In the past, baccarat was only a game for high rollers in tuxedos and gowns. Today, many casinos now offer low stakes baccarat for the casual player while online casinos even offer $1.00 minimum games that allow new players to learn the game with little risk. With this newfound availability of baccarat, it is important to remember that there is still a learning curve regardless of whether you are playing online or in a brick and mortar casino.
How To Play Baccarat - The basics
Baccarat may seem confusing at first glance, but even a novice can understand the game with just a few pieces of information.
- Like blackjack, players receive valued cards that dealers count to determine the winner. The ace is 1, cards 2-9 are their face value, and cards 10 and up are worth 0.
- Players can bet on the player, banker, or a tie. Some casinos also offer side bets for pairs.
- The banker and player both receive two cards. When determining the points, scores over nine drop the first digit. (A hand that equals 13 is a 3-point hand.)
- The dealer may deal a third card to the player or banker if neither one has a natural. (8 or 9 points in the first two cards dealt.)
- If neither has a natural, the player receives another card if their total is 5 or less. If the player has 6 or 7 points, they stand and their turn ends.
- The banker does the same, but their advantage is that their turn is after the player, allowing the decision to stand or hit and receive a third card based on this chart:
- After the player and banker receive all their cards, the highest score is the winner.
- Betting on the player pays even money, betting on the banker pays 19:20 due to the advantage, and ties usually pay 8:1.
Whether you decide to play online or in a brick and mortar casino, your chosen strategy will be about the same. What matters is which strategy you choose to follow.
Hot Streaks - Not Always the Hottest Move
Some players claim the best way to win is to follow hot streaks. This strategy involves betting on the hand that won the previous hand, or “following the shoe.” A similar strategy is the Avant Denier system. Instead of betting on the last winner, the player would bet on the second-to-last winner to take advantage of current and alternating streaks.
Both strategies can win in the short-term, and streaks do appear throughout a shoe, but it can take a while to determine a solid pattern for consistent betting. Following the shoe and Avant Denier are also both ineffective when playing online due to random number generation shuffling systems. This is why many other players claim that treating each hand as a separate event is the best way to bet, especially online.
Banker VS Player - Baccarat Betting Strategy
Similarly, opinions divide over whether to bet on the player’s hand or the banker’s hand. With the banker’s positional advantage, equaling a 50.6% chance of winning, some players believe the commission on the winnings is worth it to bet on the banker’s hand every turn, regardless of any streaks.
The opposite opinion also exists: by paying 5% on winnings each hand, a player can be at a net loss if they bet on the banker every time due to commission eating into their profits. However, one aspect of the game that most players can agree on is to never bet on the tie. With a house edge of 15%, the 8:1 payout isn’t worth it.
Trusting Your Gut
If you’re looking to have a fun time, the best strategy is to follow your gut because choosing the winner can essentially be a coin toss. If this style is too loose for you, determine which method you would like to follow, whether that might be following the shoe or only betting on the dealer, and you can implement it online and in the casino.
However, as with casino baccarat, bet management is still key to success when playing online baccarat. Finding what’s right for you and playing your style can lead to many winning sessions online and in the casino.
Differences between playing baccarat online and in-person
One of the main differences between playing baccarat online and in a casino are the stakes. Previously, high rollers had a monopoly over the game in brick and mortar casinos. But with the growth of online casinos, players now can play for lower stakes on the web.
Although brick and mortar casinos are increasingly offering baccarat games for the general gambler in most establishments, the stigma of exclusivity still exists. Online, players can’t judge you for not being the stereotypical James Bond-type player, as one might feel they are in a casino.
You can learn and enjoy the game online without any social pressures. If available to you, you can even learn baccarat through free play games in online casinos. This way, you can learn comfortably before placing real money bets.
Baccarat with live online dealers - the best of both worlds
Live dealer games offer a sense of freedom for players that prefer playing baccarat with a live dealer but also want to play online. Through a video chat format, players can play baccarat online with the presence of a real dealer. Live online dealers are a great option for beginners wanting to acclimate themselves with game time speeds or any player without access to a brick and mortar casino.