Online Baccarat Rules and Strategy

Baccarat is a game that has quickly picked up steam in terms of popularity in both live casinos and online casinos, and it originally came from Italy back during the times when Charles VIII of France ruled.  To sum up exactly how long ago this was, he ruled from 1483 to 1498!  There are there different variants of baccarat, which include baccarat banque (or deux tableaux), baccarat chemin de fer (railway), and punto banco (also known as North American baccarat).  The general idea behind baccarat is that players have different ways that they can bet, but the three possible results are either the player, the banker, or tie.

Baccarat is widely considered to be one of the more intriguing and interesting gambling games today as well, as any score that is a 10, is actually worth 0 (baccarat).  The score that all players are aiming for though is a 9, and if a player ends up getting two picture cards then they would end up getting a 0.  To sum up exactly how the game works in a simple example, if you were to have an 8 and a 6, you would have a 4 (not a 14), because you drop the first digit.  Aces will count as one in all situations, and the other cards in the deck have their standard values.

Punto Banco (North American Baccarat)

As previously mentioned, one of the three variants of baccarat is punto banco, or North American baccarat.  Players in this game can either bet on the player or the banker, which is the name for the two different hands that are involved in the action.

To break down how the game works, the cards are dealt out starting with the first card going to the player.  Both the player and the banker will have two cards, and both cards are added together and the total is then called out.  So at this point, the Tableau is then taken into account to decide whether or not more cards need to be dealt out.  You can NOT get more than three cards per hand in order to get a winning hand, so the general idea is simply to bet on the hand that you believe is going to have the highest total.  How the Tableau works can be a bit confusing, so we’ll break it down a bit more in-depth below.

Previously we mentioned that all 10s and picture cards count simply as 0, but it’s also important to note that if an initial deal gives a total of 8 or 9, then there are no additional cards given out.

  • Player has either a 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, then you will draw a card
  • Player has a 6 or 7, player stays
  • Player has an 8 or 9, then it is what is called a “natural”, so neither the player or banker will take any additional cards
  • Banker has either a 0, 1, or 2, they will draw a card
  • Banker has a 3, then they will draw a card if the player is holding anything besides an 8
  • Banker has a 4, then they will draw a card IF player’s third card they received was a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7
  • Banker has a 5, then they will draw a card IF player’s third card they received was a 4, 5, 6, or 7
  • Banker has a 6, then they will draw a card IF player’s third card received was a 6 or a 7
  • Banker has a 7, then they stand pat
  • Banker has an 8 or a 9, then it is a “natural”, and neither side will get additional cards

It’s also important to note that if the banker ends up having a 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5, while the player is sitting with a 6 or 7 and stays, then the banker will draw.  On top of that, the banker is also forced to stand with a 6 if the player has a 6 or a 7 between only two cards.

As far as the betting action goes, the losing bets will be taken after the hand, and winning bets are paid out based on the house rules.  Typically even money is paid out on the player and 95% on the banker site, with a commission of the remaining 5% going to the house.  The croupier deals out the cards and is also the one who will announce which hand has won at the end.  In some rare situations, online casinos will pay even money to both the player and the banker, with the lone exception coming if the banker wins the hand with a 6.  If this situation occurs then the banker will get 50% of the original bet that was placed.

Now, this is where it gets even more interesting, because if both the player and banker end up having the same total at the end of the hand, then the winner is anyone who bet on the tie.  The reason why this is interesting is because the payout on betting on a tie is 8 to 1, and all players will get paid based on these odds.

The game is played at an oval table, with the croupier essentially controlling the action and how the game is played as well.  There are also two dealers who pay out winnings and collect losing bets.  A standard game will have between six and eight decks of cards, the shoe goes around between players though who will act as the banker, but don’t actually have anything to do with that aspect of the game.  The highest bettor on each hand is given the player-hand cards, but their only job is to flip those cards over and tell the total.

You’ll find that if you are out in one of the big casinos in Atlantic City or Las Vegas, that the baccarat tables may be away from everything else, because this typically ends up being a high stakes game, and the casinos like to keep high security and privacy to the players of this game.  Of course, just like any other gambling table in a casino, there is a table minimum and table maximum, but you will find that the max bet is typically around $10k in a standard casino.

One of the reasons why so many gamblers are fond of playing the punto banco version of online baccarat is because it is said to offer the lowest advantage to the house to of any of the game in online casinos.  Overall, player bets have a 1.24% advantage, and banker bets have a 1.06% advantage.  Of course, the tie option has the highest house advantage which is 14.44%.

Players also have the option to play mini-baccarat, which is the exact same game as we spoke about above, but it is played at a smaller table which is around the size of a standard blackjack table.  One dealer plays out the entire game for the table, and the game typically goes quite a bit faster than a standard baccarat game will.

Baccarat Chemin de Fer

This game is quite a bit different than any of the other games, and the general idea behind starting the game is that players sit around the table and there is a basket in the center of the table which holds any of the used cards.  There are six decks of cards of the same pattern all shuffled into one big stack as well.  Players decide seats by the lot as well, and the person who gets the first seat is to the right of the croupier.

As far as the start of the game goes, after the croupier makes his full shuffle, each player at the table also has the option to shuffle if they choose to, and the croupier then shuffles ones more after that.  The player to the left of the dealer will make the cut and takes a large number of the cards to pass to the player on the right who will then act as the dealer while everyone else seated at the table is considered to be players at this point.

Whoever this person that is the dealer is, puts the amount that they want to risk out and each of the other players at the table place their bets out.  Any player starting to the right of the dealer can call “Banco” at any point which stands for “go bank”.  What this means is that the player is going to go against the banker’s entire bet, but if none of the players at the table decide to do so then players wil go through and put out their regular bets.  It’s important to take into account what happens if the amount that was bet out by each player doesn’t equal the dealer’s amount, or if it is more as well.  If it is less, then other people around may add additional money in up until the total is hit.  But if it is more than it, each player (in order of closest to the dealer) can raise their bet size.

Now, from this point, the person that is the dealer will go ahead and start the action by dealing out cards downwards, four to be exact.  The deal goes back and forth between the players and him, with the players getting the first card and the third card, and the dealer getting the second and fourth cards dealt out.  Whichever player has the highest bet out to start the hand will represent for the other players, and if two have the same amount bet, then it will be the one that is closest to the dealer’s right that gets to represent.  Players look at their cards and if either side ends up hitting an eight or a nine, then they will turn the cards over and call it out.  This means that the hand is officially over and whichever side has the higher hand will take in the win and also get the winnings as well.  If the dealer of that hand wins, then they will get to deal once again, but if not the action continues to move on to the left.

If neither side ends up getting an eight or nine from the get go, then the dealer will pass out a third card to both sides, and if the player ends up having a baccarat (a ten or twenty, which equal a 0 in baccarat), a one, two, three, or four, then they will ask for another card.  This card is dealt UPWARDS though, for the table to see.  If the player has a six or seven then they are not take the additional card, and if they do so then they can be punished for doing this in the form of potentially having to cover losses!  If the player has a five though, then it is fully up to that player ALONE whether or not they want to take another card.  The banker then decides if they want to move forward and take another card, and will get to make this decision based on what the card which was dealt to the player was, or if they have any idea about the style of play that the player is using.  This is where a lot of the strategy will come into play, as the player can bluff the dealer, or simply act is if they have something (like a five), when realistically they are holding something like a three.

Dealers also have the option after winning to either pass the deal, or to keep playing with their winnings in the pot in hopes of increasing the pot.  But if he or she decides to pass their deal, the player to the left of them has to accept this action and start the pot at the same size that it would have been before this.  If no one accepts this deal, then the action will move on to the person to the right of the dealer who is retiring, and they will then start the pot with the amount which they choose.  Players who essentially go all in, or “gone bank” and don’t hit, can do the same thing on the next hand if they want to as well.

Once that handful of cards is through, the croupier will get another handful of cards and have them cut by whichever player is to his left and then the game will continue with whichever banker is up at the time.  There has to be at least seven cards remaining in the dealer’s hand for the action to begin and the deal to be considered as valid.

Baccarat Banque

The main difference that you’ll find between Baccarat Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque is that while in the first of the two, the dealer position only lasts until he or she loses, or they retire.  In Baccarat Banque, the dealer will stay the same through the entirety of the decks of cards is dealt out.  For example, there are between two and four decks typically used, and that dealer will remain through all of those decks unless they decide to retire or decide not to continue due to money.  The decision on who will be the banker starts out by which player is willing to risk the largest amount of money, or in some places they will do it as the first person who puts his name down on the list.

The croupier will shuffle the cards and will hand the cards to the players on the right and left of them to do the same.  The dealer is the last one to shuffle and choose a player to cut the deck as well.  Players will all place their bets and the dealer gives out three separate cards, with the first going to the player directly to the right of him, the second to the player on the left, and the third to himself.  The same dealing style will go through three more times.

Now, as far as the betting goes, each player to the right of the dealer will play based on the cards dealt to that side of the table, and the other five players will play off of the cards dealt to the left side of the table.  As far as the standard rules for getting an eight or a nine, accepting cards, rejecting cards, and everything else in-between will work the same way as Baccarat Chemin de Fer do.  Players have the option to go bank in this game as well, but if two players on opposite sides decide to go bank they were go half and half.

Players who decide to go bank have the option to do it on one hand, or on two hands separately, which half of the stake going on each of the two hands.  The same rules apply here as above, where if a player loses when going bank, they can do so again.  They even have the option to go bank three times if they choose, but no more than that.

If a dealer is in the midst of holding the bank, they have to play one hand but can retire at any point after that if they choose to.  They are then told to tell the amount that they are retiring with and then other players in order are allowed to continue to play the bank.  If the amount of money that goes into the bank is more than what the banker has put in, this does not mean that they will have to cover the additional amount.

It’s important to remember that all rules of Baccarat in the United States will vary by specific casino, as many of them have different rules that apply for different games.  This is also the same situation for online casinos, so if you are curious about the specific rules of where you are playing, be sure to check before beginning to play!

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