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In a world where leisure time has moved, physically, into our homes, old becomes new as forgotten games are remembered in new formats. Baccarat is a game with an interesting, if somewhat disputed, history. Some claim it dates to sometime in the 19th century while others claim it was invented by soldiers returning from war in the 15th century. What isn’t in dispute is its origins as a French game of chance. Baccarat is an exciting casino game full of suspense and intrigue. It’s not as popular as some games despite its relatively low, player-friendly, house advantage. It does appear to be gaining popularity as the casino industry continues its move toward a wider array of online games.

While Baccarat is immensely popular in many circles around the world, many newcomers to the world of online gambling don’t understand how the game works. This guide will give you some tips to the game and help you start your journey toward mastery.

Mastering Baccarat

Like most casino table games, there are rules to learn in order to understand baccarat. So, the first step towards mastery is to understand the rules. You need to know how the gameplay works, how the cards are dealt, how the cards are scored, and how hits work.

Gameplay

The gameplay of the baccarat game requires that all betting during any round be completed before the cards are dealt. The game will then start with the dealer dealing two cards, each to two hands. One is called the “Player hand,” and the other is called the “Banker hand.”

The game’s objective is for you as a player to predict which of the two hands will acquire a total value equal to or closest to “9” when the card values are added together. You do this by placing your bet on either the player’s hand or on the banker’s hand. You can also place your bet on the outcome of the round being a tie. After the dealer finishes dealing the cards, whichever hand has a total card value equal to or closest to 9 will win the round.

Scoring a Hand

Once understanding the basics of the card’s movement, it’s important to understand the scoring system used. In Baccarat, the card values are added together to get a total score that ranges between 0 and 9. Unlike other table games, the suits of the cards are not considered. As for the values of the cards: 10’s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings are worth zero and ace cards are worth one. Numbered cards from 2 to 9 carry their face value.

Remember that the game aims to find the hand that reaches or is closest to 9. So the card values of the two cards dealt by the dealer will be added together to get the sum.  For instance, if one of the two hands has the King card (valued as 0) and the 7 card (valued as 7), the hand has a total score of 7.

If any hand has a score higher than 9, the count is adjusted by deducting 10. It is often useful to think of this rule as the process of removing the left digit while keeping the right digit. For example, total card value of a hand adds up to 14; the total used for determining who is closer to 9 would be 4. (i.e. 14-10=4).

Hitting

During a round in a Baccarat game, the dealer will deal two cards to the players’ and banker’s hand, respectively. There are certain circumstances that can initiate the drawing of a third card for one or both hands. This process, much like blackjack, is called a “hit.”

The rules that guide the drawing of a third card are complicated and can actually vary by casinos. However, if the player’s hand has a total card value of 5 or less, the player takes a hit. Similar rules usually apply to the banker’s hand, but there are often house rules determining the specifics regarding the banker’s hand. These house rules vary from casino to casino. It’s important to remember that both hands stand if either hand has totals of 8 or 9.

Payouts

If you place your bet on the player’s hand and it comes out to be the winning hand, you will receive a double or even (1:1) payout. On the other hand, if you bet on the banker’s hand and it turns out to be the winning hand, you will only get 95% of your stake. The remaining 5% is taken as commission. If you choose to place your bet on the outcome being a tie, you will get a much larger payout: a whopping 8:1! You should note that when a round turns out to be a tie, all the bets placed on the banker and player hands, respectively, will be pushed. This means that neither hand loses or wins, and the player can decide to leave the bet and move to the next round.

Useful Tips for Baccarat

As we have mentioned earlier, Baccarat is not as complex as many people believe. It is a luck-based game that is relatively simple to learn. While it is a luck-based game, there are certain tips that can help maximize your gaming experience. Here are some baccarat tips that can help you develop a playing strategy when you play:

  • Betting on a tied outcome gives the house the highest advantage, best to ignore it most of the time
  • The advantage in dealing, more often than not, is to the banker. Placing bets there is often a good strategy.
  • Like all gambling, remember to manage your bets based on your bankroll and what you are willing to risk. Practice proper bankroll management and don’t take risks outside your comfort zone.