If you enjoy playing poker you might want to extend your knowledge to find out how to play baccarat which, although not too difficult, has some intriguing idiosyncrasies that make it very interesting for those who already have a working knowledge of poker. Baccarat is an old game of Italian origin and has featured in a number of James Bond films and is even said to be Bond’s favourite casino game!

Essentially, baccarat is a game of comparing cards between two hands, which players of Texas Hold ‘Em will be familiar with. The two cards – the banker hand and the player hand are played with each round having three possible win outcomes: player, banker or a tie. There are a large number of baccarat games online to choose from and with a little practise you may soon find this is one of your favourite pastimes!

Rules Of Baccarat

In baccarat, it doesn’t matter how many players there are, only two hands are dealt and these are known as the banker hand and the player hand. To avoid confusion in describing the game it’s better to think of those who are betting in baccarat as ‘bettors,’ and a bettor can bet on any hand unless they are holding the shoe (dealing box) in a full-blown game.

Full-scale Baccarat: in the full game the bettor, or customer, who is holding the shoe passes one card to the stand-up dealer who then passes it to the customer who has the largest bet. The next card, which is the banker hand is taken and placed next to the shoe. After that the bettor deals another player and another banker card, and then calls for the customer with the largest player bet who passes the cards to the dealer after first looking at them.

Next, the dealer turns the cards facing upwards and reveals the points total. After that, the dealer calls for the banker hand and the bettor holding the shoe looks at the cards and passes them to the dealer. If the player total is a draw the dealer announces a “card for the player” and the shoe holder then passes a card to the dealer who passes it to the bettor – they look at it and passes back to the dealer. The card is then placed face upwards. The final stage is that if the banker requires a card the dealer will announce: “card for the bank” and then the process will be repeated with the shoe holder.

If all this seems long-winded, there is a shorter mini-baccarat game which can be less time-consuming, although many people really like the ceremonial full-scale version and casinos offer a number of online baccarat games to suit all kinds of players!

Baccarat Strategy

In essence, this is a game of pure guesswork, with the odds slightly favouring the banker hand, and although some experienced card players have bandied the idea around that there could be a card-counting system, if there is such a system it would only yield a very slight advantage to the bettor.

The best baccarat game strategy to deploy is to consider it as a game of luck and ensure you keep a check on money management. In other words, don’t make bets too large for your bankroll and make sure you don’t increase bets if you are losing. This may seem obvious but once in the game, it can be easy to get carried along. As with all casino games, know your limitations and when to quit with the winnings you have accrued.

Online Baccarat

If you want to try baccarat then you can think like the pros and look for sites that match certain criteria and stick with these. Some things to look out for:

  • High percentage rate: this represents the amount the casino will pay out in winnings and choosing a casino with a higher rate will mean better winning odds.
  • Bonuses: look for sites that offer the best sign-up bonus which can help get your bankroll moving and increase your chances of winning.
  • Online baccarat reference chart: lots of baccarat games online offer handy tools and baccarat tips such as reference charts and guides to get you started, so have a trawl of the sites to find the best guides.