Baccarat, also known as Baccarat or Punto y Banca, is a card game of French origin – though some say Italian – played in many casinos around the world, as well as online. The game has been around since the 15th century, but it was in the last century that baccarat became the most popular game.
Punto y Banca, or baccarat in Spanish, is a card game with a large randomness component, and does not require much strategy or in-depth knowledge of the game to play and win. However, you should always be clear about the different possible bets and whether they are better or worse.
There was a time when baccarat was not a very popular game, probably because it could only be found in big casinos and only big players bet on it. But with the advent of online casinos in the late 90s, baccarat is increasingly available online, so more and more casino fans are favouring this exciting game.
As we said before, this is a card game in which, before you start playing, you have to decide how much you want to bet and place your chips/credits on the bets. In baccarat you have three options: bet on the player, the dealer or a draw – meaning you can bet on whether you win, the dealer wins or neither side wins – egalité, as they say in the original version of the game.
Once you’ve placed your bet, the dealer deals the first cards: two for you, two for him. The one whose sum of those two cards is closest to 9…. wins. But the aim of the game isn’t to have the best hand, it’s to guess which of the parties involved will play the closest to 9 – that’s what you’re betting on.
Based on these values: the dealer wins if his hand is closest to 9, the player wins if his hand is closest to 9, or the game ends in a draw if the number is the same. It’s that simple! In the latter case, you will get your bet back.
You should also be aware that there can be up to 10 players in baccarat, in which case your bet will be on whichever player wins (the point) or the dealer wins (the banker) – hence the name ‘point and banker’. Another thing to keep in mind when playing is that you can play up to 8 packs of cards – although online it’s common to play between 3 and 6 packs of cards.
If a player or banker has an 8 or 9 when adding up the first two cards – a so-called natural hand – no more cards are dealt. But a third card will be dealt in the following cases:
From this point on, the game becomes a little more difficult, but there’s nothing to worry about. The best way to approach it is this: since you can’t directly influence the outcome of the game, it’s best to start by playing a demo version online to familiarise yourself with the rules and dynamics of the game – especially since with this way of playing you can’t consider the dealer to be an opponent… he acts according to the rules.
In general, it can be said that the dealer has a definite advantage over the player(s). Also, since you don’t have to rely on yourself to win, you don’t have to focus on the cards you have as a player, but instead focus on which side has a better chance of winning. In terms of odds of winning, they are more in favour of the dealer – with this distribution:
Thanks to the fact that graphics have evolved tremendously in recent years, when playing online baccarat you can clearly see the different options you have and you can easily understand the dynamics of the game. Either way, our recommendation is clear: take advantage of the free versions of the game and practice with them before you bet your own money – don’t bet until you feel comfortable with the rules.