Baccarat Rules Explained
Unlike some more popular games, like blackjack or different casino poker variations, the rules of baccarat are not as well known. While most people have heard about the game (thanks to the earlier mentioned movie, if nothing else), many seem to avoid it as it may seem complicated at a first glance.
But, we have some good news for you.
Online baccarat is rather simple game and after reading these rules, you should be able to get into action straight away. In a brick and mortar casino, eight decks are usually used for your common variety baccarat game. There can be up to fourteen people seated at a table. When it comes to baccarat online, the number of decks doesn't really matter, as cards for each hand are generated using an RNG (Random Number Generator).
The play starts by players selecting to place bets on a player, a banker, or on a tie. Although all three options are available, it is somewhat of a custom for player to let the dealer have the bank bet.
The dealer position rotates around the table, so every player gets to play the banker at some point. A player can decide to pass on the opportunity and let the next player have the shoe instead. A player will hold remain a dealer (a banker) for as long as he is winning. Once he loses, the shoe moves on to the next player.
When all players at the table place their bets, the dealer deals out two hands: one for the player position and one for the dealer position. Depending on the variation, cards can be dealt either face up or face down, with the face up deal making for a faster game. Both positions will receive two cards each and, on occasion, third card is dealt, as explained below.
Finally, two hands are compared and the best hand wins. All players who placed their bets on the winning position receive their payouts.
Card values, draw rules and payouts
The highest total value a hand can have in baccarat is nine (9). This is because face cards and 10s don't have any values (0), while all other cards are counted at their face values. Aces are counted as 1. If a hand total reaches double digits, only the second digit is counted. So for example, if a player receives a 5 and an 8, his total for the hand is three (8+5=(1)3).
Before the hands are compared to determine the winner, either the player or the banker may receive another card. This is not a decision, however, like in blackjack. There are strict rules in place as to when third card is dealt.
- When there is a hand totaling 8 or 9 in either position, both hands must stand. This is the top rule, meaning it overrides all other rules.
- When the player’s hand totals 5 or lower, he will receive another card.
- When the player stands, the dealer will hit when his hand is 5 or under.
- If the player hits, check out the chart available in-game to figure out if the dealer should hit, based on the player’s total after taking another card. In online baccarat, however, this is not a concern, since the actions are made automatically.
Finally, payouts for winning on either player’s or banker’s hand are 1:1. If you bet on a tie (Stand Off), the potential payout is usually 8 to 1.
Odds in Baccarat
In terms of odds, baccarat is quite similar to playing even odds bets on roulette. Assuming an eight-deck game:
- If you bet on the banker, the house edge is 1.06%
- When you bet on the player, the casino edge is slightly bigger: 1.24%
- Playing the tie, you are going against 14.36% house edge
Like any other casino game that’s been around for a while, baccarat has quite a few variations that can be found online and in brick & mortar casinos alike.
Chemin de fer is offered in some European land-based casinos, while it is not very popular in the US and Canada. The main difference is that players don’t play against the house but play against each other instead and the casino just takes the rake for provided services.
Baccarat en banque is another predominantly European variation, not found in Canadian casinos. Casino plays the bank, three hands are dealt (one for the bank and two for the players), and players cannot bet on the bank.
Some Canadian online casinos will offer high limit baccarat tables for those looking the ultimate excitement. With bets going as high as CAD 5,000, these games are certain to get your blood pumping, but they are reserved for those with really deep pockets.
Top 5 Baccarat Tips
- If you are following a baccarat strategy system like Martingale, always bet on the player. The banker bet does offer better odds, but most casinos also charge a commission of around 5% on winning banker bets, so a straightforward system will simply not work.
- Stick to a bankroll management system. While there are no hard and fast rules as to how much money you need to play a particular baccarat limit, use your common sense and don’t play with the money you can’t afford to lose.
- Don’t chase losses by increasing your bets. It is tempting to go nuts after losing a few hands in a row, trying to win one or two big bets and get back in a black. However, this will see your money disappear quickly more often than not. Stay patient and don’t let losses affect you or your strategy.
- Find online casinos that allow you to use your bonus money on baccarat tables. Not all Canadian online casinos will let you use your bonus money to play baccarat, so make sure you know all the rules before depositing.
- Never bet a Tie (Stand Off). The bet only pays around 8 to 1 at most casinos, while the house edge is in excess of 14%. Stick to the two standard bets.
Conclusion: Give Online Baccarat a Shot
While online baccarat may not be nearly as popular as blackjack or roulette, it is a game that is fairly easy to learn and can be very exciting. Casino players from Canada should definitely give it a shot and see how they like it. With nice bonuses and different available variations, the odds are – you are going to love it.
If nothing else, online baccarat can be a nice way to change your routine and try something new. With the game offering pretty low house edge, you can enjoy your time at the tables without risking losing too much, and you could still go on a heater and walk away with a nice chunk of cash.
Check out our recommended Canadian casinos and don’t hesitate to sign up with them if you are looking to take online baccarat for a spin. You can rest assured that all these casinos will treat you right in every sense of the word and will let you enjoy baccarat games without any unnecessary hassle.