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Online Baccarat

The game of Baccarat dates all the way back to the fifteenth century, making it one of the oldest casino games to still be widely playednet-entertainment-baccarat today. Online versions of Baccarat have brought this classic game to the attention of a whole new audience on all four corners of the globe.

Basic Game Play

On the surface the game of baccarat looks quite similar to blackjack, but there are some very important differences between them. The game takes place between a Banker and a Player, and the aim of the game is to get as close to a score of 9 as possible.

One crucial distinction between this game and blackjack is that you can choose whether to bet on the Banker or the Player (or a Tie) as you are not playing either hand yourself. In blackjack you play a hand versus the dealer, but here the Banker and Player follow pre-determined betting rules and you bet on which hand you believe will win, more like a spectator than an active player.

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Baccarat Scoring Rules

You must place your bet before the hands are dealt, and after you do so two cards will be dealt to both the Player and the Banker. The Player will act first, and his actions are entirely determined by the 2 cards which are dealt.

Note that in baccarat the cards from Ace to 9 take their spot value, while tens and face cards have a value of zero. If the combined value of the cards is greater than 9 then the value of the hand is determined by the second digit. For example if the hand is comprised of a 6 and an 8, then the value of the hand is 4 (6 + 8 = 14, second digit = 4).

Playing Rules

After the cards are dealt the Player acts as follows: if his cards total 8 or 9 (called a ‘natural’) then he receives no extra cards; Player will also stand on a total of 6 or 7; if the Player total is anything from 0 to 5 he draws one more card, and the new total is his final score.

If the Player did not take any new cards (ie, had a 2 card score of 6 – 9) then the Banker will do the same if he has a hand of 6 or better, and will take another card if his score is 0 – 5. If the Banker has a two-card hand of 8 or 9 – a natural – then he will never take a card.

The next part is where it gets a little bit more involved! If the Banker has a score of 0 to 5 in his two card hand and the Player also had an original score of 0 to 5, whether the Banker takes another card or not depends completely on the third card which was drawn by the Player.

For example, if the Player’s third card was an 8 then the Banker must draw when he has 0 – 2 and stand if he has a 2 card hand value of 3 to 7. The full table of the Banker’s required responses is available elsewhere, but when you are playing the online version of the game you don’t need to worry about these rules as the computer software will take care of that for you.

Betting Options

You have three principal betting options in Baccarat: Banker win, Player win or Tie. If you correctly bet on a Tie you will be paid out at odds of 9 to 1.

If you correctly predict a Player win then you have doubled your money, and if the Banker wins then you will also double your money, less a 5% commission for the house. This means that if correctly you picked Banker to win with a $20 bet, then you will get your original $20 back plus $19 for a total of $39.

Most online baccarat games will feature some other side-bets as well. For example you can bet on the Player or the Banker to be dealt a pair of the same cards at odds of 11 to 1.

An ‘Either Pair’ bet wins you 5 times your stake if either one of the Player or Banker is dealt a pair. A bet on a Perfect Pair (same card number and suit) will earn you a payout of 25 to 1 if you get lucky.

Finally you can bet on ‘Big’ or ‘Small’ as a side bet. A ‘Big’ bet pays out 0.54 to 1 if the total number of cards dealt to both Player and Banker equals 5 or 6. A ‘Small’ bet will earn you one and a half times your stake if the Player and Banker only receive 4 cards between them.

You can also find side bets based on card colours ,and whether hand totals are odd or even – there is practically no end to the number of different side bets available if you search widely enough.

Betting Strategy

There is no playing strategy in online baccarat, so the game is all about how and where you place your bets. The house edge on baccarat is among the lowest of all casino table games, meaning that a few hands of baccarat can be quite a profitable venture if you pick the right time to walk away from the table.

It may seem that to bet on Player winning is the obvious option, since there is commission to be paid on your winnings from a Banker victory. However, statistically speaking the Banker will win slightly more often than the  Player – just over 1.2% more often, although this figure varies by a very marginal amount depending on the number of decks used (normally it is 8 or 6).

So bets on Player and Banker are both perfectly reasonable, but you should definitely avoid being tempted by the Tie bet, despite those 9 to 1 odds. The house edge on either a Player or Banker win is a miserly 1%, but for a Tie the advantage to the casino rockets up to almost 15%, making this a real sucker bet!

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