Famed for its appeal with high-rollers and those who take their casino gaming seriously, Baccarat is slowly but surely becoming a firm favourite the world over. And of course, the fact that it is endorsed by none other than James Bond says quite a lot about its prestige and image!
The Basics of Baccarat
While you might be able to instantly access Baccarat games these days online, it isn’t always quite as easy to do so in a real casino. In many instances, you will find that the Baccarat tables are confined to VIP areas that cannot be accessed by general casino customers. The reason being that it is not uncommon for quite gigantic sums of money to change hands with each hand played – the kind of thing most like to keep private, for obvious reasons.
The game involves one standard deck of 52 playing cards, of which each is worth a certain number of points. Cards between two and nine are worth the same as their face value, aces are worth one point and both tens and royalty cards are worth zero. Exactly how much the hand is worth in total is worked out by combining the sum of the two cards received and removing the left hand digit if there is one. So if for example your hand consisted of a three and a nine, your total school would be two – not 12.
When playing Baccarat at an online casino, bets can be placed in three different ways. You have the choice of betting on the player, betting on the banker or predicting a tie. As a tie is the least likely outcome, such bets usually attach healthy odds of around 9-to-1. Betting on the player’s hand provides odds of evens, while betting on the banker’s hand comes in slightly under evens – usually around 0.95, the list does vary from one casino to the next.
When the bets have been placed, two cards are dealt face up for each player and the banker, after which the hands are examined. If the banker or the player has a nine or an eight, this immediately ends by hand. If the player’s hand has a total score lower than six, they receive another card. The player does not have any direct control over whether or not additional cards are received.
When the player’s turn is complete, the same process is carried out by the banker. If the third card was drawn for the player, the rules for the banker become somewhat complicated with regard to determining whether or not they likewise draw a third card.
When the drawing of the cards comes to an end, the scores are determined and bets evaluated.
A Casino Classic
Baccarat has been around in one form or another for more than 600 years now, having originated in Italy and first being exported to France. The name itself derives from the Italian word for ‘zero’ in reference to the way in which cards that are usually high in value have a zero value in Baccarat.
Of course, many purists argue that Baccarat was not in fact played in Europe until much later than this. They instead believe that it was in fact a game called ‘basset’ that was played in these earlier years, decades and centuries, with Baccarat not arriving until the mid-19th century. Still, it’s been around for a heck of a long time whichever way you look at it.
Today, Baccarat is growing in presence and popularity across the UK and the USA, though has never quite managed to gain the same traction as craps, roulette and blackjack. Still, some would argue this isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it ensures that Baccarat holds onto its air of prestige and exclusivity!
One of the best things about online Baccarat is the way in which it can be a fantastic opportunity for getting to grips with the rules of the mechanics of the game. That is of course, just as long as you don’t start betting serious amounts of money until you know what you are doing! Right now, Baccarat’s popularity online is accelerating like never before and is one of the top three table games online casinos offer – right behind roulette and blackjack. There are also plenty of live dealer gaming opportunities at quality online casinos.
If you find yourself offered both standard Baccarat and ‘puntobanco’, don’t worry too much as they are in every respect almost identical.