It is strange to think that for such a popular casino game, one that has been around for hundreds of years, and which has also seen some of the biggest and most memorable big money wins landed on it (as well as some considerable losses), baccarat remains somewhat a distant third behind the likes of poker and blackjack when it comes to online casino card games.
The game originated in Italy in the 17th century where it was called “baccara”, the Italian word for ‘zero’ which refers to the value of the ‘10’ value cards (10, Jack, Queen and King) which have a value attributed to them of zero for the game.
Over the years, the game spread across Europe and was hugely popular with the French nobility in the 18th century before it then reached the New World and the Far East, where it has been one of the mainstays in top casinos that populate places like Macau and Las Vegas for many a year. However, of more interest to us is the version of the game that you can find right now at bet365 Games.
Remember also that baccarat is equally popular in the United States, where some high rollers have landed some massive cash prizes in the casino halls of Las Vegas. However, online, if you want to play baccarat in a state such as Pennsylvania, then take a look at the current playsugarhouse promo code information in the link to get the lowdown on some of the great deals available to you when you sign up to play in the state.
So if you are a newcomer to baccarat and want to discover the intricacies of the game that enchanted French Royalty, as well as proved to be the preferred game of Ian Fleming’s super-spy James Bond, then take a look at our explanation of the game below, together with a look at some of the little nuances you can find in the bet365 Games version.
The Rules of Baccarat
The first thing to note is that baccarat is actually a much simpler game to play and understand than either blackjack or poker. Unlike both those games, no individual player knowledge, or key strategies are required to play the game as in baccarat you are not playing the hand against the banker to win, but simply betting on who will win each hand (or whether it will end in a tie).
Furthermore, the decisions that are played out in a hand are all entirely situational. The rules of the game will decide when a player or the banker can draw a card and when they can’t. As such, you don’t actually need to know very much about the game of baccarat, other than the basics, in order to be able to play and enjoy the game online.
Essentially baccarat isn’t a skill game, it is a betting game and although the game puts the player and the banker as opponents, a player’s victory is not required for the player to win their bet, if they have backed the correct winner of the hand (or select the tie option) and the result proves to be so.
There are five simple rules that are the foundations of the game:
- Each game is played with six sets of cards in the pack. That is a total of 312 cards in total.
- After every hand of baccarat, all the cards in the pack are shuffled.
- The suits of each card are not used at any point in the standard game (although they are pertinent for one of the additional bets available in bet365 Games version of baccarat as you will see below).
- Each card is allocated a specific numeric value that is the same as its number for cards from the 2 through to the 9s. So a 2 of spades, clubs, hearts or diamonds value in the game is 2, the 3 of hearts, clubs, spades or diamonds is 3 and so on. Any ace is valued at 1 and any of the ten, jack, queen and king is valued at zero.
- Both the player and banker receive two cards face up in the deal and from that they calculate the value of their hands. When calculating the value only the unit value of the total value is used, so for example, if you are dealt a seven and a five, the total value of that hand is 12, but you only use the unit value of that total, which is 2 and disregard the tens. The value of a hand in baccarat can only be valued between 0 and 9.
The winner is the player with the highest value hand after all cards have been drawn, or a player achieves a Natural. We will explain what this is and how a hand progresses in the section below.
How a hand of baccarat progresses
In blackjack, the dealers’ hand is played following a series of rules outlined on the table. They will always draw a card if their and is worth a certain number, they will always stick if their hand is a certain value or above and these rules must be followed by the dealer.
In baccarat, both the dealer and players hand follow rules as to what can happen once the first two face up cards are dealt to the dealer and player alike.
The standard game of baccarat begins by the player placing a bet on either the dealer or banker to win, the player to win, or the hand to finish in a tie. The dealer/banker bet and the player bets are both even money, or very close to even money, chances, while the tie bet is a 9/1 chance.
Once your bet is placed the hand will begin with the player and banker each receiving two cards face up and the action begins with the player based on the value of the cards that both players hold.
- A Natural – if either the player or dealer (or both) have face cards that total either 8 or 9, then this is called a Natural and the game ends automatically with the player with the highest value winning the hand (this can of course, end in a tie too).
- Stand – If the player’s two cards are valued at 6 or 7, then they will stand and not be drawn any additional cards and the action then moves to the dealer’s hand.
- Draw – If the player’s hand is valued at 5 or less points, then they will automatically be drawn an additional card. If their value reaches 8 or 9, then they hit a Natural, if they reach 6 or 7 they will stand, or it if remains at five or below they can draw up to a further four cards to complete their hand. After this, the score they have landed is their final score.
- Dealer Draw – If a player stands or draws, then once completed the action turns to the dealer who, depending on their score will either win the hand, or will draw cards based on a simple set of rules based on the hand the player holds and the dealer holds. Once this is completed, then the winner of the hand is declared (or a tie is declared) and any bets made on the winning selection are paid out.
Baccarat is such a simple game to play that the best way to see it in action and to understand how it works is to play a few hands for yourself to see how the betting works and how the game progresses. If you do this at bet365 Games, you will also have some additional betting options available to you.
Additional baccarat bets at bet365 Games
In addition to the three bets on the player, banker or the tie outlined above, you can place four other bets in bet365 Games version of baccarat. These bets are based solely on the initial two cards dealt to both the banker and player and they are as follows:
- Player Pair (11/1) – A bet on the player being dealt a pair of the same value.
- Banker Pair (11/1) – A bet on the banker being dealt a pair of the same value.
- Either Pair (5/1) – A bet that the four face up cards dealt between the Banker and Player will turn up two cards of the same value. The cards do not have to be in the same hand but can be any two (or more) of the four face up cards.
- Perfect Pair (25/1) – A longer odds bet that pays out if the player or banker lands a pair of the same value card and also the same suit, such as two of the seven of hearts.
Baccarat’s simplicity and speed of play is what has made it such a popular game for many years and you can now enjoy the game in full at bet365 Games.