Online Baccarat

Online Baccarat

As with most games of chance, the origins of baccarat are cloudy and not well documented. Originally called baccara, it is first mentioned in historical documents in the mid-1800s but likely was played long before that. It is known to have passed through Italy to France at some point and from there made its way into the pages of the 1911 version of Hoyle's Official Rules of Card Games as "baccarat" The game enjoyed a surge in popularity in the late 1960s when it was depicted on the silver screen as James Bond's preferred table game. It is now played in casinos all over the world and is particularly popular in Macau where it often takes up the majority of the space on gaming floors. With the advent of the internet online baccarat is now possible at online casinos.

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How to Play Online Baccarat

Baccarat is always played at a casino table with as many as 14 players at a time. Online baccarat may be played with only one player and a computer simulation of the dealer and other players.

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Up to eight decks of cards are used with each card assigned a point value according to its face number. The only exceptions are the Ace, which has a value of 1, and the 10 and face cards which have no value.

Games of online baccarat are fully backed by the casino and at least one casino dealer will participate as the banker. Each game begins with a player dealing from a shoe. The deal rotates around the table and players who do not wish to deal may pass the shoe to the next player. The deal stays with the current player until the banker loses a hand. All players (including the one currently dealing) choose whether to wager on the dealer, the banker or on a push.

The player dealing draws two cards from the shoe face down. This is the banker's hand. They then deal two further cards face down to the player who has placed the largest wager on the dealer. This player may look at the cards but not reveal their value to anyone. They then return these two cards to the dealer face down. The dealer then turns over all cards and the results are announced. Wagers are then paid and collected. The wagers are handled by the casino; the player serving as dealer for the hand is not responsible for them, they simply deal the cards. In online baccarat much of this process may be automated.

Basic Rules of Baccarat Online

The highest hand in baccarat is a 9. This is because only the rightmost digit of the combined points total is used if the combined value of the two cards exceeds 10. This rule holds fast in both online baccarat and real casinos.

Under certain circumstances a third card may be dealt after the cards have been revealed. If the player's hand value is less than 5 they will be dealt one additional card. The banker will hit on 5 or less if the player has stood with two cards. If the player has hit the banker may still be able to hit depending on the value of their hand and the player's third card value.

The version described above is called "Punto Banco" and is the most common variant played at all casinos outside of France. This is also the version you will most certainly see when playing online baccarat.

Tips and Notes

Since punto banco is purely a game of chance, there is no real strategy. Regardless of how many decks are used, however, the player usually faces the lowest house advantage by betting on the banker. Odds vary by the number of decks used (less decks means better odds for the player) but in general the house edge is a bit over 1% when betting on the banker, closer to 1.5% when betting on the player and between 14 to 15% when betting on a tie or push. So it is best for the player to simply bet on the banker in online baccarat.

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