Baccarat
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Baccarat

You might know Baccarat from Bond films and trips to Europe, but the game isn't the preserve of millionaires anymore.

In 2016, you can enjoy Baccarat and its various incarnations at many online gambling sites. Plus, you'll be able to try out games at stakes much lower than that Monte Carlo casino you've been dreaming about.

Whether it's Baccarat, Mini-Baccarat or Punto Banco, with a few quid you can gamble at some of the best casinos on the web. Let's take a look at the choice of Bond.

Find the best free Baccarat games online:

  • Try out games for free at reputable sites
  • Play against a human croupier in Live Baccarat games
  • Use you baccarat play to earn a welcome bonus

Brief History of Baccarat

Long before baccarat was a staple of the big online casinos, the popular card game was played in gambling joints across Europe.

Baccarat is derived from the Italian for "zero", and is believed to have origins in 15th or 16th-century France.

The game became popular in the casinos of Monte Carlo, while the Americans took up Punto Banco in their droves. Today, you'll find some form of Baccarat at most larger UK casinos.

Although not as popular as roulette or blackjack, at least for the masses, the game was thrown into the spotlight in 2014 when poker legend Phil Ivey was caught cheating at the game.

Playing Punto Banco in a London casino, Ivey was suspected of "edge sorting" - spotting imperfections in the cards and using them to win millions. Crockford's Casino suspended Ivey's £7 million winnings and the High Court ultimately sided with the house to deny the gambler his loot.

More recently, Baccarat has become a popular game at online casinos. You can play for free at many casinos, a perfect way to get a handle on the subtle rules and strategy.

 
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How to Play Baccarat Online

Baccarat is a card game typically played with 5 or 6 decks in one shoe. Two players 'take part' in a hand: the Player and the Banker.

Each player is dealt two cards, with all cards carrying a certain value in the game:

Cards 2-9: 2-9
Aces: 1
Tens, Jacks, Queens, Kings: 0

Playing the Game: The aim of the game is to make a hand totalling 9 (or as close to it as possible). The worst hand, obviously, is zero.

If you make a double-digit total in points, you discard the first digit to reach your score. For example, if you make 13 you discard the 1 and settle on 3 as your score.

In some cases, a third card may be drawn to add to the Player's or Banker's total. A fourth card can't be drawn. The Banker will draw depending on what the Player has done in his hand.

Player's Total 0-5: Draw a third card
Player's Total 6 or 7: Stand
Player's and Banker's Total 8 or 9: Both Player and Banker stand, and no more cards are drawn.

Banker's Total 0, 1 or 2: Always draws a card
Banker's Total 3: Draws if the Player's third card is a 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9
Banker's Total 4: Draws if the Player's third card is a 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Banker's Total 5: Draws if the Player's third card is a 4, 5, 6, 7
Banker's Total 6: Draws if the Player's third card is 6 or 7
Banker's Total 7: Stands
Banker's Total 8 or 9: Player can't draw a third card

Placing Bets: The other players at the table can place bets on the Banker or Player. Online bets are placed on one of three outcomes: the Player wins, the Banker wins, the hand will end in a Tie.

Payouts: If the Player wins (gets 9 or closest to 9), payouts are 1/1.

If the Banker's hand wins, the bet also pays out 1/1. The house will keep a 5 percent of the winnings, however. This is the house edge of the game and reduces a Banker payout to 19.20.

A Tied hand pays 8/1, but is statistically unlikely to happen - certainly more than the 8/1 paid out.

Baccarat Side Bets

While betting on the Player or Banker is fun, the real excitement in Baccarat comes in the side action.

Wagers can be placed on various outcomes and all will be clearly displayed on the online game-screen. Popular side bets include:

Player Pair: This pays 11/1 if the Player is dealt a pair
Banker Pair: This pays 11/1 if the Bank is dealt a pair
Perfect Pair: This pays 25/1 if either the Player or Banker get dealt an identical-suited pair
Small Bet: This pays 3/2 if the Banker or Player gets a 4
Big Bet: This pays 0.54/1 if the total of the cards is a 5 or 6
Either Pair: This pays 5/1 if two of the Player's or Banker's cards make a pair

Popular Online Baccarat Variants

The beauty of online casinos is that you can test out exciting variants of the game. Most are available to test out for free before you commit any real cash.

Punto Banco

"North American Baccarat" can usually be found in London and Las Vegas casinos. It's also a popular and easy-to-play game at online casino sites.

Mini-Baccarat

Mini-Baccarat is a super-quick variant of Baccarat found at some online casinos. It has the same rules as Baccarat, but you usually won't have the side bets found in bigger versions. Mini-Baccarat features a cool side bet called the 'Dragon Bonus'. The bonus pays out 40/1 if the Banker hits 7 made of three cards.

Super 6

Also known as Punto 2000, Super 6 is popular in casinos around Asia but it's appearing online more and more.

Played like conventional baccarat, the payouts are the same except when the Banker wins. A Banker win is bigger - paying 1/1, like the Player win - but if he wins with a total of 6 your payout drops to 0.5/1. You can take Insurance against this happening.

Live Baccarat

Live Baccarat, or Live Dealer Baccarat, first appeared in the mid-2000s. Players gamble against a human croupier operating cards from a live casino setting. You can talk to the croupier and ask for advice.

Progressive Baccarat

Popular at Playtech-powered casinos, Progressive Baccarat offers, like progressive slots, the chance to win a huge jackpot for relatively small stakes. This jackpot is built up across multiple casinos that offer the game, and is formed with small percentages of each bet amount. One way of winning the jackpot is if both the Player and Dealer hit a natural A-8 hand.

Progressive Baccarat takes advantage of the side bets in the game. A ticker on the game-screen shows what the progressive is on a particular side bet. You'll have to stake the MAXIMUM on the side bet to win the jackpot.

Online Baccarat Top Tips

1 - Back the Banker

Yes, you'll have to pay the 5 percent commission, but the moves the Banker has over the Player gives its backers a very slight edge.

2 - Print a Cheat Sheet

Baccarat is a simple game, but it's also a game about knowing what the Player and Banker are doing - and when. Printing a cheat sheet will show you what moves both sides are making when they're dealt certain hands.

3 - Dodge the Tie Bet

The 8/1 odds might sound good, but a Tie bet rarely comes off. It's better to save your bankroll for smaller Banker bets and keep your stakes small.

Baccarat Terms

Banker - One of the sides in a game of Baccarat
Banker Pair - Side bet which pays if the Banker gets a pair
Bankroll - Gambler's stakes
Bets - Wagers
Chemin de Fer - Popular form of Baccarat found in European casinos
Clear Bets - Game-screen function which removes all previous bets
Croupier - Dealer
Deal - Give out cards to players
Dealer - Croupier
Dragon Bonus - Mini-Baccarat side bet
Draw - Deal a third card
Either Pair - Side bet which pays out if the Player or Banker's cards form a pair
Face cards - Kings, Queens and Jacks
Live Baccarat / Live Dealer Baccarat - Online casino game which lets gamblers play against a human croupier

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