difference between Chemin de fer and other versions of the baccarat game is that players often do all the dealing and play against each other and not against the casino. The role of being the banker rotates around the table. This means that a player takes the role of the banker during each round, playing against the remaining players.
Also, the rules of gameplay of the Chemin de fer are slightly different from that of the standard Punto Banco.
For example, the player can decide to hit or stand if their hand value sums up to a total of 5, unlike Punto Banco, where they must take a hit.
Baccarat en Banque
Baccarat en Banque is another European version of the baccarat game. The game is played with three-deck of cards and is similar to Chemin de fer when it comes to the banker.
Like Chemin De Fer, one of the players at the Baccarat en Banque acts as the banker. However, unlike the former, players don’t take turns as the banker in this game.
Instead, the role is given to a single player, who retains it until they decide to retire of their free will or the game ends.
The drawing rules for this variant vary from casino to casino, but it is generally similar to those of Chemin de fer.
Three Card Baccarat
The Three Card Baccarat is a variant of the baccarat game that gained popularity at casinos in Macau and Asia.
One of the most distinctive features of this game is that, unlike most other versions, the Three Card Baccarat only uses one deck of 52 cards.
Live Baccarat Games
Irish players can easily access and play their favourite baccarat game live against a real, human dealer rather than a computer programme with the live casino feature.
The live casino feature lets players interact with the dealer and the other players at the table.
The card value, bet types, odds, payout, the drawing of third cards, and others essentially remains the same.
Playing Free Demo Baccarat
It is worth noting that the demo baccarat games are developed just like the regular real money versions.
The only difference is that you use unlimited virtual credits on one and play the other with real money.
This means that players can expect the same game rules, gameplay, and randomness of cards when they play the demo version. .
Tips & Tricks
At the core of it all, baccarat is a game of simply guessing.
You choose which hand you think will win each round, and you hope for the best. There is no way of truly knowing if the banker hand will have the closest value to 9 or if it will be the player hand.
However, although there is no way to guarantee a win in any baccarat round, certain practices can prove helpful when you play the game online.
Listed below are some useful tips you should keep in mind when you are playing the baccarat game online:
- Mind your bankroll: It is very easy to get carried away when playing the baccarat game for real money online. So, learning how to manage your bankroll properly can make all the difference when you are playing the baccarat game online.
- Remember to enjoy casino bonuses and rewards: While casino bonuses are not everyone's cup of tea, they can provide a great opportunity for players to increase their bankroll and enjoy more playing time when they play baccarat for real money.
- Acquaint yourself with a table before playing: As mentioned earlier in this guide, baccarat has many variants that Irish players can use for real money. Never assume that all baccarat tables are the same. The rules and gameplay differ from game to game and even from casino to casino. So, before you try out any baccarat variation, ensure you understand all the rules and gameplay attached.
To play baccarat like a pro, you need to be familiar with the popular terms used in the game, especially if you want to play the game live, be it online or at brick-and-mortar casinos.
Below, you will find some of the most common terms you will encounter when playing baccarat and a brief description of each term.
- Action: This is a term used to describe the total amount of money staked by a player during the game.
- Baccarat: The name of the game also refers to the worst possible hand in the game. In Italian, baccarat means 0. So, it is known as baccarat when you have a hand of cards with zero value, such as 10s, Kings, Queens, and Jacks.
- Banco: This is commonly used to refer to the banker during a baccarat game.
- Banker Bet: Refers to the bet that players place on the hand, called "banker". It usually has a 1.06% house edge and payout 1-to-1 but takes a 5% commission on winnings.
- Bankroll: A term that refers to the amount of money a player intends to spend while playing the game.
- Burning: Refers to the action of discarding the top 3-6 cards after shuffling before starting a baccarat round.
- Commission: Refers to the small charge/fee that the casino charges on some winning bets, usually the banker bet (5% commission).
- Coup: This is a French term used to describe a single round of play in baccarat.
How Did We Find The Best Baccarat Sites?
Now that you understand how the online baccarat game works and how to play it, the next thing to do is have a go at the game.
However, the process of choosing a casino is not an impossible task. All you need to do is consider some paramount factors when selecting a site. Our casino game experts have prepared a list of factors that they have considered while making a list of baccarat casinos for you.
Licensing and Regulation
Licensing status is an essential factor that you must not overlook when deciding where to play casino games online.
Security is a factor that you must not compromise on considering where to play casino games online.
It would be best if you only played at a site that features a safe and secure gaming environment with state-of-the-art encryption technology, secured servers, advanced firewalls, and other security measures.
Another vital factor that you need to consider when making your choice is the reputation of the gaming site.
You should check out what players are saying about the casino. If the casino has a good reputation on the market, you can give it a go.
Selection of Baccarat Titles
While most online casinos will come with a decent collection of table games like baccarat, the ones available at some are better than others.
So, before making your choice, make sure that the site you are considering features an extensive selection of baccarat titles.
As it involves wagering real money on games, you will need to deposit and withdraw money when playing the baccarat game online.
Thus, you should only consider the site that features safe, fast, and secure payment methods, including the convenient ones for you.
It would be best if you considered the sites that provide their players with plenty of incentives like welcome bonuses, promotional offers, VIP and loyalty programmes, and more.
Baccarat is, without a doubt, a fun and entertaining table game that is just as exciting and rewarding as the next.
While the game might appear complex and complicated at first glance, it is not.
You need to learn the rules and gameplay that guide the table you want to play and practice with the demo version to get even more proficient with the gameplay.
Once you are confident in your knowledge and skills, you can head to one of our recommended online casinos to start playing baccarat for real money online.
Baccarat. (2002, March 22). Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved April 20, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baccarat
May, J. (1998). Baccarat for the clueless. Lyle Stuart.
Ethier, S. & Lee, Jiyeon. (2015). The evolution of the game of baccarat. The Journal of Gambling Business and Economics. 9. 1-13. 10.5750/jgbe.v9i2.944.
Online Baccarat FAQs
Yes. Many online casinos worldwide provide various computer-controlled baccarat and live baccarat games that players in Ireland can access and play for real money online.
Playing baccarat for real money is popular both in land-based and online casinos. With relatively low house edges and even money payouts on most bets, you stand a chance at winning real money while playing baccarat online.
Playing baccarat online is completely safe if you play at a legitimate, regulated, and trustworthy online casino.
Bets on the banker typically come with a 1.06% house edge, while the bets on the player usually feature a 1.24% house edge. On the other hand, the tie bet has a rather high house edge of 14.36%.
The main objective of the baccarat game is to bet on a hand with a value closest to 9. You have to place a bet on the player, the banker, or on a tie to do that.