This is one of the classic card games and one that has transferred seamlessly into the world of online casinos. Any fan of James Bond will already know that Baccarat was his game of choice for many years and while he wasn’t a bad poker player, 007 excelled at this alternative.
One of the reasons for the game’s popularity lies in the fact that it carries the lowest house edge of all available card games. We’ll define that point as we work through this review but, that’s just one reason why we feel you should get involved.
If you’re an experienced Live Baccarat player, you’ll find plenty of options at Unibet including our Live Casino rooms but if you’ve yet to play, please read on and we’ll have you up to speed with the rules in no time.
Meet the Players
Like many card games, there are different versions of Baccarat but you may just run into two main variants. Punto Banco is the most common and this can involve just two hands of cards - belonging to the player and the banker.
The second version of Baccarat to consider is Chemin De Fer where the dealer duties are handed out to a set of players in turn. Those are the two distinct options but how, exactly, do you play the game?
The Rules of Baccarat
A number of regular decks of cards are used in Baccarat and they are held in a device known as a shoe. This is used to deal those cards to the player and the banker in turn. Two cards are dealt to each side (four in total) and the object of the game is to score 9 or get as close to it as possible.
At this stage, readers may see some similarities to Blackjack with two players and two cards each. However, Baccarat is very much its own game and one key difference is the player can either bet on themselves, the tie or the banker to win.
Baccarat also features its own unique scoring system which players must be familiar with before they head to the live casino tables. Aces count as one point while all cards from 2 through to 9 will score their face value. The 10 plus all of the picture cards will count as zero but that can be advantageous in the right circumstances. For example, a hand containing a 9 and a Jack will total 9 and that is the score that we’re aiming for.
The next point to note is that double figure scores will automatically drop the left hand digit. In this example, we’ll assume that you’ve been dealt a 6 and an 8 but, instead of scoring 14, the 1 if dropped and the declared score stands at 4.
The best possible hand totals 9 and, along with a score of 8, these are referred to as ‘naturals.’
This may sound complicated at first but in reality this is a simple system and, after a few trial hands, you will be able to calculate totals automatically.
Third Time Lucky
In certain circumstances, there is an option for a third card to be dealt in Baccarat. This will always happen when the player’s or banker’s hand is worth 5 or less. In addition, the banker can also react and draw a third hand in response to the player’s third card but only in the following circumstances:
- If the banker’s total is 2, they will always draw a third card regardless of what the player’s third card happens to be.
- If the banker’s total is 3, they will draw a third card unless the player’s third card is an 8.
- If the banker has 4, they will draw again unless the player’s third card is a 0, 1, 8 or 9.
- If the banker’s total is 5, they will draw a third card unless the player’s third card is a 0, 1, 2, 3, 8 or 9
- If the banker has a score of 6, they will draw again unless the player’s third card is a 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 or 9
While this is a card game like no other, those rules are quite simple to follow and the scoring will become second nature once you’ve played a few hands of Baccarat. Don’t forget, you can also play demo versions of this and all of our card games without registration or download and without the need for real money stakes to become involved.
Having read the rules, demo play is a perfect way in which to follow up and to get used to the gameplay in real time so, if you need a few practise hands, Unibet have you covered.
What are the Odds?
We mentioned that Baccarat has the lowest house edge of any card game so now we need to quantify that point. The percentages that we show here are based on a shoe containing eight decks of cards and the version of the game is the more common Punto Banco.
The probabilities are either side winning a single hand are:
- Banker: 50.68%
- Player: 49.32%
This means that the house edge in each case is:
- Banker: 1.17%
- Player: 1.36%
The above examples exclude the possibility of a tie which is a rare event in Baccarat. However, if we include this eventuality in our calculations, the house edge numbers change to:
- Banker: 1.06%
- Player: 1.24%
If you’ve played any card or table game then you’ll immediately recognise those as low figures when placed in comparison to others. This is why Baccarat is the game of choice for many high rollers and serious casino players so, it’s certainly an option that you should check out based on those percentages.
Remember too that, unlike blackjack, this isn’t just a case of beating the banker. In Baccarat, we can make a number of bets as we are about to explain.
Baccarat Side Bets
One of the reasons why Baccarat appeals to experienced casino players lies in the potential for a range of bets. For some time, traditional games only provided those three main options but with Unibet’s live casino, there is the potential for much more so let’s guide you through the possibilities.
We’ve mentioned that this is marginally the more likely outcome and it simply involves betting on the banker to have the better hand at the end of the round.
In contrast, before the round starts, this option requires us to bet on the player to hold the best hand.
A tie can happen in Baccarat but the odds for this happening start at 8/1. A payout at those figures would be nice but this outcome is clearly less likely and serious Baccarat players will avoid it.
That’s the three main bets taken care of but through our live casino, there are more options to take advantage of.
Betting on this option involves staking on the player receiving two identical cards. Anything from two Aces, two Kings and everything in between will payout if you take this bet.
You’ve guessed it: This is the same bet as above but this time, we are betting on the banker receiving two identical cards.
An Either Pair bet relates to the first cards that are dealt to the player and banker. If they match then the Either Pair gamble will pay out.
With a perfect pair bet in Baccarat, we need the first two cards dealt to the banker to be a matching pair and, they must be of the same suit.
Although this is clearly a bigger risk, remember that there can be up to eight decks of cards in the shoe so perfect pairs are perfectly possible.
Moving away from pairs betting, Unibet’s live casino baccarat also gives players the option to bet on the total points scored from the initial four cards.
The first of these is a Big Bet and in this scenario, the house will pay out if the combined total of the player’s and banker’s hands hit 5 or 6.
A small bet also takes into account the total of the player’s and banker’s first four cards. If that total hits 4 exactly, the bet will pay out.
We’ve given you a comprehensive review of all the Baccarat possibilities at Unibet and all we need now is for you to get involved. It’s a classic casino game and part of its initial popularity was its simplicity and, of course, that low house edge.
You can continue to keep things simple by focusing on those three main bets for banker, player or tie but as we’ve seen, the development of our live casino has allowed for more betting options.
Take in some demo games if you’d like to craft your Baccarat skills and as soon as you’re ready to play for real, just log in or complete a brief registration process and you’ll be all set for the real money versions.