If you want to get into card games, baccarat is arguably the best choice. The game is simple and straightforward, as well as full of intrigue and emotion. Extensively played in Italy and France in centuries past, baccarat has been commonly associated with royalty and the elite.
Eventually, the game became so popular that common folks started playing it in their homes and European casinos accepted it as one of its most prestigious offerings. Some variations originated from the regular game of baccarat, such as Punto Banco and Chemin de fer, but on this occasion, we will focus on how to play standard baccarat.
Absorb the Basics of the Game
Before you place any bets you need to go through a bit of schooling on the game of baccarat. No one should enter the game blind when there are so many sources that could inform you what the game is about and what the basic premise is. Baccarat is a simple game of cards where two hands are compared.
There are two subjects in the game, the Banker and the Player, so each of their hands will be compared and evaluated at the end of a baccarat round. Whoever’s got a stronger hand wins. The third possible outcome is a Tie. The game is played with standard decks of 52 cards, normally 6 or 8 decks shuffled and placed in a shoe.
Learn the Card Values and Hand Payouts
To what any individual hand is worth in baccarat, first you must have a clear understanding of the card values.
Aces count as 1, whereas Tens, Jacks, Queens and Kings count as 0. The remaining cards, from 2 to 9, count as their face values (2 is 2, 3 is 3 and so forth). Ten is subtracted from any total of more than 9, which is why total values can go from 0 to 9. If a hand has 9-2-3, the total is not 15, but 5. If the total is 20 (made by two 10s, for example), the actual total is 0.
The winning Player hand pays 1:1 odds, whereas the Banker hand pays 95% of your wager because the casino normally charges 5% commission on the Banker. The Tie bet carries 8:1 odds.
Game Mechanics Overview
There are three betting areas at the table – the Player, the Banker and the Tie. Participants are tasked with choosing the winning hand, the one that gets closest to the total of 9.
The round begins with the players placing their bets. Two cards are dealt to both the Player and the Banker. They are placed face-up.
The totals are compared, and specific drawing rules are used to determine whether the Player should receive a third card, and then, based on the value of the third card added to the Player’s hand, whether the banker should also receive a third card.
The round outcome is then determined by comparing the totals and participants with successful bets are paid their wagers.
If the Player’s hand has any total of 6 through 9, no third card is issued. In other words, the Player stands. A total of 8 or 9 is called a “Natural hand” and is an automatic winner against any Banker hand, with the only exceptions being 8 or 9. If the Player’s first two cards total 5 or less, the hand receives a third card.
The Banker always stands on a 2-card total of 7, 8 and 9. The Banker will receive a third card on some 4, 5 and 6 card totals, depending on the Player’s total.
You can get into these rules if you feel compelled by the game, but the truth is you don’t have to dive deep into the details as the dealer/software will take care of all of that.
Once you feel you have a good idea of how to play baccarat, put your knowledge to the test by playing a free baccarat game online. Many online casinos will give you the opportunity to access various baccarat games without registration and play in demo mode.
This way you can acquire some experience at the table, see how the hands are dealt and how a round is played out without winning or losing anything, just for practice. Knowing how fast you need to make a decision about your wager will be helpful from the moment you decide to place your first real money bet.
Pick a Good Casino
Playing baccarat for fun without charge is one thing, this has no risks. Playing for real money, on the other hand, is delicate and risky, and you need to be certain about the casino’s credential s before you create an account and deposit.
By selecting a trusted casino brand, you will not have to worry about software fairness, identity theft, unresponsive customer care, delayed payouts or, even worse, declined payouts. Make sure you play at well-known, proven casinos with licenses and adequate certificates.
Baccarat games often allow a scoring system, and quite a unique one. Similarly to roulette, past results are displayed for players who want to use this info to try and predict future hands based on trends and patterns that may have come up in previous sessions.
Scoreboards in baccarat are typically called “road maps” and have their individual names, too: Big Road, Bead Plate, Small Road, Big Eye Road and Cockroach Road. There is no evidence that scorecards generate valid predictions, yet they frequently feature in the game and you shouldn’t at least be confused by them.
Strategies and Tips
Consider available strategies and tips to improve your game and increase your bankroll. The main advice any experienced baccarat player will endorse is to avoid the Tie bet.
It is fun and handy when you want to mix things up, but if you bet on it frequently it will consume your balance faster than you can say “baa-ca-rah”. It is also considered better to choose baccarat games played with fewer decks.
Most baccarat veterans will agree that it is also good to skip a round once in a while and take the time to make the right decision. Whichever strategy you apply and whichever tip becomes part of your routine, remember that money management is critical. Set healthy limits for yourself and do not go past them.