Baccarat online is a fast, thrilling and even enigmatic (as some Asian guys would say) game with very easy rules and no player’s skills involved. All that is needed in the game is mere luck or a random number generator inclined in your favor (just kidding). As opposed to, say, blackjack where players can apply strategies to maximize odds, playing baccarat is like drifting in a mountain stream that carries you like a wooden chop on turbulent waters because nothing in online baccarat really depends on the player. This is why the game is so loved by gamblers of a certain mindset: those who rely only on luck, those who believe in fate rather than actions do enjoy the game, its simplicity and the adrenaline rush it evokes.
Online baccarat rules
Before you get to know how to play baccarat, you should learn the game lingo. A no-side bet baccarat gives players three bet options: bet on Banker, Player or Tie. Don’t get mislead by the bet names: the name “Player” does not imply the bet is placed on your cards. Similarly, the Banker bet does not mean it is placed on the cards that belong to the banker. In fact, these are just descriptive monikers.
First of all, you need to place a bet on any of the three outcomes mentioned above and the bet must be within the table bet range. New players with no experience in online baccarat are recommended to stay away from high bets because of the fast-paced nature of the game. Wagering high, you will blow your dough in the flash of the eye. Until you gain confidence in the game, play at the minimum table bet.
A round starts as follows: the computer deals two cards to the Player and two cards to the Banker. Each card has a fixed value: face cards are worth 0 points, except for an ace that counts as 1; and numeric cards are worth their nominal values. If the two cards total is 10 or above, the final total is defined by dropping out the left digit in the number, for example, a five and seven totals 12, one is removed, and the final total of the two cards is 2. The winning hand is the one that gets as close to nine as possible. As you can derive from the above, there can be three outcomes: the Banker hand is higher than the Player’s (outcome 1), the Player hand is higher than the Banker’s (outcome 2), and both hands have an equal score (Tie, outcome 3).
Online baccarat odds and payouts
To begin with, baccarat has the lowest house advantage of all known casino games. But do not lead yourself into illusion that you will earn thousands or hundreds of dollars for an hour of playing online baccarat – however hard you try, the odds are against the player (meaning a person, not the bet type). Interesting trivia: a Japanese gambler won $10m in February 1990 during one week, playing baccarat in Atlantic City. Who knows, maybe you can beat his record. Anyway, back to baccarat payouts. The winning Player hand pays out 1:1, the winning Banker pays 1:1 and the winning Tie bet awards 8:1 (9:1 in some variations). There’s an important detail: the Banker bet, if won, takes a 5% commission. For example, you wagered $10 on Banker and your bet won. You receive $10 of your original bet plus $10 in winnings minus $0.5 in commission = $19.50 in total. Under the same conditions, the Player bet would pay $20. Everything described above makes sense if you play for real money. Just to remind, many Australian online casinos operate with bitcoin, Neosurf and other well-known payment methods.
Odds: Probabilities of Banker and Player win are 45.8% and 44.6% respectively. It may seem wagering on Banker would earn you more but keep in mind the 5% commission charged on Banker. The Tie payouts are the highest, but the chances of it to be hit are 9.6%, which diminishes the importance of that bet. To summarize, prioritize betting on Player and never bet on Tie.
Third card rule
After the initial deal, both Player and Banker have two cards but in some game situations, either or both can be dealt one more card. The rules for this are a bit complex but there’s no need to memorize them because you are not required to make a decision of whether to take third card or not. If the rules say so, you and/or the dealer will be dealt the third card automatically without any option to decline it. A fragment of the rule says, for example: If the Banker’s first cards total 2, the third card is dealt or if the Banker hand counts 5, the third card is drawn, unless the Player has 4, 5, 6 or 7. If you want to know this rule by heart, read the built-in rules provided to each baccarat game in the Help section. After (and if) the third card is on the table, the final scoring is performed under the same counting principles as reviewed in the Online Baccarat Rules paragraph above.
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Baccarat basic strategy
Players cannot control a baccarat game or affect winning odds, for this reason the “winning strategy” term is not applicable to baccarat. However, it is possible to give a few tips to help players get more fun and warn them against some of the most common mistakes.
- DO NOT bet on Tie. The situation that both hands are of equal value occurs in 1 case out of 10 but the payout is only 8:1.
- DO NOT believe smart alecs who try to convince you that some “never-before-heard-of” strategy has been invented to beat the odds in your favor. There’s NO winning strategy due to the uncontrollable nature of the game itself.
- Inspect game stats that are displayed in each game you are in. Results are purely random and seeing a long streak of Player wins does not necessarily imply you are about to experience the same long streak of Banker wins. None the less, skimming the game stats gives you a better understanding of the game.
- DO NOT forget about bankroll management. Baccarat games are swift, with each round lasting mere seconds, which can make you fling caution to the winds and bet on and on and on until you find yourself broken.
- Card counting DOES NOT work in baccarat.
- Baccarat normally contributes nothing to playthrough requirements of bonuses.
Side bets in online baccarat
As compared to Asians, who adore this game unreservedly, some Aussies would find baccarat a bit boring and monotonous, were it not for one great addition to it. Nearly every baccarat game has optional side bets that are a real salvation for players who want to explore new horizons of the game and win even higher than the winning Tie hand offers. Side bets are placed strictly as an addition to main bets but their outcome is independent of the main bet win or loss. The most popular side bets are described below:
- Pairs. Betting on Player’s Pair (11:1, figures in brackets here and below denote payouts), Banker’s Pair (11:1) or Any Pair (5:1), you win if a related hand (or either) forms a pair (4d + 4c). Suits are not factored in.
- Small/Big. The Small bet wins (1.5:1) if the total number of cards on the table is 4. The Big bet wins (0.54:1) if Banker and Player have 5 or 6 cards in total.
- Dragon Bonus. This side bet is based on the difference between the points in the Player and Banker hands. The highest difference is 9 when the one side has nine points and the opponent has 0. In this scenario, the Dragon bet pays out 30:1 if you have wagered on this outcome. The side bet covers nearly all possible outcomes in relation to the gap between total scores of Player and Banker.
Other side bets, which are not common in baccarat games, include Sum Bonus, Tie Bonus, Lucky Bonus, Super 6 and Egalite.