One of the most popular games at any casino is baccarat. This table game classic is not only an all-time favorite for Canadian players, but also the usual choice of James Bond. And for good reason – with some luck and skill you could win a fortune in no time.
However, you don’t have to go anywhere to enjoy baccarat because it is available at most online casinos. Moreover, it’s not that difficult to learn at all and anyone can play. In our complete guide here we’ll go over the simple rules together. In addition, you will learn all about the different kinds of baccarat, some tips on how to play, and find a good gaming destination online.
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Brief History of Baccarat
It is believed that baccarat was invented during the 15th century in Italy after the Etruscan legend by Felix Falguiere. Back then it was known as ‘baccara’. But soon after it was adopted in France the name changed to ‘baccarat’.
As the game gained popularity in the aristocratic circle, it spread to other upper-class societies, too. Naturally, over the decades’ baccarat spread to England and all the way to the Americas. Of course, over time the game’s rules changed one way or another. However, the main idea is still there and now the current main variant is referred to as American baccarat.
How to Play Baccarat
Although there are several variations of baccarat, the basic rules of the game are all the same. Gameplay begins when you place a bet either on the player, the banker or tie. After that, the croupier deals 2 cards each to the banker’s and the player’s box, all facing up. The value of the cards is added up based on the following rules:
- Ace is valued as 1
- Number cards (1 to 9) are worth their face value
- 10, Jack, Queen and King are worth 0
So when the total value of the cards adds up, the goal is to get as close to 9 as possible. But if the total value is more than 10, then 10 is subtracted. For example, if the player drew a 6 and a 5 which totals 11, the value of the draw will be 1.
Should either the player or banker draw 8 or 9, this is referred to as a ‘natural hand’ and that side wins. However, if the value of the cards is above 5, that side ‘stands’ and the result is recorded. Finally, if the value of cards is 5 or less, the dealer draws a third card. Of course, a tie occurs when the value of the cards is equal between the player and banker.
Common Terms in Baccarat
Playing baccarat involves a few terms specific to the game. Before you begin your journey, make sure you’re familiar with the following:
- Baccarat – means zero in Italian and refers to a draw of cards with a total value of zero.
- Banco – Spanish for bank/banker. In some variations, it would refer to the player who is dealing the cards.
- Bankroll – the total amount of money a player is willing to risk.
- Burn – when a new deck is shuffled, the top 3 to 6 cards are discarded before a new game. These 3-6 cards are therefore the ‘burn’.
- Callman – also referred to as the ‘caller’. This is the croupier who deals cards to players and calls out the points.
- Coup – A coup is a single round or hand.
- Down card – a card placed face down. Also can be called a hole card.
- Face cards – cards that have portraits on them such as jacks, queens and kings.
- House edge – the amount of money the house keeps from players’ bets.
- Monkey – any card with a value of zero (0).
- Natural – A hand is natural when the first 2 cards dealt equal 8 or 9.
- Push – a bet that isn’t a win or loss, i.e. a tie in some variations.
- Standoff – a tie when both hands have equal value.
- Streak – when you have a series of consecutive wins during a game.
- Up card – a card placed face up.
Variations of Baccarat
As baccarat moved across different regions, different variations came about. Of course, the rules in each variation are a little different. Here are the most popular types of baccarat and their specifications:
- Punto Banco is the most common variation of the game. It can also be referred to as classic, American, or simply baccarat. The rules involve placing a wager on the player, banker, or tie as discussed above.
- Mini Baccarat follows the same rules as punto banco, however, it allows lower wager amounts. The game’s speed is also faster and appeals to some players.
- Chemin de Fer allows players to play against each other. However, one player must become a banker during gameplay. As a banker, the player will set aside a specific amount of money to be wagered during gameplay.
- Baccarat Banque is similar to Chemin de Fer but the banker holds their position until they retire or run out of funds.
- European Baccarat allows a player to decide to draw or stand, even when the value of their cards is 5. In addition, the banker can also choose to deal a third card to the players or not.
Proven Strategies and Gaming Tips
Some of your success in baccarat will depend on the luck to draw the best cards. However, this is also a game that involves some skills. Hence, you can improve your chances of winning by using various strategies.
Make the Right Bets
First, from the 3 possible bets in baccarat, we recommend betting on the banker. The house only has a 1.06% edge from bets made on the banker. On the other hand, the house edge is 1.24% when it comes to player bets. In fact, banker bets have some of the lowest house edges of any casino game. But the worst is to bet on ties because of th 14.4% house edge. Moreover, chances of winning a tie bet are so low that most casinos have 8 to 1 odds. Sometimes even 9 to 1 and in reality less than 10% of hands end up in a tie.
The Martingale System
Punters are always looking for an edge to beat the house. One of the many interesting betting systems out there is the Martingale system. It’s very simple – if you place a bet and win, keep playing using the same amount of money. But if you lose, double the bet and keep doing so until you win. Basically, it works because a single eventual win will cover all previous losses.
The Paroli System involves a different approach. First, start with a fixed bet size and double your bet when you win a hand. However, if you lose – then maintain the same amount. But before doubling your bet again – wait for 3 consecutive wins. Some players prefer this system because it can generate multiple small wins.
The Labouchere system is a little more complicated than the previous two. However, it certainly has its merits. For starters, a sequence of numbers prepared beforehand is what determines your bet size. Basically, the sum of the first and last numbers of that sequence determines the bet size. So, after a win those first and last numbers are erased. But after a loss you add a new number. This system is popular because you can make a profit equal to the value of the numbers you wrote down at first.
Playing Baccarat on Mobile Devices
Thanks to flash technology, casino games are nowadays available on mobile devices. Since the demand for mobile casino gaming on the go increases, most developers now make their products mobile compatible without affecting the gaming experience.
In order to confirm mobile play is possible in your case, try playing on your device using free casino offers first. Of course, try different platforms and games until you find the one combination that suits you best.
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How to Choose a Platform
It can be difficult to choose a casino platform where you can enjoy baccarat games. In order to find the best experience provider, look for these criteria:
Security and License
Online casinos need to acquire a gaming license from regulating authorities in order to operate legally. It ensures that the platform is fair to its clients and doesn’t commit fraud. Therefore, always check for a license to ensure your funds are safe and your data secure.
Find out how a casino facilitates fund transfers to suit your needs and preferences. Different payment options have different costs or may be unavailable to you. So naturally, you should choose a casino that offers options you like.
Online casinos, especially good ones, offer many bonuses and promotions to their clients. These you can use to enjoy the games at a lower cost or for free and even make more money. The best platforms out there should be issuing many such offers. However, not just the volume but the quality of offers matters, too.
Not the casinos but software developers create the casino games you enjoy. This means the quality of the games depends on the provider. Hence, you ought to choose a developer who has a good reputation and therefore produces titles with superior graphics.
Playing for Free Vs. Playing for Real Money
If you want to test different games and their functionality – free mode is the way to go. However, playing for free can’t produce actual profit and robs you of the thrill of gambling. The fun begins at real money casinos when you place some cash on the line and stand a chance to win lots more.
Moreover, casinos provide more and better services when you play with real money. For example, only for real money, you can enjoy live casino gaming with actual dealers. In addition, you get faster service, too.
Baccarat is an all-time favorite among other casino games for Canadian casino players. It can be very profitable, it’s simple to learn, and is incredibly fun to play. Moreover, your success depends not only on luck but also a skill. Hence, you can improve your winning chances by utilizing some of our strategic recommendations. However, the most important thing is to first pick the baccarat variation you like best and learn how to play. In addition, don’t forget that where you play matters as well. So have a look at the top Canadian online casinos and pick your gaming destination.
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There are quite a few good casinos out there. The right online baccarat platform should have a valid license, provide games from the top developers and issue plenty of free offers.
There are various strategies you can apply to your game. But for Punto Banco, banker bets have the lowest house edge and will provide the best chances of winning.
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The game begins when the dealer draws 2 cards to the player and bank. Then the value of the cards is counted. The side with the value closest to 9 wins.
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