Our Pro Baccarat Casino Guide

Baccarat isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when the conversation of casino card games comes up; however, it’s gained a lot of popularity over the years, especially in online casinos. Baccarat has origins which can be traced back to 19th century France and have allegedly been popular amongst French noblemen. Baccarat was usually played in private gaming rooms, and this is where the most common variation, Baccarat Banque, a three-person casino game, was played. This is as mentioned in a brilliant book called Album des Jeux by Charles Van-Tenac.

The Progression of Baccarat

Further changes were made, as Chemin de Fer, a two-person variant that featured zero-sum was modified from the original Baccarat Banque variant. Another variation was born in the form of Baccarat Punto Banco. Bear in mind that this is different from the previous two that were mentioned as it has the bettor placing bets on whether the Bankers or the Players hand wins. This proved to be one of the most significant modifications made to the game and has played a pivotal role in the overall development of the game.

During the 1940s in Havana; Cuba, baccarat developed over time into a house-banked casino game, and to this day it remains the most popular variation of baccarat. Baccarat continues to rise in popularity amongst casino fans and each year it continues to grow. Most online casinos offer at least one variation of it and players are beginning to realize its value as a simple card game that presents a huge opportunity to win. Another reason why it’s great is that it requires no skill and it has a small house edge of just 1.24%.

In this guide, we take a look at all aspects of baccarat and how this simple card game has grown to become one of the most loved titles at online casinos. We’ll also look at some effective baccarat strategies along with some of the best online casino versions and land-based versions.

Playing Baccarat Online

The small house edge still applies in online baccarat and while it’s not convenient to head to a casino after work, there are plenty of online Canadian online casinos that offer the casino game and a few of its variants. Before starting, you’ll need to find a variation that appeals to you and your style of play and while there are plenty of different versions out there, there are only three main ones available – which we’ll cover a bit later.

There are a few online casinos that have a great selection of baccarat games and they offer some lucrative welcome bonuses too. They can be found below:

  • Spin Palace – This casino offers a welcome bonus in the form of a deposit match of 100% up to a total of CA$1000. It also has a variety of baccarat games which can be enjoyed on both desktop and mobile platforms.
  • Ruby Fortune – This casino offers a welcome bonus in the form of a deposit match, just like Spin Palace, and it goes up to a total of CA$750.
  • Jackpot City – Arguably one of the best online casinos for Canadian players, this casino offers a 100% deposit match bonus up to CA$1600.

The main reason why we chose these three online casinos is that they don’t only offer more than one baccarat game, but they’re also licensed and regularly audited by eCOGRA. This means that you’ll be able to enjoy them without having to worry about issues regarding being paid out or with your privacy. There are also free casino games and this is incredibly important when it comes to learning the rules and understanding the mechanics of how things work.

How to Get Started

Most players avoid a particular casino game simply because they don’t understand it, and that’s often been the case with baccarat. With this game, there are a few things aside from the rules and the variations that you’ll need to understand.

To get started, you must understand that this casino game is based on pure luck. A new player or a veteran plays with the same odds of winning, granted they make the same decisions. However, it’s been proven that having a strategy in place will make it easier for you to play and win.

Depending on the variation that you’ve chosen, the odds will be different. For starters, the house edge changes depending on the bet you’ve made and how many decks are being used.

In an 8-deck variant, betting on the Banker means that there’ll be a 1.06% house edge, betting on the Player means that there’ll be a 1.24% house edge, and betting on a Tie will mean that there’ll be a 14.36% house edge.

In a 1-deck variant, betting on the Banker means that there’ll be a 1.01% house edge, betting on the Player means that there’ll be a 1.29% house edge, and betting on a Tie will mean that there’ll be a 15.75% house edge.

Below we’ll be analyzing bets and odds according to 8-decks being used and a variety of bets being made. This should give you a general idea of the odds being used.

8-Decks – Banker Bet

  • Banker Wins pay 0.95 with 2,292,252,566,437,888 combos with a probability of 0.458597 and a 0.435668 return.
  • Player Wins pay -1 with 2,230,518,282,592,256 combinations with a probability of 0.446247 and a -0.446247 return.
  • A Tie pays 0 with 475,627,426,473,216 combos with a probability of 0.095156 and 0 returns.
  • The total of an 8-deck game with a banker bet means that there’ll be 4,998,398,275,503,360 combinations with a probability of 1 and a return of -0.010579.

8-Decks – Player Bet

  • Banker Wins pay -1 with 2,292,252,566,437,888 combos with a probability of 0.458597 and a -0.458597 return.
  • Player Wins pay 1 with 2,230,518,282,592,256 combinations with a probability of 0.446247 and a 0.446247 return.
  • A Tie pays 0 with 475,627,426,473,216 combos with a probability of 0.095156 and 0 returns.
  • The total of an 8-deck game with a player bet means that there’ll be 4,998,398,275,503,360 combinations with a probability of 1 and a return of -0.012351.

8-Decks – Tie Bet

  • Banker Wins pay -1 with 2,292,252,566,437,888 combos with a probability of 0.458597 and a -0.458597 return.
  • Player Wins pay -1 with 2,230,518,282,592,256 combinations with a probability of 0.446247 and a -0.446247 return.
  • A Tie pays 8 with 475,627,426,473,216 combos with a probability of 0.095156 and a return of 0.761248.
  • The total of an 8-deck game with a tie bet means that there’ll be 4,998,398,275,503,360 combinations with a probability of 1 and a return of -0.143596.

8-Decks – Pair Bets

  • A Pair pays11 with 6448 combos with a probability of 0.074699 and a 0.821687 return.
  • No pairs pay -1 with 79872 combinations with a probability of 0.925301 and a -0.925301 return.
  • The total of an 8-deck game with pair bets means that there’ll be 86320 combos with a probability of 1 and a return of -0.103614.

As you can see from the information provided above, there are a few slight changes to the type of bet being made, and there are a few drastic ones. This is fundamental to your success when playing, along with the rules and a few strategies.

Rules & How to Play

Rules are a vital component of any casino game, and while baccarat isn't one that you can “wing”, we assure you that you won't be confused all the time. Unlike games such as poker, baccarat's rules are pretty straightforward which makes it a great game for a new player looking to play a casino card game instead of slots.

Three Types of Bets

There are three bets that you’ll be able to place, one on the Player’s hand, the Banker’s hand, or if you’re unsure of who to bet on, you could bet that it’ll be a tie. By placing a bet on the correct hand, you’ll win, and the correct hand is the one that has the highest total value. The beginning of a round sees the Player and Dealer dealt with two cards, the value of these cards will determine which hand wins, and there are plenty of occasions where they’re equal in value. However, there will be a time when a third card is dealt.

The Third Card

The third card is only dealt when the Player’s hand is equivalent or less than the value of 5 or if the Banker’s hand totals the value of 3 on the condition that the Player’s third card isn’t an 8, or if the Banker’s total is 4 on the condition that the Player’s third card is neither a 1, 8, or 9, or if the Banker’s total is 5 on the condition that the Player’s third card is a 4, 5, 6 or 7, or if the Banker’s total is 6 on the condition that the Player’s third card is a 6 or 7. The third card rule is very strict and must be adhered to at all times.

Knowing the Cards

The face cards, K, Q, J and 10 counts as zero with aces being worth one, every other card is worth its face value. When tallying up your total, you’ll only need to pay attention to the last number of the total, i.e. 15 counts as 5 and 18 counts as 8. To win the round, you’ll need to get as close to the number 9 as possible by also beating the opposing hand.

Betting on Player or Banker

When placing a bet on either the Banker or the Player, you’ll need to know the pros and cons that come with both bets. By betting on the Banker, you’ll have the statistical advantage of knowing that there’s a slight chance of the Banker’s hand beating the Player’s, this mainly due to the rules of the third card.

By betting on the Player you’re subject to receive more in terms of winnings if the hand wins. Even though there’s a 5% commission on winning, which goes to the casino, it’s still a win. So, while you’re more likely to win while betting on the Banker, you’ll get more back by betting on the Player.

Betting on a Tie

There are also pros and cons to betting on a Tie, with the biggest pro being that the payout is quite large. Most variants do pay back 8 to 1 when you bet a Tie, this means that if you placed a bet of CA$20 you’ll get your CA$20 back with an additional CA$160. However, the main con of betting on a Tie is that the odds are significantly less of betting on a Player’s or Banker’s hand.

Variations of Baccarat

As with most casino games, there are a few variations of baccarat that come with a handful of sub-genres. Below you’ll find all of them and you’ll be able to make an informed decision on which variant seems to be the best for you.

Punto Banco

The most popular version of Baccarat in Canada and the surrounding Americas, Punto Banco has been played for many years. Punto Banco is somewhat similar to Blackjack as the players bet against the dealer. The main objective is to beat the dealer and to get as close to the total value of 9 as possible, without exceeding it. Punto Banco follows the traditional card values with 10, K, Q, and J, being worth 0, aces being worth 1, and the rest of the cards being worth their face values.

There are rules for the Player’s hand and the Dealer’s hand, with the former, values from 0 to 5 will result in a third card being drawn. If the total of the Player’s hand is 6 or 7, no third card will be drawn, and if the hand is either a small natural, an 8, or a big natural, a 9, then the Player’s hand wins. If the Banker’s hand totals to a value of 0 to 3 then a third card will be drawn, if the hand has a total of 4 and the Player’s hand has a total of 2 to 7, then a third card will be drawn. The rest of the third card rules are in effect as mentioned in the rules above.

Chemin de Fer

One of the oldest variations of baccarat still played today; Chemin de Fer is a variation that’s played with players betting against one another without a banker. Due to there being no banker, players will take turns playing the role and it’s traditionally started by the player on the right of the dealer. This baccarat version has the player who had placed the largest bet represent the other players at the table, which there can be up to 12 of, and if the largest bets are equal, the player in the first order will represent the others.
The drawing of cards is identical to that of Punto Banco, and the rest of the rules are in effect.

Baccarat en Banque

This variation is quite similar to Chemin de Fer, with a few small differences. The players don’t play against one another and the player who’s the banker for the current round doesn’t cover the bets of the other players. The drawing rules are the same as what they are for Chemin de Fer; however, as the Banker, it’s advised that you focus on the player that had placed the largest wager.

Other Variations

Mini Baccarat

In this high-speed variation, the dealer is always the banker and is accompanied by ‘callers’ at the table. This is usually played online.

Super Pan 9

This variation features 26 cards and is similar to Mini-Baccarat; however, cards 7, 8, 9, and 10 aren’t featured in this casino game and all face cards are valued at 0.

Three Card Baccarat

This variation features the same rules found in Punto Banco, but it’s played with three cards.

The Most Effective Baccarat Strategies

As previously mentioned, baccarat has players rely on luck, there’s no way to determine the cards you’re getting but there are a few things you can do to slightly improve your chances of winning. If you’re the type of player that analyzes a casino game and expects the same pattern to appear in the next one, then you’re going to have to break that habit. Baccarat should never be played this way and it could lead to plenty of rounds being lost.

Betting on the Banker is usually a good idea as the stats show that the Banker is more likely to win than the player. Avoid making bets on the Tie, as there’s only a 9% chance of that bet winning; however, if you’re feeling lucky, by all means, make that bet.

Our Final Thoughts on Playing Baccarat

Baccarat is an excellent online casino game for new players who are looking to dabble in card games as it’s significantly less complicated than poker and blackjack. The game requires no skill, and once you’ve wrapped your head around the rules, there’s no reason why you couldn’t win. The fact that there’s no concrete strategy for this game makes it an even playing field for most bettors.

Audrey Molly Photo Audrey Molly

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