Baccarat 101 – All You Need to Know about the Game
A shapeshifter impervious to the whimsies of time, Baccarat has been successfully morphing from Tarot cards in the Middle Ages to today’s cutting-edge electronic gaming machines. The oldest card game in history is still holding captives the wealthiest gamblers at the glitziest casinos to this day, buoyed up by its unadulterated appeal of simplicity and elegance. Well, an honorable mention in a Bond franchise certainly helped as well. Either way, it’s got a hold on us as well. So much so that we’re dedicating an entire site to this game, where we will be exploring its rules, weighing in on the effectiveness of the different strategies, and ultimately – guiding you through the myriad of online casinos offering this elegant gem that glistens instantly among the table selection of all gambling sites. But first, allow us to introduce ourselves.
- We’re your resident casino experts to whom nothing in the glamorous realm of online casinos is secret – from the house edge to the small print of the bonuses and wagering requirements.
- Suckers for gadgets and the latest technology trends, we let you know first about the innovations in the industry that help you play safely on any device using cutting-edge software from the best providers of desktop, mobile, and live games.
- We help you find the safest and most secure online casino offering a diverse selection of games and the most favorable bonus conditions, as we guide you to safety amid the deluge of offers online.
- A team of casino geeks at heart with decades combined experience in gambling, we analyze carefully different strategies and systems, put them to the test and help you make the difference between the essentials and the gimmicks.
If you want to learn all about the rules of the different game versions, where to play them for the best bonuses, and which strategy to employ in order to make the most winnings while enjoying a good time at the table, read along.
The Game of Princes and Spies, Baccarat Is a Real Globetrotter
A classic reinvented, Baccarat is now more popular than ever after having captured the interest of many players through the decades with its straightforward rules and fast-paced gameplay rendering instant high payouts. Despite being one of the oldest card games with origins that can be traced back to the Middle Ages, it wasn’t until the 1950s that Baccarat had the surge in popularity which made it the game of choice for ritzy gamblers playing high stakes in private rooms. Steeped in opulence and enjoyed by nobility, it might seem off-limits to the regular player, but in fact it’s one of the easiest games to play. Thanks to technological advancements and the rise of online casinos, now everyone lured by the glam and glitz bestowed onto the game can join a live table and get a taste of the lush life. With a tantalizing promise for making players instantly rich without requiring any skill or mastery, it’s easy to see why everyone is playing Baccarat.
Why Is Baccarat So Popular? – The Strange Allure of the Game
Low Risk – High Wins
Let’s start with the obvious. Baccarat is the casino game with the lowest house edge. Simple as that. It stands at 1.24% on the player bet and 1.06% on the banker bet. In comparison, the best you can hope for at Blackjack is about 4% and 2% for Roulette with the La Partage rule. Of course, as low as it gets, it’s still begging the ultimate question – why play at all if the omnipresent house edge is ever looming? Well, of course in the long run, you’re bound to lose and sometimes lose big. However, for a single visit to a land-based casino or a couple of hours playing online, you do have the highest probability of winning more than at any other table game. It is against the odds but if you follow the golden rule and stop while you’re ahead, you can clean up pretty well.
Baccarat has a feel of exclusivity to it, as it’s very often played at high stakes in private rooms where tux-clad dealers and glamorous shills cater for the high rollers but in fact it’s got the most simplistic rule set, allowing complete strangers to casino mores to scoop the checks. The two bets you have to choose between – player and banker – might as well be called heads / tails or red / black, as betting on them is that straightforward. Although you can use strategies, betting systems, even card counting, and more coadjutant methods, in the end it all comes down to pure luck. So, honed skills, logic, or critical thinking that you may apply at other card games like poker or bridge will not tip the scales for you here. It’s an easy to learn and play game, which makes it all the more engaging, giving anyone at the table equal chance of winning.
Culture Clash – the Macau Baccarat Phenomenon
As all other chance-based games, Baccarat renders ample opportunities for superstition which is inherent for gambling. It’s especially popular in Asia where Baccarat tables make up to 70% of all tables across the hundreds of Macau casinos. A game of Baccarat in Macau is a cultural experience in itself. One that you almost feel you need to pay an entry fee to observe. Considering you’re witnessing this first-hand at the casino floor, assume you’ve paid your dues, so just relish the spectacle involving lucky numbers, card squeezing, and bad luck banishing amid other unique methods. One of the best possible hands in the game is eight which is pronounced similarly to “wealth” and “prosperity” in Chinese, lifting slightly the curtain on the mystery why Chinese gamblers would just as soon head for the Baccarat table having set foot on the casino floor. The Mecca of the Asian gambling market, Macau offers thousands of Baccarat tables and that are scoured by players as they search for streaks of good luck and steer clear of coolers.
Chinese high rollers are also targeted by casinos in the Vegas strip, hurriedly cramming more and more Punto Banco tables as to satiate the thirst of Asian gamblers and accommodate their quirky superstition-laden razzmatazz of a game. You could have a penchant for betting in ways leaving other players all of a doodah but if you have the means to procure a VIP table, separated from common folk with a fancy red rope, you can get as eccentric as you want and squeeze all the cards you want. While baccarat can be an affordable and admittedly elementary pastime with low bets, it’s also got its swanky side in enclosed areas where stakes can sky-rocket and considering the essentially even payouts, prompting floor managers to watch the game closely. Nowadays, however, it’s available to everyone who has internet connection.
The Rise of Bitcoin in Online Gambling
Bitcoin casinos are not so easy to come by but when you do find one such, you can expect some added benefits like faster transactions, complete anonymity, and even lower house edges. What’s more, no middleman, no credit cards, no registrations. The virtual currency is still gaining ground in the iGaming industry but you can find dozens (yes, dozens, I tell you) of online casinos where you can use your hard-earned coins. Before you can deposit at a Bitcoin casino, you need to first have an account and some currency in your wallet (however you get those, it’s entirely up to you) but rest assured they will be gladly accepted at any online casino dealing in BTC. Simply go to cashier and select Bitcoin as a deposit method, then specify the amount you wish to deposit.
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- The unabridged version of the 1953 book Casino Royale contained a guide to baccarat to help readers understand better the plot which revolves around a game between James Bond and Le Chiffre. Baccarat was the favorite game of 007 and was featured in many films and books until it was replaced with Texas Hold’em in the 2006 adaptation.
- In 1890, after a massive scandal regarding accusations that Sir William Gordon-Cumming had cheated in a game of Baccarat, the Prince of Wales – the future King Edward VII, had to testify in court as a witness. Back then, gambling in England was illegal and the Royal Baccarat Scandal was enormously publicized, bringing Baccarat to the attention of the public.
- Phil Ivey was involved in two lawsuits with casinos accusing him of having cheated in a game of Baccarat. In 2012, he took the London’s Crockfords Casino to court after they refused to pay his winnings of £7.8 million and in 2016, the Borgata Hotel Casino sued Ivey for using edge sorting that got him $9.6 million winnings.
- The largest ever single win at Baccarat was in 2015 at the World Series of Baccarat in Macao when Lin Haisan scooped a record $12.9m jackpot. The previous biggest win was $12m at the Crown Casino in Melbourne in the 1990s. It was one of the streak of winnings by unnamed high-rollers that totaled $55m over the course of a few months.
- Japanese investor Akio Kashiwagi is the player that has scored both some of the biggest Baccarat wins and losses. In 1990, he bet $200,000 that paid out $6m – a record-breaking win at the time. When he returned to the Baccarat tables at the Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City, Lady Luck didn’t come along and he ended up losing $10m over six days.
- Ian Fleming may be responsible for making Baccarat popular when he imprinted his interest in the game to his character James Bond but he’s definitely not the only famous person to enjoy it. Sean Connery loved the game in real life as much as 007 did in the movies, and basketball legend Michael Jordan, singer Gladys Knight, and actor Jackie Chan are also all fans of the game.
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How to Play Baccarat
Baccarat may seem like an intricate endeavor with all the high stakes and glitz and glam surrounding it, which might make inexperienced and recreational players feel frozen out of this seemingly exclusive game but in fact it’s quite the opposite. The game is very easy to learn and play and doesn’t require any skill or experience. Its objective comes down to choosing whether to place your bet on a Player or a Banker bet. You should keep in mind that they do not represent the house or the players. It’s just a choice like heads or tails. The winning hand is the one which is closer to nine. The values of the cards are zero for all face cards (Jack, Queen, King) and a 10. Aces count as one and all other cards (2 – 8) count as their face value. Since nine is the highest score, any hand that totals more than nine needs to have 10 deduced from it, so that a hand of 5 and 8 would count as 3 (13 – 10). A total of eight or nine is called a natural and automatically wins. The various versions of Baccarat can be played with a different number of decks and players, following different rules as to who can cut and deal the cards. The regular Baccarat table seats 12 to 14 players and three dealers, while the mini version is played at tables with six players’ and one dealer’s sit. For more information on the rules, table layout, and strategies, have a look at our detailed guides.
Baccarat Versions – The Different Ways to Play the Game
As a century-old game, Baccarat has a long history that’s more of an evolution with new versions becoming popular at different countries through the years. The most well known and still played today are the French version of Baccarat – Chemin de Fer, Baccarat Banque, Punto Banco, also known as American Baccarat, and Mini Baccarat, which is a widespread online version.
- Chemin de Fer is a non-banking version which was very popular in France until 1837 when casinos were made illegal. Chemin de Fer means “iron way” or “railway” in French and the game was named that to reflect the counterclockwise movement of the shoe across the table. This is not a version you can find at American casinos as it’s played mostly in Europe, French land-based houses in particular. Although the casino is not involved in the betting and does not provide financial backing, it does provide a dealer and the equipment needed for the game. Play Chemin de Fer OnlineOne of the oldest documented versions of baccaratRead More
- Baccarat en Banque was described in 1911 in “The Official Rules of Card Games Hoyle Up to Date” as Baccarat and was clearly distinguished from Chemin de Fer, with the two games always listed separately. This version is also called “deux tableaux” or “two tables”. Like Chemin de Fer, it’s a game that’s popular across Europe and not so much in the US. While Chemin de Fer requires at least two players for a game, the Banque version can be played when only one player joins the table, with the dealer chosen at the beginning of each round.Play Bacarat En Banque OnlineThe first banking casino version of baccaratRead More
- Punto Banco is today’s version of Baccarat played at the Las Vegas strip. It was developed in Argentina in the early 1950s and introduced to Vegas casinos in 1959. Today, it is known as American or North American Baccarat. The game can be played either on traditional Blackjack tables with one dealer or the big kidney-shaped Baccarat tables with 12 seats for the players and three dealers. In this version, players have the opportunity to deal the cards and they have to choose between a Player and a Banker (Punto or Banco) hand.Play Punto Banco OnlineA simple gameplay – bet against the dealerRead More
- Mini Baccarat is played according to the rules of American Baccarat but at lower betting limits and with six decks of cards instead of the traditional eight. The game uses a smaller table, the size of a Blackjack table with seven seats and one dealer sitting opposite the players. Cards are dealt by the dealer and the dealer controls the shoe. Players can bet on Player, Banker, or Tie. There is a version of Mini Baccarat called Midi Baccarat in which the player with the highest wager on Player is allowed to turn over the Banker hand.Play Mini Baccarat OnlineA fast-paced and dynamic gameplay with low stakesRead More
Online vs Land-Based Games
Ever since Punto Banco was introduced at American land-based casinos and since the game was first featured in the James Bond books back in the 1950s, Baccarat has captured the interest and fancy of many gamblers – from wealthy socialites to famous pop culture icons to now anyone with an internet connection. Initially, tables were exclusive, available to a select few. The first gamblers to play it may have been high-rollers who were willing to wager huge bets, but gradually as it was becoming more popular, more players were able to join the tables with lower betting limits. Naturally, as land-based casinos were launching their online games, Baccarat was there, among the all-time favorites poker, roulette, and blackjack. Today, it’s one of the most popular live games and each online casino that respects itself (and the customer demand) features at least one Baccarat table with a professional dealer.
Players from all over the world can join a table and enjoy a game from the comfort of their own living rooms and that’s just one of the ways that online casinos are changing the game. Not only is it no-longer confined within the private rooms of glamorous Vegas strip casinos, but off have also gone the high bets and dress code. Since the video feed goes only one way, players don’t need to worry about putting on their tuxes and gowns, and thanks to the many features like flawless HD streaming from professional studios and chat functions, it’s more than easy to place a bet at a Baccarat table even when you can’t afford a full-fledged casino night. If you’re up for some online gambling, choose an online casino from the list of certified and reputable operators we’ve complied and enjoy an immersive gaming experience that’s just as good as a land-based game. Maybe even better.
What to Play Online – The Most Popular Live Baccarat Games
Online Baccarat is available in versions as varied as they come. You can play with European or Asian dealers in studios based across the world from Manila to London. The dealers are versed in different languages so it’s easy for people of all nationalities to find a native table. Experienced professionals with great personalities who know how to help all players enjoy the game, they’re also easy on the eyes – all the more reasons to be thankful for the high resolution video, different camera angles, and chat options. You can find tables that suit your preferences when it comes to languages, currency, bet limits, side bets, and more. Here are some of the most popular live Baccarat variations you can find online.
VIP Baccarat Is Not As Exclusive As You Might Think
Going back to the beginning when Baccarat was played at exclusive tables in private rooms where bets went sky-high, the VIP Baccarat game is focused on the high-rollers who love the adrenaline rush of huge wagers. VIP Baccarat is a high-stake game where the player who has placed the highest wager gets the chance for a sneak peek at the face-down cards to find out what the outcome of the deal is before other players.
Take the Excitement up a Notch with Squeeze Version
Bringing the excitement up a notch, the squeeze option of Baccarat is a feature that many enthusiasts enjoy. For a maximized suspense, the two cards dealt are not revealed immediately but are squeezed and peeled back to reveal just a part of the card – like the suit. This enhanced squeeze ritual was originally possible only in real casinos but is now being made available to players at online casinos with the dealer squeezing the cards of the hand with the highest wager.
Action-Packed Games with Speed Baccarat
The time for a game round here is almost halved but the winning potential and excitement are on par. A round of standard Baccarat takes 48 seconds to complete, while a round of Speed Baccarat lasts only 27 seconds. But that’s not at the expense of betting opportunities – you have your standard bet options Player, Banker and Tie. It’s just that instead of dealing the cards face-down and turning them over, the dealer will display them face-up.
Maximum Thrill with the Mini Version
If you were expecting a smaller version of standard Baccarat… well, you were right. The title kind of speaks for itself here so yes – this is a diminutive version of Baccarat which is played at a smaller table used for blackjack with seven seats for players and one dealer. What’s also smaller is the betting range – Mini Baccarat is typically played at lower stakes. Another difference is that while in Baccarat players alternate in being the banker, in Mini Baccarat only the dealer can be the banker, so players don’t get to pick the cards.
Boost Your Chances of Winning with Progressive Baccarat
Progressive Baccarat is an exciting version that in addition to the standard bets and high RTP, also offers players the option of a progressive jackpot side bet. The jackpot is shared equally among all players at the table that have placed a wager on the side bet for the round. So, if three players have bet on the jackpot and it is won, they each get a third of the jackpot prize.
Live Dealer Games – What’s the Hype?
Gamblers who decide to play online are in for a lot of benefits that land-based casinos are lacking. Competition online is fierce, as it’s a lot easier for a player to simply switch between tabs than go around looking up brick-and-mortar halls. Online casinos are well aware of that and will go the extra mile to catch the interest of new customers and retain their loyal ones with bonus offers and ongoing promotions. You can pick and choose your welcome bonus package, weigh in on whether the perks that follow are worth your loyalty, and you can also do some webrooming to see how you like the games. Many RNG titles are available for practice play and you can look around the live games lobby, open a few tables, and see how you like the atmosphere and gameplay. All that without having to spend any money or even leave your house.
- A glamorous casino anywhere you want itPlaying at an online casino offers you all the excitement and socialization you can find at a brick-and-mortar gambling hall even if you’re nowhere near a casino. With high-quality HD streaming, and multiple camera views, your surroundings are instantly transformed into an elegant casino room in the company of a friendly dealer and fellow players you can chat up at your table.
- Bonus packages and special offersGambling sites say hello to new players with great welcome treats, deposit and re-deposit bonuses, and loyalty schemes that give extra perks to return customers. Players who opt for the live casino are often spoiled with special live games bonuses, so as an online player, you’re able to make a better choice and get special benefits you won’t come by offline.
- Demo versions and fair gamesPlaying online is safe. Well-known brands with a long-standing reputation are all licensed by the respective regulatory authorities and certified by third-party software testing laboratories guaranteeing a random outcome for each game. What’s more, most online casinos offer demo versions of RNG Baccarat games so you get all the fun and none of the risk while you play in practice mode.
- Fast, safe, and convenient bankingOnline casinos can offer self-exclusion and budget-control options making sure you won’t spend more than you set out to. Making deposits and withdrawals is fast and secure with convenient payment methods. You have the peace of mind that all your personal and financial details are safe, as the latest cutting-edge encryption technologies are in place to ensure the protection of sensitive data.
It’s pretty obvious why today’s computer-savvy consumers prefer to enjoy their favorite casino games online. No need to take days off work, arrange a house sitter, and plan a trip – all you need is a device (any desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone will do) and a proper internet connection and you’re all set for an immersive gaming experience with many options that help you personalize the game so that it suits your preferences.
The Top Developers for Online Baccarat Games
When it comes to software for live and RNG Baccarat, the biggest and best names in the iGaming industry offer a variety of games with different features, so even the most discerning of players can pick and choose a version that meets their requirements in terms of settings, pace, betting limits, and side bets. Casino software developers like the award-winning Evolution Gaming, industry leaders Playtech and Microgaming, as well as newcomers Extreme Live Gaming all feature Baccarat in their live dealer catalogs.
Playtechwww.playtech.comEstablished: 1999Location: Isle of ManGames: Over 500Mansion CasinoPlaytech offers one of the biggest and most diversified live game platforms. Their Baccarat selection caters to the needs of all players as it’s one of the most varied ones you can come across. Some of their most popular games include No Commission Baccarat, VIP Baccarat, Progressive Baccarat, and their latest gem Prestige Baccarat – a polished release that enhances the classic game with five gameplay angles and action replays of winning hands.Read More
Microgamingmicrogaming.co.ukEstablished: 1994Location: Isle of ManGames: Over 850jackpotcity casinoMicrogaming features a host of RNG baccarat games with intuitive design and customizable features like Baccarat Gold that offers the Squeeze option. All their RNG games are also available in demo mode for free play. In addition to their land-based, download, flash, and mobile platforms, Microgaming offer a live dealer platform with a great variety of games and the option to play Baccarat individually or as part of their multi-table play, simultaneously with other table and card games.Read More
Evolution Gamingevolutiongaming.comEstablished: 1996Location: MaltaGames: Over 198Slots.lv CasinoEvolution Gaming offer several Baccarat options that will surely meet the highest standards with options like Speed Baccarat, Squeeze and Control Squeeze Baccarat, Choice of Roads that displays the results of each round in patterns. They also feature games with unique side bets like Player Bonus, Banker Bonus, Either Pair and Perfect Pairs. So, for anyone looking to step up their gaming experience with a few twists and extra betting opportunities, Evolution have the answer.Read More
Extreme Live Gamingextremelivegaming.comEstablished: 2013Location: LondonGames: N/AJoe FortuneExtreme Live Gaming offer an authentic Baccarat experience with their Classic Baccarat whose gameplay follows the traditional Macau style with a 6-card layout. An Asian favorite, the game differs from the other popular Baccarat version across casinos and will appeal to both high-rollers and newcomers to online live casinos. Set in an elegant studio, the game offers players an enhanced gaming experience and increased betting chances as players can bet on several outcomes.Read More
NetEntwww.netent.comEstablished: 1996Location: Isle of ManGames: Over 500888 casinoNetEnt have always impressed with unmatched quality of graphics and design. Their slot games are real works of art but their game catalog is also extended to table and card games and live casino. We’re still waiting for a Baccarat to be added to the live casino which has been designed using Chroma key technology but in the mean time, their Punto Banco Pro Series game offers great design and some of the highest bet limits.Read More
Play ‘n GOwww.playngo.comEstablished: 1999Location: Växjö, SEGames: Over 200IgnitionPlay ‘n GO boast an impressive range of mobile-friendly games with outstanding graphics and sound for the best gambling experience on the go. Among their selection of games, you can find a six-deck Mini Baccarat that fits perfectly the smaller screens of handheld devices. Intuitive design and responsive interface and easy-to-navigate menu allow for an effortless gameplay virtually anywhere, complete with a quick guide to the rules and a paytable at your fingertips.Read More
RNG Baccarat Games Are Fun As Well
Live Baccarat is a glamorous and the most immersive experience for players looking for the excitement of a real casino ambiance but there are also a number of RNG games that can help players practice their skills. All of the biggest casino software providers feature different versions of Baccarat or Punto Banco in their game libraries with different betting limits, features, so everyone can find a version they enjoy. The best part, most of them are available in demo versions and can be played without registration or depositing. Playtech offer games with progressive jackpots and Macau style versions with side bets. NetEnt’s Punto Banco has a wide betting range that reaches $10,000 and is crafted in the signature stunning graphics that have become a trademark for the developer. There’s plenty of ways to customize the game in terms of resolution, sound, autoplay, and fastplay. Although you don’t see a dealer shuffling the cards before you, you have no reason to doubt the random outcome of the games as all legit casino operators have their RNGs regularly tested by third-party testing agencies and player protection organizations to giving gamblers peace of mind that the games are not rigged or manipulated in any way.
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