Play Free Live Dealer Baccarat!
Baccarat is one of the most exciting casino-style card games played today, and now you can enjoy it from home with real Las Vegas dealers!
Your cards are dealt by real dealers live from Las Vegas to make sure you get a fair and engaging experience, just like you would at a live casino. While it has been hugely popular throughout the world for many years, some people have the impression that Baccarat is complex and difficult to play.
The truth is that Baccarat is a simple game that one can learn in a short period of time, and if you do have questions, feel free to ask your dealer and fellow players.
What is Baccarat?
Baccarat is a comparing card game, being similar in that regard to games like blackjack. While there are three main varieties of the game, all styles of baccarat involve the comparison of hands between the “player” and the “banker” to determine a winner. In casino play, a simple choice is made to wager on the player or banker.
The three main styles of baccarat played today are Punto Banco, also known as North American Baccarat, Chemin de Fer, and Baccarat Banque. The former is used in casinos as it is purely a game of chance. The other two are more amenable to skill and can be played among individuals. In each case, the banker has a minimal advantage thanks to the inclusion of the tie wager.
Baccarat is believed by some to have its origins in France where records of its being played date to the 19th century. There is some evidence, however, which dates the game to the 1400s in Italy. While the precise origins of baccarat may be lost, all agree that the game has been around for centuries.
One reasonable theory suggests that the game evolved from other games like the Chinese Pai Gow which was played with tiles.
There is even speculation that the game may have been inspired by an ancient Roman ritual in which a vestal virgin tossed a nine-sided die in order to determine the path her life would take. An eight or nine would elevate her to the status of High Priestess while a six or seven would revoke her position in Rome. This is similar to the way card values determine the winner in a game of baccarat today.
Italy is a logical place to envision the origin of baccarat because of its fondness for card games. These included Tarrochi, a 13th century game that is considered to be the forefather of all modern card games. This game led to the production of Tarot cards. Felix Falguiere, an Italian, is believed by some to have invented the modern game of baccarat by using Tarot cards.
What are the General Rules of Baccarat?
All three varieties of baccarat as it is played today have the same basic rules. There are three possible outcomes to each hand: the player has the high hand, the banker has the high hand, or both player and banker tie.
Players begin by making a wager on which outcome they believe will occur and can choose any of the three regardless of their position as player or banker. It is customary, however, for the player dealing the cards to bet on the banker. The tie bet is rarely used. In this regard, baccarat is very similar to choosing either red, black, or green when playing roulette.
Two starting hands of two cards are dealt, one for the player and one for the banker. Point totals are assigned to the cards. The face cards in the deck have no value and aces are given a total of one. Only single digits are valid. If a hand achieves a double digit total, the first digit is dropped. For example, a total of fifteen would be regarded as a total of five. The highest total value wins the hand. The same total results in a tie.
A hand that totals eight or nine is referred to as a “natural” and receives no additional cards. A hand which totals less than eight or nine is given one additional card according to the specific rules belonging to the variety of baccarat being played.
Basic Strategy for Baccarat
It should be noted that the banker in baccarat has a slight edge. The banker will either win or tie approximately fifty-five percent of the time. Therefore, it is safer to always bet on the banker. In casino play, however, a commission is deducted from a winning wager on all banker hands. This can cut into a player’s winnings over a lengthy session and helps to preserve the house edge.
A good rule of thumb is to avoid the tie wager when playing the game. Less than ten percent of baccarat hands end in a tie, so this wager is not a profitable strategy. Many players choose to try and capitalize on win streaks and use a progressive wagering strategy. This means that they increase the size of their wager with each winning hand until the streak comes to an end.
A good basic strategy is to choose either the player or banker, preferably the banker, and remain with this wager while looking to capitalize on a streak of wins.
What is “Punto Banco” Baccarat?
“Punto Banco” is often referred to as North American Baccarat and is the variety of the game found in most live and online casinos. In this variety of the game, the terms “player” and “banker” are simply designations for wagering purposes. None of the players at a Punto Banco table receive their own cards and are simply making a choice on which hand they think will win.
Punto Banco can be played by ten players or more. Live casinos will typically use a shoe which contains six or eight decks of cards and deal from the shoe. Online casinos and gaming sites may shuffle a single 52-card deck after each round of play.
This variety of baccarat offers fewer choices for those playing and is considered a game of chance rather than a game of skill. The rules of Punto Banco regarding the drawing of a third card for the player and banker can vary among those casinos which offer the game.