The exact history of Baccarat is disputed, with some historians saying it developed as early as the 14th and 15th centuries in Italy and then France while others date it to 19th century. What we do know is that it was very popular among the French nobility in the 1800s.
Today it’s enjoyed in land-based and online casinos around the world, where it remains one of the biggest attractions. Once you’ve read our basic guidelines to this simple and sophisticated game, we think you’ll understand why.
Punto Banco Basics
Punto Banco is simplest version of Baccarat, and it’s also the one played most often at online casinos so it’s a perfect for beginners. The dealer puts down two hands of two cards, which are called the Player and Banker hands (Punto Banco is Italian for “Player Banker”).
Number cards are worth their stated pip value, while royal cards and Aces count as 0 and 1 respectively. The hands are totalled by adding the cards together and then dropping the 10-value place holder. In other words, a six and seven card hand makes a total of three, not thirteen.
All you need to do is bet on the result; with the Player or Banker hand win with a higher total, or will the hands tie? There are specific rules about when each hand gets dealt an additional card, but the casino or dealer will handle all of that. You’ll find Baccarat even smoother and simpler than the best Aussie Bingo games.
At the end of the round, the hands are compared. If you back the winning hand you get a 1:1 payout, less 5% commission in the case of the Dealer because the odds are slightly better. A winning Tie Bet pays you out 8:1, which is enough to make any player’s eyes water.
Just be aware that with great reward comes great risk; the house edge on a Tie Bet is more than 14%! On the other hand, both Player and Banker hands win around 45% of the time (44.62% and 45.85%). They’re safer wagers, and they allow players to develop strategies.
Other Baccarat Variations
You’ll soon feel confident when playing Punto Banco, and may even incorporate probability theory in your strategy as you try to win more. Once you’ve got the basics down, you can try out the other versions.
Land-based and live dealer only casinos often offer Chemin de Fer and Baccarat Banque, for example, which both allow players to act as the Banker. In Chemin de Fer every player acts as the Banker in turn, while in Baccarat Banque the role is auctioned to the highest bidders.
Big Table Baccarat will take your online gaming action to new heights, and is played with 7 decks of cards. Players and Bankers also put out each other’s cards in the Big Table version, which makes the game feel more interactive. Whatever Baccarat format you play, the rewards stay the same and a winning Tie Bet is still the ultimate reward.