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Baccarat Strategy and Online Game Guide

Baccarat is in a league of its own, but it isn’t just James Bond’s pastime of choice. It’s also the undisputed favourite of affluent players in the UK and around the world. At many live casinos, the game is often reserved for high rollers, with baccarat tables cordoned off by velvet ropes.

Yet, even if you aren’t rich, it’s simple to play and win at the best online casinos, especially because baccarat has a remarkably low house edge. Keep reading this online baccarat guide and learn how easy it is to prosper.

  • Understand online baccarat rules
  • How to get the best odds playing baccarat online
  • Tips for managing your bankroll

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Getting to Know the Game at Hand

Although baccarat is a comparing card game, there are multiple versions that operate under the same name. The version played by James Bond is known as chemin de fer, which is the original French variety of baccarat. While that game has its merits, it’s a bit of a rarity in Britain and you won’t typically find it on the internet.

Most online and live casinos in the UK, Canada, Macau, Australia, and America offer a version of baccarat called punto banco, which is the focus of this strategy guide. There’s also a third style of play known as baccarat banque that is closer to chemin de fer than punto banco.

Unlike chemin de fer and baccarat banque, punto banco doesn’t force you to keep tabs on who the banker is and you’ll never have to fight for that role. That’s because the house is the banker and the position is largely irrelevant in this game. In other words, punto banco players will have the opportunity to bet on any of the outcomes.

You can either wager on the banker, player, or a tie in every round of play. More importantly, you’ll never need to make decisions after placing your bet. While you’ll be playing a game of pure chance, there are certainly several strategies you can use to improve your performance.

The Rules of How Hands Are Scored

The real beauty of playing punto banco is that you can win without understanding how cards are scored and drawn. This is important because the scoring system can look complicated on the surface and may even deter some people from giving the game a go. In reality, the game is less intimidating than what those velvet ropes might lead you to believe.

  • Place your bet on player or dealer hands, or a tie
  • Dealer and player hands receive two cards
  • Winning hand is the one closest to a sum of 9
  • Cards valued at 10 are worth 0
  • If a hand exceeds 10, only the right-hand digit counts
  • Player gets an additional card on totals of 5 or less, unless the dealer has an 8 or 9
  • Wagers are paid out

What You Must Know About Baccarat

  • When playing in the UK, punto baccarat is the most common form of baccarat
  • Punto banco baccarat is a game of pure chance
  • After placing your bet, you’ll have no additional decisions to make
  • Unlike tie or player bets, banker bets are subject to a 5% commission
  • Even factoring in the commission, the banker bet has the lowest house edge
  • The smartest strategy is to always bet on the banker
  • While betting on the player is within reason, never bet on a tie

Understanding Your Chances

As we mentioned earlier, baccarat features just three possible bets. You can either wager on the banker, player, or a tie.

Bets on the banker and player both pay even money with one small condition. You’ll be forced to pay a 5% commission on your banker bets. While this might deter you from betting on the banker, the odds of the banker winning are higher to begin with. That’s because the rules which dictate whether a hand gets an additional card are inherently set up to favour the banker.

Even when you factor in the commission, the house has a 1.06% edge on banker bets and a 1.24% edge on player bets. That means you should always bet on the banker if you want to tilt the odds in your favour. Even though a difference of 0.18% might seem insignificant, winning gambling strategies require you to put yourself in the best position to win at all times.

“The smartest baccarat strategy requires you to always bet on the banker. It’s the easiest way to reduce the house edge.”

Unskilled players often fall into the trap of betting on a tie. With ties paying 8 to 1, the appeal is understandable until you dig deeper. Hands have just a 9.543% chance of ending in a tie, which is roughly one out of eleven times. As you can tell, that pales in comparison to the seemingly generous 8 to 1 payouts, which leaves the casino with a whopping 14.36% house edge.

Baccarat Odds At A Glance

When you play punto banco, which is the most popular variety of baccarat in the United Kingdom, the only decision you’ll need to make is whether you want to bet on the banker hand, player hand, or a tie. See how your betting options stack up:

  • Banker Bet - Pays 1:1 and has a 1.06% house edge.
  • Player Bet - Pays 1:1 and has a 1.24% house edge.
  • Tie Bet - Pays 8:1 and has a sizable 14.36% house edge.

Tips for Managing Your Bankroll

Now that you know to always bet on the banker, it’s worth exploring another way to improve your overall performance. If you want to succeed at any game, it’s important to manage your bankroll effectively and baccarat is certainly no exception.

  • Place bets in line with your budget. If you're planning to wager £500 during a play session, betting £500 on a single hand could mean that your night is over after just one game.
  • When starting out, limit your wagers to 2.5-5% of your bankroll on a given hand.
  • Remember that odds are calculated in the long run, which means that you could go on a winning or losing streak. Be prepared to ride that wave of luck.
  • Play to have fun. If you start chasing losses, you're bound to make mistakes or play recklessly.

Conclusion: A Word About Baccarat Betting Systems

The internet is filled with so-called fool proof betting systems that claim to give you an edge. While we don’t blame you for wanting an advantage, it’s important to remember that punto banco baccarat is a game of chance. Beyond betting on the banker and managing your bankroll, there is no secret to success.

Betting systems like the Martingale, which requires you to double your bet when you lose, are flawed since if you lose enough times in a row you’ll exceed the table limit. Still, these types of systems can be fun and help you to be a more disciplined player.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is baccarat?

Baccarat is a popular comparing card game that's available live and on the internet. Although there are several variations of the game, punto banco is the most popular version in the United Kingdom and online. Unlike other comparing card games like blackjack, punto banco is a game of pure chance. No skill is required to play or win.

How do you play baccarat?

To play baccarat, you simply need to decide whether you wish to bet on the banker hand, player hand, or a tie. Just place your chips in the designated betting area and watch the action unfold. When the game begins, both the player and banker hands will each receive two cards. Although the winning hand is the one with the highest score, both hands may be eligible to receive an additional card. Fortunately, hitting and standing happens automatically.

How do you win consistently at baccarat?

To win at baccarat you'll need to successfully bet on whether the banker or player has the superior hand. It's also possible to wager on a tie if you prefer. Unlike blackjack, scoring is a little more complicated and you won't be responsible to decide whether you want to sit or stand when playing punto banco baccarat.

What are the rules of baccarat?

The rules of baccarat are simple. Before the game begins you need to decide whether you want to bet on the player hand, banker hand or a tie. Next, both the banker and player receive two cards. Although the hand that is closest to 9 wins, there are a couple of stipulations.

The value of each hand is calculated by adding up the card numbers with some exceptions. First, face cards and tens are worth zero. If a hand adds up to more than 9 then 10 is subtracted from the total. It's also possible for the player and dealer to receive an additional card, although this will happen automatically depending on the value of the hands.

What are the odds of winning at baccarat?

The odds of winning at baccarat depend of which bet you place. If you bet on the banker or player, you'll be paid even money if you win. Tie bets generally pay 8 to 1. Bets on the banker have a 1.06% house edge, while bets on the player have a 1.24% house advantage. If you wager on a tie, the house edge rises to 14.36%

What is the house edge of baccarat?

If you bet optimally and only wager on the banker bet, the house edge is a low 1.06%. If you decide to wager on a tie bet, the house edge soars to 14.36%

What are the different baccarat variations?

The three main variations are baccarat banque, chemin de fer and punto banco. When you play baccarat online, you'll only get to play punto banco. This goes for traditional and live dealer baccarat.

Glossary

Banco

This means bank or the house, most commonly used to refer to a wager on the dealer's hand.

Bankroll

The total sum of money that you've designated for use in a gambling session.

Burn

When the dealer discards the first cards of a shoe, and action used to disrupt the order of the cards and confound any cheaters or card counters.

Commission

A 5% charge paid to the casino for the privilege of making a banco bet. Even with commission, the house edge is lowest with this wager.

Down Card

A card that is facing down.

House Edge

A statistical representation of how much more often the house will win. So, if you wager £100, statistically the odds are that the house will keep £1.06 of that. However, this is calculated over thousands of hands and you can still beat these odds.

La Grande

French term for a two-card hand worth 9.

La Petite

French term for a two-card hand worth 8.

Punto

This means the player, or the baccarat hand sitting opposite the banco hand.

Shoe

Box used to hold the decks of playing cards.

Tie

Also called a standoff, this is when the two hands are of equal value.

Up Card

Term used to describe a card that is facing up.

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