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Complete Baccarat Guide (2020 Edition for CA players)

Baccarat is a game that appears complicated if you haven’t played, but rest assured, it’s the most straightforward game to play.

Of course, there are complicated strategies for the more seasoned casino players, but you only need to know the basics to start playing.

A game that originated in Italy, Baccarat, is one of the most popular online casino games, and it caters to all levels. It allows a player to sit back and not have to make big decisions, unlike the likes of Blackjack and Caribbean Stud Poker.

Knowing how to play Baccarat is important before sitting down at a table and playing.

How to play Baccarat

This card game is all about betting and cards – two things that gamblers love!

The first decision you need to make is to bet on the Player or the Dealer. You need to predict which of those two hands will win correctly.

A game of Baccarat starts with two cards being dealt with both the Player and the Dealer. Following the deal, you need to calculate the points to see where you stand.

The Baccarat rules differ to those of Blackjack, where picture cards are worth 10 points. In this game, picture cards are worth zero points, and the same goes for a Ten.

An ace is worth one point, and every other card is worth the value on the card. So, what is the object of the game?

The closer you get to a total of 9, the better. For example, if the Player has 9H 7S, that hand will result in a total of 6 points (9+7 = 16 – 10 = 6).

If the Dealer draws 10H 7D, that equals 7, thus giving the victory to the Dealer.

That’s the easy way to play Baccarat, but of course, not every game is decided that easily. Knowing when the Player or Banker draws a card is a must.

When Do I Draw A Card?

Drawing a card is where it gets a little more complicated, but don’t worry, it’s a relatively straightforward concept compared to other casino games.

If there is no result following the deal, which is called a Natural Win (we’ll get into that later), then you will need to draw a third card.

The Player will need to draw a third card if their total sits on a score of 0-5. If the Player reaches a total of 6 or 7, they automatically stand, and no more cards will be dealt to the Player.

However, the rules change for the Banker. Let’s not forget, you can bet on the Banker, so these rules apply to you as well.

If the Player doesn’t take a third card, the Banker also stays on 6 or 7 and draws a third card when they have a total of 0-5, but the Bankers’ rules change depending on what card the Player draws.

Below is what the Banker needs to do based on the Players’ actions. The Player always acts first, followed by the Banker.

  • The Player draws a 9, 10, face-card, or Ace as a third card, the Banker draws on a 0-3 score and stays on a 4-7 score.
  • The Player draws an 8 as a third card, the Banker draws on a 0-2 score and stays on a 3-7 score
  • The Player draws a 6 or 7 as a third card, the Banker draws on a 0-6 score and stays on a total of 7
  • The Player draws a 4 or 5 as a third card, the Banker draws on a 0-5 score and stays on a total of 6 or 7
  • The Player draws a 2 or 3 as a third card, the Banker draws on a 0-4 score and stays on a total of 5, 6, or 7.

There is no fourth card when playing Baccarat. Only three cards are distributed to either the Player or Banker.

Natural Winners

A game of Baccarat can be completed very quickly if there’s a natural winner. If the first two cards of the Dealer or Banker total 8 or 9, that hand wins.

No more cards are dealt, and the hand is over. Bets placed on the winning hand is paid out immediately, and everyone at the table reinvests on the next hand.

Do I bet on the Banker or Player?

Before you sit down at an online Baccarat table, you should know whether to place your bets on the Dealer or the Banker.

It can come down to personal preference, but we suggest betting on the Banker hand. Why? The casino has a house edge with the Banker, and if you can bet with the house edge, then do it.

Not many casinos give players a chance to take advantage of an edge. The house edge for a Banker’s bet is 1.06 percent, compared to 1.24 percent for the Player.

It might seem simple and too good to be true, but you should always bet on the Banker hand. Gamblers need every advantage they can get, so if the Banker wins, you win. If the Banker loses, you know you went down fighting with the house edge in your favour.

Of course, some players bet on the Player, and all power to them. As we said, it’s about personal preference and what you feel comfortable doing.

Tie Betting in Baccarat

Placing a bet on the Tie in Baccarat is predicting that neither the Player or the Banker will win the hand.

If the Player and Banker have the same total, it’s called a tie. You can bet on this happening, and the tie usually pays around 8/1 to 9/1, depending on the casino.

It’s similar to placing bets on the green zero in Roulette or playing Perfect Pairs on the Blackjack table. The tie is a fun side-bet, but we wouldn’t recommend it for the serious Baccarat players.

Note: If you bet on the Player or Banker and the game results in a tie, you will get a push. It means you’ll get your money back for that hand. Therefore, there is no value in betting on the tie, unless you’re feeling lucky with the cards.

Baccarat Side Bets

Some online casinos offer EZ Baccarat side bets, including the likes of Dragon 7 Side Bet and Panda 8 Side Bet.

When you play Baccarat, you’ll know that there aren’t too many variances to the game. However, playing the side bets can make the game more enjoyable.

These side bets are only available when playing EZ Baccarat, so check with your casino to see if this game is offered.

Dragon 7 is betting on the outcome of the Banker’s hand. If the Banker’s hand ends up being a three-card hand totalling 7, then the side bet pays out 40/1.

The Panda 8 is when you bet on the outcome of the Player’s hand. If it ends up being a three-card hand totalling 8, then the casino will payout around 25/1.

Once again, check with your casino on the Baccarat side bets. Not all tables have the possibility of players placing bets on the side.

Advanced Baccarat Strategy

Because Baccarat is a simple game to play, there aren’t many strategies on how to play. However, we have a couple that could boost your experience at the table.

Baccarat how to play guides gives you the basics of what happens during the game, but they don’t tell you how to manage your money.

Making decisions isn’t a big part of Baccarat; you either bet on the Player or Dealer; it’s that simple. Therefore, the choice you make is how much to bet.

Money management is key to playing Baccarat, because there aren’t as many opportunities to win during one hand, compared to Blackjack.

1-3-2-4 Strategy

One strategy we enjoy is the 1-3-2-4 system, which is similar to the Chase Theory for professional sports gamblers.

It involves strategically increasing and decreasing your bet size, depending on the result of the previous hand. The numbers represent units, so if you’re playing $10 per hand, that’s one unit.

If you win your first hand after getting great cards, you then make your second bet 3x stake. Playing $10 units would make it a bet of $30. The 1-3-2-4 represents the order of your bet size and winning three consecutive hands will result in a 4x stake.

Losing a hand at any stage of the sequence puts you back at the start with a 1x stake.

Banker Wins Strategy

We have already talked about the edge for the Banker, so why not play the Banker every hand?

A Baccarat player might like to switch between betting on the Banker or the Dealer depending on how they feel. However, playing the Banker every hand gives you a better chance of winning.

If the Banker wins, you win. There’s not much to it, and if you go to a land casino, most of the gamblers will play on the Banker.

Playing such things as the tie only detracts from your possible winnings, so we suggest playing the Banker, not the Player, and riding it home.

Baccarat Table Limits

Table limits will differ depending on which online casino you have signed up to.

The bet sizes a player can make has the most significant disparity of any casino game. That means you can place a bet of only one chip at the low-limit tables, but maximum bets can be around the 30,000-50,000 mark.

Playing at a land casino can be intimidating because many of the players are playing extremely high limits. Thankfully, due to online gambling, you can play from the comfort of your home without interacting with other players.

Some casinos will offer low-limit tables and regular-limit tables. It all depends on your bankroll and how much you want to spend on every hand.

Live Baccarat

Live dealer games have taken over, and you can now play cards with live dealers in front of you. Make sure you check with your casino to see if live dealing is an option.

We recommend giving it a try, as it adds some excitement to the casino experience.

Money Management

We have touched upon money management, but it couldn’t be more important when playing online Baccarat.

One hand goes very quickly, so you need to be cautious about how much money you are spending. You could play one or two hands in a matter of seconds, especially if they both result in natural winners.

It’s easy to get lost in the game and even more comfortable when playing online without physical cash. Setting a limit is always recommended when playing cards and don’t go chasing your money by betting the tie.

If you’re a new player, we would suggest starting off at the lower limit tables or starting out with a match bonus. Get a good feel for the table and cards before taking on the higher limits.

We also suggest playing one or two hands for both the Player and Banker. We recommend betting on the Banker every hand, but you might play one or two hands on the Player and love it.

Just make sure you play within your means and make smart decisions at the table.