Casino games are not just a 21st century invention and you’ll be surprised to learn that Baccarat goes all the way back to the 1400’s – yes, that’s right, Baccarat spans the Julian years from 1401 – the 15th century. Medieval Italy is where it all began and was a game that aristocrats played, and it’s remained a popular game over the years with a slight change being implemented – but more on this later.
A Guide to Baccarat
Felix Falguierein created the game and called it Baccara, which translates to zero in Italy, because all the face cards and tens are worth zero points. Some time after the game was invented, the name was changed to the French spelling; Baccarat – pronounced as; “baa-ca-rah”. Estruscan legend has it that the game was based upon a virgin who needed to throw a 9-sided die; the result of her dice throw would determine her fate. Throwing an 8 or a 9 would result in her being elevated to a priestess and that comes with great glory. Throw a 6 or a 7 and she would be allowed to live but would be forbidden to take any religion or attend community events. Throw any number lower than a 6 and she would be banished to the deepest depths of the ocean where she would drown. Okay, so it’s not a fairy tale you could read to the kids, but I always think that it’s nice to understand the origins of the game before playing.
With France being a close neighbour of Italy, the game soon gathered pace and moved across the border to new territory, where it then become known as Chemin de Fer. King Charles VII and the noblemen at his side enjoyed the game immensely. Before long, the game travelled the waters and made it to the shores of Britain and there, Ian Fleming learned how to play Baccarat and later went on to create the globally renowned (fictional) Baccarat player – you’ll know him as Bond…James Bond.
Compared to how the game is played today, when first created, the cards were dealt by four different dealers and the players had the opportunity to be the banker. Not only that, but players could take bets on other players as well as on the house. Todays version has one dealer and bets are typically placed against the house, who also serves as the game banker.
There are three possible outcomes to Baccarat; a player win, a banker win and a tie. The banker basically does all of the hard work. Players will bet on an outcome of the players winning, the banker winning or for a tie. Cards values 2 to nine are of face value, so a 7 of spades would be worth seven points, a 6 of clubs would be worth six and so on. Face cards; jack, queen, king and ace are worth zero – including the ten.
The dealer will deal two cards to each player and themselves; face up for all to see. Whoever has a hand closest to nine wins. If you bet on the player hand and the player hand has the closest point value to 9, then the winnings are double what you bet. Bet on the banker and he wins – then your bet win is 95% of your total wager.
When cards with a greater value of 9 are shown, you add the two together and drop the one (or two) to get the value; so, a hand of nine and seven cards dealt would add up to 16. Add the first digit dropped then you get the value of 6.
Here are some more rules t help you master the game of Baccarat;
- If the player or banker is dealt a total of 8 or 9, both player and banker stand.
- If the total value of the player’s hand is five or less, then the player will receive another card. If this is not the case, the player will stand.
- If the player stands, then the banker hits on a total of 5 or less.
- With a tie, wins are paid out 8 to 1.
Looking for the bets ways to play which will maximise your chances of winning? Read on.
Baccarat has a very low house edge on two of its three available bets, bets being banker, player and tie. The house edge for the banker stands at 1.06%, the player house edge is 1.24% whilst the house edge on a tie is roughly 14.4%. You’re expected to lose 1.06 units for every 100 units wagered on banker and 1,24 units for every 100 wagered on the player. The tie is the worst bet, which if you’re keeping up, you’ll know that for every 100 units played on this bet, you’re set to lose 14.4 units – so, we don’t recommend placing bets on this one or you’ll lose out big time.
Studying the house edge means that the best available bet is that of the banker, with outcomes being slightly over 50% of the time. So as not to give the player an edge on this bet, 5% commission on every win is taken from it.
Statistically speaking, you have far better chance of a streak when backing the banker, so go with it until it loses. A streak is what it is; it’s not guaranteed, and you’ll still be faced with a house edge on every bet you make.
When you lose on the banker, the player wins. Wait for the next decision and go with it with no exception. If the tie is the decision, neither the banker nor the player losses, which is why it’s known as a tie.
Tie bets should be treated as invisible, so if the betting result is banker, banker, banker, tie – you should treat that tie as a pause – a break in the sequence and continue to bet on banker.
Mini vs Traditional
Despite being just one game, there are two versions; traditional Baccarat and mini Baccarat. Now, the traditional game is a slow-paced game that might see 40 decisions per hour, but mini-Baccarat is fast and furious, and also a high roller game where as many as 200 decisions can bee made in an hour! The player deals with the mini game and despite table bets being lower than its counterpart, you face many, many more decisions, which in turn, means more cash being spent. We recommend making use of the baker only betting system with this version; betting with the banker until he loses – then wait until the player loses and go back to the banker bet. In theory, this will reduce the number of decisions you will face, by as much as 50% – which means it will reduce the amount you’ll lose.
Before we continue, the first and most important thing is to know when to stop! The casino will always have the economic advantage because that’s why they’re there; they don’t exist to dish out money time and time again or they’d soon go bankrupt. Playing Baccarat or any casino game for that matter, for extended periods of time will most likely see you loosing much more than you’re winning. Utilise casino responsible gambling practices and ensure you never spend more than you can afford.
There’re many strategies to follow, none are fool proof, but understanding the basics can increase your chances of winning. Whether you wish to use them or not is entirely up to you, but in the end, you will face two outcomes; win or lose. Keep track of your bets – land-based casinos offer some sort of record paper sheet for players to monitor how the game is going, whilst online casinos will display the game history on screen, showing the outcome of the most recent game rounds. The odds for the player and banker are almost 50/50, so it’s important to keep track of the game history to pick up on gaming trends. Start safe by placing low value bets and when you lose a few rounds, place a higher bet next round to increase your chances of winning back any previous losses.
It’s an unspoken rule that you should follow where the bets appear most, so if the player is winning, then go with the player. Principle suggests that you shouldn’t change your bet because you won a few times in a row – on this outcome, only switch to banker when you notice the game starting to turn.
Don’t stick to the same bet value! The 1-3-2-4 strategy is a great way of winning back your losses from previous rounds. This betting strategy would see you placing 1 unit on the first round, 3 on the second round, 2 on the third round and 4 on the fourth. Keep following this strategy for as long as you’re winning – when you lose, start back all over again! If you manage to get to the fourth round of 4 units, you go back to the start as if you would have lost. This will minimise your losses whilst potentially offering the chance to increase your winnings.
Now, unless you have a crystal ball or can look into the future, you will know that there are no definite outcomes with any game, least of Baccarat. Trusting your instinct will allow you to make better choices.
Depending on the casino you’re playing at, there may be additional bets that you can make with Baccarat. Lucky Pairs Baccarat offers a higher payout than usual, but that means a higher than usual house edge. To play this game you need to be prepared to play with an aggressive betting strategy. As the name suggests, lucky pairs are bets on whether the first two cards of the banker or player are pairs. When the first two cards are dealt, the gameplay pauses for a while so the dealer can remove the losing bets from the table and pay out any winnings. Then, if the players request third cards, these are dealt to them and the main bets are settled. Pay for a pair for banker and the player both stand at 11 to 1. Typically, online casinos will offer a smaller pay out on this type of bet – Microgaming have their own version called ‘Either Pair’ and it has a payout of just 5 to 1.
Dragon Bonus has a potential payout of 30 to 1 and you only win when you have a large margin or a natural win. This game is a little different again as it welcomes bets on the banker and the player, plus bets on whether the winner will go ahead of the losing side by a considerable number of points. The larger the margin – the bigger the winnings on offer. This is a side bet that is placed on either he banker or player side and your Dragon bonus wager only wins if you manage to have a natural win or your hand wins by at least 4 points.
Dragon 7 and Panda 8 are both side bets that are available to EZ Baccarat (another version of the game). In all honesty, there is not much difference between the standard Baccarat game and the EZ Baccarat, but with EZ Baccarat, one is not supposed to pay the 5% commission on winning Banker bets.