Made famous by James Bond himself, Baccarat is a casino card classic with simple rules that you'll pick up in no time.
In Baccarat, a gambling card game, the player's goal is to get a hand with a value as close to nine as possible.
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The Origins of Baccarat
Baccarat's roots are found in France, where it is said to have been developed during the Middle Ages; however, the game's invention is attributed to Italy. Like many other popular card games, Baccarat was brought to America after the establishment of the United States. It has since gone through many changes and variations, gradually becoming the game that we know it to be today.
One of Baccarat's ancestors was "Chemin de Fer", which was very popular among the French aristocracy in pre-revolution France. The English named their version of Baccarat "Punto Banco", and this is the rendition of Baccarat which was brought to the new world. The name of the game derives from an old Italian word standing for "zero". The zero had to do with the fact that queens, kings, jacks and tens were all worth zero. Baccarat retained its popularity largely due to its success in the United States, mainly in Nevada. Like in France, it was mostly played by High Rollers and for big wagers.
Thankfully, nowadays Baccarat is a game available everywhere and to everyone, thanks to the existence of Internet gambling. Many online casinos offer variations of the game. Mini Baccarat is the most basic version of the game, and it is highly recommended for beginners because of low table limits and lesser players.
Baccarat's terms come from a fine mix of backgrounds. One can see the influence of French, Italian and American English, looking at the game's terminology.
Baccarat: As the old Italian word suggests, this is the name of the situation when the player's hand is zero.
Banker/banco: This is a bet players can make on the banker's (dealer) hands. The payout odds for this bet are 1:1 deducting the banker's commission.
Coup: The name of a Baccarat round. In French, one of its translations is "blow" or "strike".
Dealer/Banker: The player's main adversary; the person who deals the cards and on whose hand the player can make a Banker bet (see term). Also known as banco.
Mini Baccarat:The most popular form of online baccarat mainly due to the reason that it usually has lower limits because the banker draws all the cards.
Natural: The situation where a player's first two cards are valued either eight or nine, resulting in him winning the coup, unless the banker has a natural as well.
Player/punto: Similar to the Banker bet, in Player players bet on the player's hand – the payout odds are 1:1 and the house advantage is just over 1 percent.
Run: Secondary bet which can be made on sequential winning hands, be they the banker's, the player's, or a tie.
Standoff: The situation when both the player and the banker have cards of the same value.
Tie: A rarely used bet on either a standoff or tie between the dealer and player. The payout odds are great standing at 8:1, but it the house advantage is almost 15%.
Rules and Conduct of the Game
Baccarat can be played with up to 14 players attending at one table. Card-wise, all numbered cards are considered face value, Ace has a value of one and Jack, Queen, King and ten are all bearing a value of zero. A Baccarat coup (round) commences with all players wagering on a player of choice which they think will receive the highest hand. They can wager in three different ways: player, dealer or tie.
Then the banker deals the players and himself two cards; the dealing of the cards stops if any player receives two cards with a value totaling at eight or nine – this is a "natural" and that player wins. In case the total value of both cards exceeds nine, the second digit is the only one that is counted. Like in Craps and Poker, the banker's "shoe" rotates clockwise but unlike these games, the shoe ceases to move in case the banker wins the hand.
The rules in Mini Baccarat are similar, although there, things are done in a quicker manner, making slight adjustments to the odds. It is common for bankers to use a six-deck shoe in Mini Baccarat, as opposed to the traditional eight deck in standard Baccarat.
In terms of strategy, Baccarat is a very simple game, mainly because players are offered only two practical options consisting of betting on the banker's hand or the player's hand. Like in every gambling game, always be aware of your bankroll and set a maximum which you by any means will not exceed.
With the house advantage in Baccarat your chances of losing are somewhat larger than your chances of winning, but don't let that deter yourself from the game as long as you maintain a maximum bankroll, set limits and play wisely. Mathematical players looking for advanced strategies, in which they can employ their mathematical skills, can perhaps find these in older renditions of the game such as Chemin de Fer, to play like a well-fed French aristocrat; however these are more scarcely found in online casinos though some do offer them, they are common in brick & mortar casinos in Europe.
Maximize your game and Baccarat experience by following these tips:
- Just so you don't sound funny when you pronounce it: it's bah-kuh-rah!
- Beginners should stick to Mini Baccarat; the table limits are lower and usually there are less players playing, these two conditions can help new players greatly in integrating themselves in the game.
- Betting on ties is really unadvisable; don't unless you have a really good reason or just want to be plain reckless, either way works. Betting on the Banker, however, can be more beneficial.
- Don't rely on systems, because they rarely work. Baccarat is a game of chance.
- Always check different casinos for their offering of Baccarat. While the house advantage is not likely to change, things like promotions, bonuses and beginner tournaments for Baccarat could go a long way in aiding you. Also, commissions differ from casino to casino, while some will take 5%, others can go down to 3%.
- Practice, practice, practice. Need we repeat it? Most online casinos offer free play versions for most of their games, Baccarat included. While it is a game of luck, getting to know the ropes and how a coup is carried out is essential to your quick integration in Baccarat.
- Play and bet responsibly. This is a thing of utmost importance. Set and know your limits!