Baccarat Guide & Sites for US Players February 25, 2024
A simple card game, baccarat, attracts all kind of players from all around the world, but it is particularly popular in Asia and among high rollers. Furthermore, due to high-stakes that usually come with baccarat, this game is given a special attention in land-based casinos and it would not be a precedent if you find a special room within a casino intended for baccarat only.
Sometimes, hundreds of thousands of dollars, pounds or euros are wagered on a single hand, therefore it is not a surprise that casinos provide a special treatment for players that engage in baccara. Some casinos also offer mini baccarat game with lower limits, but do not separate it from other games.
Baccarat is one of the most popular games in online casinos as well and it is hard to find a reputable site without at least a few baccarat games in their offer.
Unlike the land-based casinos, their internet versions provide baccara with various bet limits, giving you a chance to experience this upper-class game via your computer and mobile phone, regardless of the size of your chips. If you are into card games in general, baccarat could easily become your favourite. Sprayfireisland.com is a place where you can learn more about the rules, strategy and tips but also find the best baccarat casinos on the web.
General Baccarat Rules
Nobody can say for sure when baccarat was invented and, because the name “baccara” is used in both Italian and French, even the exact location remains obscure. However, this game has crossed all the borders and found its players everywhere, although it is exceptionally well accepted among Asian players. Basically, this is a very easy game to play, with rules anyone can catch on in a couple of minutes. The thing that has made this game famous, though, are unbelievable turnovers, making players win and lose big money in a bat of an eye.
For example, a hand consisting of 3 and 4 is worth 7, but a hand consisting of 7 and 8 is worth 5 (the rightmost digit of the number 15 is 5). The object of the game is to predict the hand that will be closest to 9, which is the highest possible hand value. Payouts are 1:1 on both Player and Banker wins and 8:1 on tie. The banker bets are paid less a 5% commission, charged on winning bets only. In an event of a tie, all Players and Bankers bet will be either returned or remain active for the next game, depending on the game.
Third Card Rules
The maximum number of cards in each hand is three and there are fixed Third Card Rules (sometimes called “tableau” by the French word meaning “board”) to determine whether an additional draw will be made. If either Player or Banker has the value of 8 or 9, both hands stand. This is called “natural” and it overrides all other rules. If neither Player nor Banker has 8 or 9, the game moves on, according to the following rules:
- Player rules: If Player has initial total of 0-5, a third card is dealt. If Player has 6 or 7 the hand stands.
- Banker rules: If Player stands (i.e. has only two cards), Banker draws a third card in case the hand has 0-5 or stands if the hand has 6 or 7. If Player drew a third card, then more complex rules are included and “tableau” needs to be consulted. Whether Banker gets a third card is determined according to the value of the Player’s third card and the value of the Banker’s hand.
Players are sometimes allowed to place side bets on bakkarat such as:
- Perfect Pairs: Players are betting that there will be pairs (two identical cards) dealt to Player, Banker or both
- The Dragon Bonus: This side bet pays when either Banker’s or Player’s hand is a natural winner, or when it wins by a large margin.
- The Dragon 7: The bet pays 40 :1 if Banker’s three-cards total of 7 beats Players.
- The Panda 8: Similar to the previous one, except here you can bet that the Player’s three-cards total of 8 will beat Player. This side bet pays 25:1.
Popular Baccarat Variants
- Punto banco is the most prominent version of baccara to the extent that it is considered a synonym for baccarat. Therefore, when playing baccarat in an online casino, in most cases you will be playing punto banco. The name is of Spanish origin and it literarily translates to “punter banker”. The house edge for this game depends on the bet, therefore the Player bet has 1.24%, the Banker bet has 1.06% and the tie bet has 14.4%. In some casinos, the tie bet pays 9:1, which results in lower house edge (around 4%).
- EZ baccarat is a variation of bakkarat that pays 1:1 on Banker bets without any commission, except if it wins with a three-card total of 7. This game is known for two additional side bets: The Dragon 7 and The Panda 8.
- Chemin de fer is considered to be the original version of baccarat, although it is now popular only in France. It is played with 6 standard card decks and, unlike punto banco when a casino is banking the game, in chemin de fer a single player does it. However, the participants will take turns in role of a banker. The player holding the bank announces the amount he is willing to risk. Other participants are the Players and the one that announces “banco!” will be playing against the current bank with a matching bet.
- Mini baccarat is essentially a punto banco version that includes smaller tables and lower bet limits.
Types of Baccarat Games in Online Casinos
- Online Baccarat: Even if an online casino did not pun an effort to provide live dealer games, you can always expect to find baccara in its offer. Virtual baccarat games show up as either Baccarat or Punto Banco, offering variety of bet limits. Working with random number generators, these games give you the same odds and payouts as those available in land-based casinos. Moreover, some of them pay 9:1 for tie bets or do not charge any commissions for Banker bets, which leaves more money in hands of the players.
- Live Dealer Baccarat: Along with roulette and blackjack, baccarat makes a standard offer of live dealer games. Although a high-roller game, it was one of first live games that showed up. Renowned providers like Microgaming, Evolution Gaming, Playtech, Extreme Live Gaming, ViG and others made sure to put baccarat in their live dealer package. A real casino experience is backed by flawless video streaming, experienced dealers and tempting side bets.