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Baccarat – The Casino Card Game

Baccarat Card GameWhile it may at first seem tricky to understand, baccarat is in fact one of the more basic card games played at casinos. The main bet is a choice between two options: Player or Banker.

Of course, there are other bets available like the tie wager (generally paid 8-1 at land-based casinos, but quite often 9-1 and sometimes even 10-1 at online gambling sites) which is won if the total of both Player and Banker hands are equal; a pairs side-bet (if the initial two cards for either Player or Banker are of the same value, i.e. Player has two 7s of Clubs); and a Dragon Bonus bet (the points differential between the Player and Banker’s total, i.e. a hand of seven over a hand of three is a four-point difference).

Many players are often worried about their lack of knowledge of the rules to baccarat, and this is largely the reason why such players avoid the game entirely. We recommend playing online baccarat at an Internet casino like www.RoyalVegasCasino.com or www.G’dayCasino.com.

Online gaming sites such as these offer a unique chance to learn the in’s and out’s of a game without breaking the bank. It is possible to play for as little as $0.10 per hand, or you can even practice for free.

The Baccarat Deal:

Online Live Dealer BaccaratThe dealer pulls at least four cards and no more than six per hand. After the initial four cards are dealt, the “tableau” (French for board) – the fixed drawing rules of baccarat – dictates whether or not more cards are required. The tableau is essentially the rules that baccarat adheres to and dictates whether or not another card is required in relation to the cards already on the table.

Playing is as simple as deciding which side you want to bet on: Player or Banker. Player and Banker pay even money, but Banker is often paid minus a 5% commission. The reason for this 5% commission comes back to the tableau. Due to the way the tableau dictates the run of play, there is a minimal higher advantage (less than 0.2%) to the Banker.

Know that a two card total of eight or nine is very good, and more often than not a winning hand. Two or three picture cards however, is an absolute dud of a hand.

The History of This Card Game

The name baccarat translates to zero (derived from the Italian word ‘baccara’) – the worst possible hand. The value zero is giving to all 10s, Jacks, Queens and Kings. Legend goes, the game itself was invented to entertain a visiting French nobleman who couldn’t count past nine, surely pretty odd even back in the 1400s.

The resulting game has become one of the most popular casino games in the world. Baccarat is known to be especially favoured by high rollers due to the high stakes and possibility for high returns.

There are two major games of Baccarat, each with dozens of off-shoots. The most popular and widely played is Mini Baccarat. In Mini Bac, the dealer controls the tempo of the game and the cards. The tableau strictly dictates whether or not cards are drawn after the initial deal of four cards. Within Mini Baccarat, there are often tables dedicated to “squeeze” games. A squeeze game is a Mini Baccarat game where the dealer passes the cards to the highest betting player of each side (Player or Banker) to turn or “squeeze” the cards at their own discretion.

The second major version is Big Table Baccarat. This is the game James Bond made famous in Casino Royale – before the modern bastardisation substituting Big Table Baccarat for Texas Hold’em, that is.

In Big Table, similarly to Hold’em, the Banker circulates around the table. Other punters may elect to be with the Banker or Player. The highest bet for the Player receives the initial deal – two cards for Player – and may elect to hold or take another card. The Banker too can elect to stay or take another card. This is where tactics and mind games creep into Big Table. If you have a natural eight or nine you would not take another card. If you had a four or under, you would almost certainly take another card. With a five, six or seven though, you could go either way.

The Baccarat Secret

There is a secret to winning big at baccarat. Every high roller in the land knows this secret, but most are usually loath to share it: you have to bet big to win big.

It’s as simple as that.

There are some who will tell you to only ever bet Banker, but that can be a fool’s game and largely takes away from the thrill of the game. The Banker’s advantage is so slight – Banker wager holds a house edge of 1.06% and Player bet has a 1.24% casino edge – it is like being told if you are shot in the head, there is a less than one percent chance the bullet will ricochet off your cheekbone leaving you relatively unharmed.

Just because that is possible, doesn’t mean you are going to walk head first into a gun fight.

Baccarat is a game best played by instinct. So follow yours.