The Ultimate Baccarat Guide

Known as the card game of the wealthy, baccarat is one of the oldest card games at the casino. Also called punto banco, royalty has favored the game throughout history.

The game has since evolved into a popular high-tech version being played in online casinos, thanks to the evolution of technology.

In this guide, you will learn everything there is to know about this card game, starting with its history and variations across the globe.

You'll not only learn how to play it but also get expert advice on various baccarat-strategies to help you bet the odds and emerge a winner.

Shall we get started?

Background History of Baccarat

Punto Banco is believed to have originated from either Italy or France in the middle ages. The term bac-ca-rat is a corruption of the Italian word for zero. In its early years, the game was played using tarot cards, not the modern-day card we use nowadays.

As the game became increasingly popular in Europe, there was a spirited opposition from the Catholic Church. Namely, the church considered it as the devil's game and anyone who played it was advancing the devil's agenda.

Felix Galguiere is the person who first used tarot cards in the game. The Etruscan nine gods are alleged to be the basis for Felix's version of the game. In the early version of this game, dice were rolled to determine a woman's fate as the nine gods wanted the sacrifice of a blond virgin.

The woman would become a priest following a roll of either eight or nine. Conversely, a roll of six or seven would see her barred from religious activities. Likewise, a roll of less than six would see her walk into the sea and vanish.

This ancient-baccarat variant became the favorite game for the upper classes and aristocracy. It, in the end, evolved into 'Chemin der Fer'. This is believed to have happened at around 1500, and just like any other form of gambling the game was illegal at first.

It was later legalized, and the government imposed taxes on it. This gave the game's popularity a boost. This is attributed to the fact that people viewed playing the game as doing well for the poor, thanks to the taxes involved.

Baccarat in the Early 1900s

However, the game's popularity started to diminish during Napoleon's rule when it was again banned. It remained outlawed until the early 1900s. At about this time, most of the grand casinos were established along the French Riviera.

This is the version that finally found its way to the United States. However, it was a different version of the game that originated from England. It is worth noting that Punto Banco was allowed in England during the time that it was outlawed in other parts of the continent.

Baccarat

The English version of the game got to Argentina in early 1950. It was known as 'Punto y Banca' in the country. When the game finally landed in Havana, its goal had slightly changed as the player was now playing against the house. It is the American version of the game that was played in the Havana casinos.

The Capri casino version is the variant of the game that found its way to Las Vegas in the mid-20th century via Francis Renzoni. This followed the opening of a baccarat-pit in a Las Vegas casino. The game started its life afresh in America as an unpopular addition to the selection of casino games.

Las Vegas revised the game and made the banker the house position. In this way, one could bet for or against the house with the banker position. This revised Las Vegas version is now the most popular variant across the United States, Australia, and England.

Before this game found its way to Las Vegas, it was already a household name in Florida and New York. In fact, it was played at the Palm Beach resort and the Saratoga race track forty years before it reached Las Vegas.

Since its inception in Europe in the middle ages, this card game has progressively traversed every continent, finally becoming one of the most revered and popular casino games across the globe.

And, just as many other forms of gambling, the game has made its way onto the online platform, with most online casinos offering the game with some variations in house rules. So it is advisable to always check the house rules before playing.

Now that you have an idea how this popular game came to be, it's time to learn how to play it.

Learn How To Play Baccarat in 7 Simple Steps

This exclusive game may seem for the rich and famous only, but is an extremely simple game to learn.

If you have always gone to the casino, stood on the side lines, and only wished that you could learn how to play this game, here is an opportunity for you.

This game has three possible results:

  1. banker wins
  2. the player wins
  3. and tie

It's worth noting that "banker" does not represent the house. 

As a player, you may wager on either the bankers or the player hand.

Now let's break it down into easy-to-understand steps:

1. You are Allowed to be on Either of Two Hands

The two hands are the banker's, and the player's and bets should be placed on the banker or player before cards are dealt.

2. Understand How Cards are Dealt

Both the player and the banker, are dealt two cards each. The person holding the shoe, whether it's you or the casino operator, should slide one card out and place it face up in the player's box on the table.

The second card, the first of the banker's hand, should be placed in the Banker's box on the felt table.

Afterward, the house deals a second player card, followed by another banker card. This means that the dealer's first round will have two cards each for the player and the banker.

3. Declare the Point Total of the Two Sets of Cards

Every card is worth its face value except the tens and faces cards, which are worth zero points. The ace is worth one point.

If the total points exceed 10, you should take the second digit to be the value of the hand. What does this mean?

For a 9 and a 6, the total is 15. This makes up a five-point hand.

Your bet should be on the hand that totals close to nine to win.

4. The "Natural" Win

A natural win occurs when the point total is 8 or 9 for either the banker or the player in the two cards dealt in the first round.

The game ends there, followed by cashing out of the bets that have already been placed.

5. Decide Whether the Player Gets a Third Card Based on the Point Totals

The player should go first and gets no more cards for a total of 8 or 9, and the player stands on a total of 6 or 7.

For any totals below 6, the player is allowed to draw a third card, unless the banker has an 8 or 9. In that case, the banker wins with no more draws.

6. Circumstances the Banker Gets the Third Card

If the player stands or draws no additional cards, the banker gets a new card with a hand total of up to 5 and stands pat with a hand total of 6 or 7.

The rest of the hands will depend on the third card the Player draws. You know what that means?

The table below illustrates the third concept:

The outcome for player's third draw:

The banker draws when he has:

The bank stands pat when he has:

9, 10, or Ace

0 to 3

4 to 7

8

0 to 2

3 to 7

6 or 7

0 to 6

7

4 or 5

0 to 5

6 to 7

2 or 3

0 to 4

5 to 7

7. Calculate the Winning Hand after All Cards are Dealt

The winning hand is the one that totals close to 9. What if there is a tie?

Neither hand will win or lose. At times, you may pay a commission on winnings if you are betting on the banker's hand.

If you want a video walkthrough of how to play Baccarat you can have a look at the video below:

Baccarat Strategy

Like in other gambling games, there are some strategies you may want to apply for Punto-banco game.

Because the banker acts last, it always has a slight advantage over the player's bet. Namely, the banker's bet boasts the lowest house of any bet in the casino.

It is mainly for this reason that most high-rollers love this game, whether they bet the player or the banker.

The tie bet may be exciting, but the house edge will finish you off quickly if you decide to bet it often. 

At times, a casino will give you 9 to 1 on the tie bet. This reduces it from a whopping 14.36 percent to a measly 4.84 percent.

A casino normally will offer you "outcome" pads to help you keep track of trends and streaks.

Since the banker and player's hands have just about the same odds of winning, the game usually has longer streaks compared to other games such as blackjack.

baccarat hand

5 of the Best How to Win on Baccarat Tips

While there are numerous strategies out there, there is nothing that is more effective than luck when you are playing this game. 

The game may be very simple, but it is imperative that you master its rules if you want to be successful at it at all times.

In fact, all strategies, systems, and statistics are useless if you are not well acquainted with the rules of the game.

Nonetheless, there are several factors, such as the house edge and the number of decks being used, which can help you regularly win this game.

In that light, here are some winning tips that you can adopt:

1. Never Bet on Tie's

Whether it comes with an enticing 8-1 or 9-1 payout you should only bet on the tie as the last option.

You should never forget that this game purely relies on chance. So, there is nothing that can accurately predict the outcome of the coup.

Nevertheless, if general statistics is something to go by, 'tie' bets end up on the losing side virtually all times.

This is attributed to the fact that the chances of both the player and the banker getting the same points are very slim.

2. Bet on The Banker

Many players shy away from betting on the banker simply because they don't want to pay the 5% commission.

However, they are oblivious to the fact that casinos have a reason to make banker bets so uninviting.

With a 1-1 payout for the regular bets being already too unappealing, an additional 5 percent commission for the banker is just outrageous.

However, any baccarat-aficionado will tell you that banker bets have the lowest house edge and the highest chances of winning.

3. Avoid Writing Down Every Result

This habit is largely common in the physical casinos, as opposed to online casinos. Nevertheless, it is not a good idea to write down every single result on paper.

Many players try to come up with some magic formula by taking notes of the game statistics.

Unfortunately, they end up realizing that note taking while playing only serves to compound the frustration of losing. This is a game of chance, remember?

The game doesn't rely on any math-related algorithms. So, taking down all those notes is an effort in futility, unless you are certain that the player takes every fifth hand.

4. Check How Many Decks of Cards are Being Used

It is worth noting that the house edge has a direct connection with the number of card deck's in the shoe.

This is possible to directly find out while playing the game online as well as in a land casino.

It is quite uncommon to find any of these games being played with just a single deck of cards nowadays.

However, the rule of the thumb is the lesser the number of card decks, the higher your chances of winning.

This means that game with a 6-deck game will always be better than an 8-deck game.

5. Money Management is an Integral Virtue

This kind of betting is akin to flipping a coin, which makes this a tight game. In fact, even with coin flips you can experience incredible streaks for good or bad.

Good is impressive but bad is not.

If you are betting 5 units for every decision, for instance, give yourself 100 units as your session bankroll. You must take a break if you lose that.

Taking a break, in this case, doesn't mean stretching for a few minutes and getting back to the game.

You should give yourself a considerable amount of time before starting to play again. Get out, take a walk, or take a nap. Do whatever that can distract you from the game for some time.

If you have had a great win, but you don't want to stop right then, consider splitting the win in half and only use one-half to continue your game. Should you lose, take the rest of your win and get out.

Final Thoughts on Baccarat

Baccarat is a popular game that is played in both online and land-based casinos across the globe. It is basically a community-oriented game, with the objective of all parties to bet on the outcome of one hand. With the help of this guide, you will be able to learn all there is to know about this game. You will also get expert tips on how to become a winning player.

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