Baccarat is a popular table game found at land-based casinos and online casinos. Its signature feature is a very low house edge of 1.06% and this is also one of the easiest card games out there, since there is no strategy that players have to ace. You just select how much to bet and wait for the outcome of the baccarat round. You cannot make decisions on whether to stand, hit or do other actions in the same vein as in blackjack, for example.
Online baccarat basics
Before a card deal, you must place a bet within set table limits that are normally indicated on the screen. The minimum bet can be $1, $5, $10, or even more if you picked a high-roller table. And here you have only three betting options: Player, Banker and Tie. The areas for placing chips are clearly marked on the table so you can easily spot them. ‘Player’ and ‘Banker’ are arbitrary names of the hands, and these are the most preferable betting choices, since both pay off even money (1 to 1) if won. The ‘Player’ and ‘Banker’ names do not mean they belong to any specific player or the casino.
How cards are dealt and counted
A typical baccarat is played with six, seven or eight standard 52-card decks that contain no joker cards. After you placed a bet, the cards are dealt automatically, with two face-up cards on the Banker’s hand and two cards to Player. In all baccarat versions, an Ace counts as 1 point. Tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings are worth 0, and number cards (2 through 9) are counted according to their pip values. For example, If a hand contains Five, Nine and King, it totals 5+9+0=14. However, the total score cannot exceed 9 in baccarat, so all two-digit numbers get the first digit removed. In our case, 14 gives a final score of 4.
So both the Player and Banker hands have two initial cards each. After the hands are scored, a third card rule may apply. A good thing is that you do not have to explore the intricacies of this rule, since everything is done automatically. Anyway, the third-card provision in baccarat is:
- The player’s hand is completed first. If the two initial cards on Player total 6, 7, 8 or 9, no third card is dealt to that hand
- If the banker’s two cards total 7, 8 or 9, the banker stands (receives no more cards)
- Player gets dealt one more card if its two cards’ total equals to or less than 5
- Banker always hits when having a total of 0, 1 or 2.
After the final score is calculated, the winning hand is the one that totals 9 or is closer to nine. If both hands are of equal values, the outcome is a tie, a push. For this outcome, there are no losers and winners, and you get back your money wagered, unless you have placed the Tie bet, in which case you win.
What is the best hand to bet on
Though both outcomes, Player and Banker, pay even money, that is 1 to 1, a winning Banker hand requires you to pay a 5% commission so you actually earn 0.95 to 1. In defiance of the commission, betting on Banker still provides the lowest house advantage of 1.06% so it is more beneficial to select this betting option. The house edge on the Player bet is 1.24%, while the Tie bet features a huge 14.36% house edge. The bottom line: Avoid betting on Tie but consider placing your chips on Banker (the best choice) or Player.
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3 Baccarat tips
Some experts would say they have secret knowledge of how to turn the tide in your favor by applying a certain ‘time-proven strategy’ but this is not true. In fact, no strategies exist for baccarat, since you are not able to make hitting decisions. All you can do is to decide how much money to bet and which of the three outcomes to bet on. However you can make your bankroll last longer and even catch a winning streak if you follow a few easy tips that will ultimately maximize your return and thus improve your gaming experience.
Tip 1. Banker bet is Number 1 choice.
As you have learnt from the above review, betting on Banker gives slightly more chances of winning, just because this outcome occurs more often than others. You should keep going with the Banker hand until it loses. When the winning streak on Banker is finished, expert players recommend to wait one decision and see its results. If Banker wins, go back to betting on Banker. If Player wins, than shift focus on Player bets and continue betting on that outcome until the winning streak finally ends.
Tip 2. Don’t ever make Tie bets
Ties pay out 8 to 1, which makes it an alluring choice for risky players. However, an extremely low potential return and a very high house edge on Tie wins (almost 15%) will drain out your bankroll if you decide to bet on Ties only. If you feel lucky, try this betting option but do not overbet.
Tip 3. Create a money management plan
Baccarat is a very fast game. You can play over 100 hands within 10 minutes, which sounds unreal for other card games or roulette. With this swift gaming process, your bankroll would end faster than you may expect. So the first advice is to keep your bets small. Second, set a loss limit and do not go beyond it. Third, slow down the pace. Do not click the Rebet button immediately at the end of each hand, otherwise you can end up with your coin balance completely eroded because of a positive house edge whatever bet options you choose.