The classic casino game of baccarat has a long and illustrious history. Originally created in the 1400s in Italy, the game spread throughout Europe, America, and beyond. Today it is one of the most popular online casino games available — helped along by James Bond of course! It’s a fun and exciting game, and it’s well worth learning to play baccarat — let OnlineCasinos.co.uk teach you how.
Is baccarat a game of skill?
Baccarat is a game of chance rather than skill. Once the cards have been dealt, the drawing rules of baccarat automatically come into play and the game unfolds on its own.
While many online casinos have developed their own variants, there are three main types of baccarat that are commonly played today:
- Punto banco
- Chemin de fer
- Baccarat banque
Punto banco is the most common variant of baccarat, usually played with 8 decks of 52 cards. It’s the type you’ll see most often in casinos, and the type we’ll elaborate on here.
How do you win baccarat?
The aim of baccarat is to place a bet on the hand which totals, or is as close as possible to, nine.
Hands in baccarat are given value based on the total sum of the individual card value. For example, a two of hearts and a three of diamonds would equal five. The only cards that differ are aces, which are worth one, and tens and face cards, which are worth nothing.
The value of the hand is based on the right-hand digit of their total. For example, a four of spades and a two of clubs would equal six.
However, a seven of hearts and a four of diamonds would equal 11. The value of that hand would therefore be one.
The highest value of points a player could therefore achieve would be nine. The second highest value would be eight. These are the strongest hands you can get in baccarat, and are both called a natural. These are always comprised of no more than two cards.
How do you play baccarat?
To play baccarat, four cards are dealt face-up, two for the player and two for the banker. The totals are made public, and if the player, the banker, or both have hands that total either 8 or 9, the round (or “coup”) is over and one or both of them win. This is because 9 is the strongest hand, with 8 being the second strongest hand you can get in baccarat.
If neither hand totals either 8 or 9, the next move is determined by the baccarat rules of drawing. These are set in stone, and are automatically followed by the dealer.
Baccarat drawing rules
The rules of baccarat can get a little more complex when the player draws a third card. Luckily, we’ve broken down the rules for you in a simple format!
The player’s hand value is always considered first:
- The player is dealt a third card if their first hand totals 5 or less.
- The player does not take a third card if their first hand is 6 or 7.
- If the player’s first hand is either 8 or 9, no third card is needed and their hand wins.
These rules only apply if the player has drawn a third card. Each option taken depends on what the player’s third card is:
- If the player’s third card is either a two or a three, the banker draws a third card for themselves if their hand currently totals between 0 and 4. The banker does not draw a card if their hand currently totals between 5 and 7.
- If the player’s third card is either a 4 or a 5, the banker draws a third card if their hand already totals between 0 and 5. They do not draw a card if their hand totals 6 or 7.
- If the player’s third card is either a six or a seven, the banker only draws another card if their hand already has a value between 0 and 6. The banker does not draw again if their hand has a value of 7.
- If the player draws an 8 as their card card, then the banker draws a third card if their hand value is currently between 0 and 2. They do not draw again if their hand totals anywhere between 3 and 7.
- Finally, if the player draws an ace, a nine, a ten, or any of the face cards, then the banker draws a third card if their own hand totals between 0 and 3. The banker does not draw a third card if their hand is between 4 and 7.
Below is a useful chart which visualises the above rules for you in an easy-to-understand format:
PLAYER’S THIRD CARD
2 or 3
4 or 5
6 or 7
Ace, 9, 10, J, K, Q
How to bet on baccarat
There are three different options to place bets in baccarat:
- Player to win
- Banker to win
- Player and banker to tie
The player bet pays on odds of 2 to 1, while the the tie bet pays either 8 to 1 or 9 to 1. The banker bet generally takes a small commission on wins, usually around 5%.
While this might seem off-putting as a wager, the banker bet is actually one of the best ones to take. This is because punto banco has one of the highest and two of the lowest house edges compared to other casino games: the tie bet and the player/banker bets, respectively.
The player bet has an edge of 1.24%, and the banker bet has an edge of 1.06%. In spite of the 5% house commission, the banker bet is still considerably more preferable to that of the player bet.
On a tie bet that pays 8 to 1, the house edge is a sizeable 14.36%. This therefore makes a tie the best outcome to bet on, generally. Of course, other factors can come into player such as the odds, bet runs, your gut instinct, and so on. Like any other casino game, it’s about making safe bets, a skill that will come with practice.
What are the best UK online casinos for playing baccarat?
There are so many awesome online casinos offer incredible baccarat games – from live dealer tables to online games. We’ve reviewed the best UK gambling sites for playing baccarat and you can find out about them by following the links below:
So you’ve got the theory — what next? The best way to become a better baccarat player is to practise, practise, practise! And what better place to do that than at a top-rated online casino? Head to OnlineCasinos.co.uk to find the perfect baccarat table for you!