Baccarat is one of the oldest casino games. It was first documented as far back as the 1400s in Italy and made its way to France. The French spelling is ‘Baccara’ and English-speaking countries added the ‘t’ for no particular reason. The game really came to popularity in the 1900s and has since established itself as one of the most popular casino games around, and has become a main rival to blackjack.
Online baccarat is a card comparing game, just like blackjack, but there is no element of skill as the player does not have to make any decision that have an impact on the hand’s value.
The aim of the game is a simple one: players bet on either of the two hands dealt on the table – either the dealer or the player’s. It is customary for the dealer to bet on their own hand and whichever hand comes closer to 9 wins. Many people compare the rules of baccarat to the decision of betting on black or red in roulette.
What types of Baccarat I can play?
There are a few variations of baccarat games that have emerged over the years and mostly they occur from the different countries they are played in. The general rules remain very similar in most cases, the only exceptions tend to be drawing rules and the players interaction.
Here are the main baccarat game types available to play:
Chemin De Fer – the most likely baccarat game UK and European players will come across. This variation differs from American baccarat in that players do the dealing and the role of ‘dealer’ rotates around the table. If the hand total is 5, then players also have the option to stand or take another card.
Baccarat en Banque – another European version, en Banque is typically played with three decks of cards and the dealer is chosen based on which player is willing to take the biggest risk.
Three Card Baccarat – a popular choice in Macau, this variation has quite different rules to traditional baccarat. Both players and dealer get 3 cards and the best possible hand is three face cards, then the traditional baccarat hand ranking.
Super Pan 9 – a primarily US version of the game, it uses a limited deck of 36 cards that are all face cards and A, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Players and the dealer are all given three cards to begin with and have the option to draw one more card.
Live dealer baccarat
It is possible to play online baccarat with both software and a live dealer. There are many providers offering the best baccarat software and versions for you to enjoy. Playing with a live dealer uses streaming to bring a live baccarat game to the comfort of your home. Players are able to see the table and are also able to watch the dealer as he coordinates the game.
Online baccarat is available to play on all device platforms provided you have an Internet connection.
How to play Baccarat
Just like in blackjack, baccarat pits you against the dealer as you try and achieve a higher hand value. One of the significant differences is that it is not necessary for players to bet on their own hand to win – you can actually chose to bet on the dealers instead.
The highest value that players aim for is 9, which is referred to as a ‘natural hand’ if you make this number with just 2 cards.
The rules of baccarat are fairly straightforward; cards between 2 and 9 are worth their face value. All the face cards and 10s are worth 0 points and aces are worth 1 point. What players need to pay attention to is understand how the high value of 9 can be achieved when 1 card could be worth that amount.
The main rule to understand is that a hand’s value is calculated by taking the right number of the total sum. If a player had a 9 and 8, then their hand value would be 7. This is because their total hand would be 9+8=17, and the rightmost number of 17 is 7.
When a round starts players must first bet on either their own hand or the dealers. You must therefore bet on the hand you think will have the highest value. The cards (two to the player and two to the dealer) will then be dealt. A third card is then deal to either or both the player and dealer. Whoever has bet on the hand with a value closest to 9 wins.