Besides being one of the easiest card games on the casino floor, real money baccarat is also great value for money compared to other table games. Read on to find out everything you need to know about this old favourite.
Best online baccarat sites
All Internet casinos carry online baccarat, but only a few operators have earned the Gamble tick of approval. The casino sites featured here all meet the highest standards for player security and quality control with fully certified SSL (Secure Socket Layer) digital encryptions, RNG systems tested and passed by independent third-party authorities, and fast, secure banking methods such as Visa, MasterCard, Skrill, Neteller and Paysafecard. They also offer real money casino gaming across all major platforms, including Windows PC, Mac OS X, iPhone, iPad, Android and most other smart devices.
How to play baccarat punto banco
There are several distinct versions of baccarat, but punto banco is far and away the most popular. It is played all over the world these days, from Melbourne to Macau to Montreal, and is the universal flavour of choice at online casinos.
The premise of punto banco baccarat is simple. Two hands are dealt from a shoe containing four to eight standard decks. One hand is called ‘player’, while the other is called ‘banker’. The aim of the game is to pick which one will draw the higher score. Bettors can choose from three possible outcomes:
- That the player hand will win
- That the banker hand will win
- That both banker and player will finish with the same score
Readers who are savvy in the Latinate languages might know that ‘baccarat’ is old Italian for ‘zero game’, which refers to its unique scoring system. All 10-point cards (10s, Jacks, Queens, Kings) are worth zero points, while Aces count as one and all others score at face value (e.g. Seven = seven points).
Unlike blackjack and many other card-based table games, it is impossible to bust a hand in baccarat. That’s because the highest possible score is nine points, as only the second digit is counted on totals of 10 or greater. For example: if the banker was dealt an Eight and a Nine, the hand total would be seven points.
The drawing rules for punto banco are highly dependent on the composition of each hand, taking into account both the totals and the exact cards dealt. We, the punters, don’t need to know the specifics here – we just sit back and watch while the croupier does all the work.
Baccarat payouts and house edge
When the drawing requirements are met and the winning hand is determined, all bets are paid out according to the following set of standard baccarat odds:
Player – 1 to 1 (e.g. bet $100, win $100)
Banker – 19 to 20 (e.g bet $100, win $95)
Tie – 8 to 1 (e.g. bet $100, win $800)
The house takes a five per cent commission on all banker bets, which is why the payout odds are effectively 0.95 to 1 rather than even money. Nevertheless, it is statistically the best wager on the table, with a house edge of only 1.06 per cent in a regular eight-deck game. The player bet is only a fraction worse, at about 1.24 per cent, which is why baccarat is widely considered one of the smartest options at the casino.
The tie bet is another story. Depending on the number of decks used, it can favour the house by as much as 16 per cent – that is, about 15 times more than either the player or the banker bets. So if you want to keep the odds as close to even as possible, avoid the tie wager altogether.
Internet baccarat games
Each of the world’s leading online casino developers has at least one top-notch punto banco title in its arsenal. Here are a few of our favourites, all of which are available for real cash play at our top-ranked online baccarat casinos.
Baccarat Gold Series
As with everything else in Microgaming’s deluxe range of online casino games, Baccarat Gold represents the high watermark for virtual baccarat. A $500 table limit leaves plenty of room for every type of punter, while the visual displays and gameplay features are everything we’ve come to expect from the Gold Series.
Pro Series Baccarat
For versatility and playability, it’s hard to beat the Net Entertainment Professional Series. Both Baccarat Pro and Punto Banco Pro offer the same top-shelf graphics and features, with slightly different visual layouts, and come with three selectable bet limits: low stakes ($0.10-$10), regular stakes ($1-$100) and high stakes ($10-$1000).
VIP Baccarat Live
The baccarat table has always been a lightning rod for high rollers, and Evolution Gaming’s premier live dealer game brings that tradition to the World Wide Web. Classy croupiers and reliable HD video streaming make for an authentic, immersive real-time gambling experience, while a $1000 bet limit is perfect for high-stakes baccarat players.
Like all of its online table games, BetSoft’s baccarat title looks simple but delivers plenty. Standard rules and a $1-$100 table limit cater for casuals and serious punters alike, while no-fuss visual displays, easy game controls and fast loading times will appeal to players who care more about performance than appearance.
Playboy Live Baccarat
The Microgaming live casino has several baccarat options, but none is more obviously attractive than the Playboy Live version. Besides offering an engaging real-time setup with flexible bet limits and a full complement of side bets, it also features some of the most toothsome female croupiers on the Net – all dressed up in Playboy Bunny costumes.[/rm_geo_hide]