Baccarat is an excellent opportunity for fans of card games to try their luck and win really big cash prizes.
Despite its simplicity, the game is able to arouse a high pitch of excitement. The popularity of Baccarat is explained not only by simple rules, but also by high chances to win. It has one of the highest return-to-player percentages, which is close to 99%.
The exact place of origin of the game is not known, but experts claim that it is either France or Italy. However, a similar game exists in Spain too and is called Punto Banco. There are some sources evidencing that it was played with Tarot cards in the Middle Ages. The most popular version of origin of Baccarat says that the founder of the game is Felix Falguiere from Italy. According to a legend, Falguiere created the game based on the Etruscan Nine Gods worship, requiring from a blonde virgin to cast a nine-sided dice to determine her fate. If the young maiden threw an 8 or a 9, she became a priestess. If she threw a 6 or 7, she was banished. In case she threw a number less than six, she had to drown herself in the sea. The overall scheme of the game is roughly preserved to this day, but nobody requires taking such high risks.
In the 19th century Baccarat was regarded as an aristocratic game and was played by rich people only. Nowadays it is offered for everyone by both live and online casinos.
The purpose of the game is to guess which hand will win – the banker’s or the player’s one. So, you can bet on Player (“Punto”), Banker (“Banco”) and Tie (“Standoff”) boxes. If you bet on the Player box and win, you’re paid 1:1. The Banker option provides the same payout ratio minus 5% commission in favor of a house. Tie will pay you 8:1 (however, some casinos pay 9:1) if you bet on it and the outcome is a draw. In the latter case, all bets made on Player or Banker are returned to players.
Baccarat is played either with 6 or 8 decks. The Banker and Player hands are dealt 2 cards each. Then counting of points is made. Face cards and tens have zero value (by the way, “baccarat” means “zero” in Italian). Aces are considered as 1. The cards from 2 to 9 correspond to their face value. The total amount of points of a hand varies from 0 to 9 only, if it is higher, some kind of denomination is made each time – by deducting 10 points. If a hand collects 9 or 8 points, it wins in case the other hand has a lower amount. If none of the hands have 8 or 9 points, it is defined whether Player should be dealt a 3rd card. Then, depending on Player’s new score, Banker’s rule in regard to a 3rd card is applied.
If Player totals 7 or 6 points, he can’t get a 3rd card. Player receives a 3rd card when he’s got 0-5 points.
If Player doesn’t receive a 3rd card, Banker takes it only having 0-5 points (i.e. the same rule applies).
If Player got a 3rd card, the rules for Banker with regard to drawing or standing are more complex and depend on what card was dealt to Player and what score Banker has. These rules are illustrated in the following table:
|Player’s Third Card||Banker’s Score and Corresponding Actions|
|2 or 3||0 – 4||5 – 7|
|4 or 5||0 – 5||6 – 7|
|6 or 7||0 – 6||7|
|8||0 – 2||3 – 7|
|9, 10 (or a court card) or an Ace||0 – 3||4 – 7|
Playing in online casino, it’s not necessary to remember all the scenarios mentioned in the table, since drawing is made automatically based on the algorithm above.
Odds and Strategy
Considering that a player doesn’t take any decision after dealing cards, there is no optimal strategy in Baccarat. Nevertheless, like in roulette, you can use various betting strategies depending on statistics of previous draws. While doing that, you should keep in mind house edge for each bet:
- Banker = 1.06%;
- Player = 1.24%;
- Tie = 14.4%/4.85% (for 8:1 and 9:1 payouts accordingly).
The higher probability of the winning of Banker compared to Player is explained by that the Banker box is drawn an additional card more often than that of Player. The latter one receives a 3rd card only when there are 0-5 points in a hand, whereas Banker can get it having 0-6 points.