How well can you play Baccarat?
How well do you know your Baccarat?
You might know how to play classic Baccarat. You might know how to throw down like a boss when it comes to betting on either the Player or the Banker hand. And you might even know that Baccarat is the game of choice for 007 himself (license to win, anyone?). But do you know any variations aside from the most popular Baccarat game? Take a look at just some of the Baccarat casino versions available, and find even more ways to walk away a winner from one of the world’s most sophisticated card games.
Playing classic Baccarat
Before we examine some of the different Baccarat variations on offer, let’s first remind ourselves how to play the traditional version of the game.
If you’ve read our article on online Baccarat for beginners, you’ll know that the game is one of outcomes – choosing between three potential results, and hoping that the cards are dealt in line with your prediction. Simply decide whether you think the Banker or Player hand will win, and if your chosen hand has a value closest or equal to 9 (given Baccarat’s unique card hand value system) you’ll come out on top. Similarly, if you bet on the game resulting in a Tie, you’ll also be a winner – and a risk-taker, as this choice has a notably higher house edge.
Up to speed with the basics on how to play? Then let’s see just how many different types of Baccarat you can enjoy to get that winning feeling.
Baccarat casino game variations
Before you deal yourself into any of these Baccarat games, it’s worth noting that the house edge on all of them is the same: 1.06% for a bet on the Banker hand, and 1.24% for a bet on the Player hand, so it’s up to you as to which bet you consider to be most advantageous. With a house edge of 14.4%, at least in its most traditional version, the Tie bet is one to avoid if your bankroll is on the smaller side. Tips to keep in mind…
Chemin de Fer
Everything’s more exciting in Europe! Well, we’re not sure about that, but the Baccarat certainly is. That’s because in Chemin de Fer, a version of Baccarat preferred in most European casinos, players actually have the chance to influence the outcome of each game, taking the place of the banker in order to shuffle and draw cards.
To begin with, an auction is held to determine which player will take the dealer, or banker position; this usually goes to the player who makes the highest bet. Once a banker has been chosen, all other players at the table take the Player position. The banker places the first bet, the maximum they are able to wager per bet, and from here the action continues clockwise around the table. Each player needs to decide how much they are willing to bet, without exceeding the amount bet by the banker. The player with the highest value bet then becomes a representative for all the other players in the game.
The banker shuffles the cards, and deals two cards face down, one to themselves, which becomes the Banker’s hand, and one to the players, which becomes the Player’s hand. Should a natural 8 or 9 be dealt, both hands will be looked at to decide a winner. Should a natural not be called, both hands may choose to draw a third card. The hands are then compared, a winner is determined, and the winnings are paid out, less the standard 5% house commission.
If you’re someone who does better with games that are less strict, then Chemin de Fer might be the Baccarat variation for you, thanks to there being far fewer rules in place. Bear in mind however, that as the Player, you’ll be representing all other players at the table when it comes to making decisions – a responsibility that may lead you to feeling extra pressure. If you’re up for it though, it could be both a hugely rewarding and entertaining enterprise for you!
Baccarat en Banque
Don’t worry if you’re not feeling a connection with the less structured Chemin de Fer version of Baccarat. If you’re more of a rules person, you might prefer Baccarat en Banque instead, a variation that’s fairly close to the traditional version of the game. As in classic Baccarat, you’ll need to get as close as possible to a card hand value of 9, with a hand made up of three cards. The difference is in that Baccarat de Banque, players will only ever be able to bet on the Player hand, never the Banker hand. However in this version, not one, but two Player hands are allowed to be dealt, still giving players a choice of hands to bet on. Something old, something new, and hopefully something winning too!
If you’re looking for a game that’s a little more challenging, then Punto Banco is the variation for you. Also known as American or Nevada Baccarat, Punto Banco has the reputation of being one of the most difficult versions of the game, and has been testing players’ skills in USA casinos since the 1950s. Why is the level of difficulty in Punto Banco so much higher? Because unlike some other versions of the game, this one relies entirely on chance and luck, with no skill or strategy involved – so if you’re used to making decisions in a game that affect its outcome, you could find Punto Banco an interesting change.
In this version of casino Baccarat, rather than one player taking the role of banker, the deal moves around the table, giving every player a chance to deal the cards. A croupier will act as the caller, giving the players instructions on how to move the progress of the game forward. When the caller announces ‘cards’, the dealer will deal, and the caller will pass the cards for the Player hand to the player with the highest bet. A hand with a card hand value of 8 or 9 in the first round will be declared the winner; should a third card need to be drawn to decide the winner, the caller will declare either a ‘card for the Player’ or a ‘card for the Bank’. A win on the Player’s hand pays out 1:1, a win on a Tie pays out 8:1, while a win on the Banker’s hand will incur a 5% deduction for commission. Simple, yet completely absorbing and immersive at the same time – a fact which has only increased the popularity of Punto Banco over the years.
Want to try your hand at Baccarat but on a slightly smaller scale? Then sit down to a game of Mini-Baccarat, a smaller version of traditional American Baccarat that’s played at a Blackjack-sized table with fewer players, and one croupier. In this game of Baccarat, the croupier deals, allowing the players to sit back and enjoy the game without having to handle or shuffle the cards themselves. The same rules as regular Baccarat apply, although thanks to its smaller size, Mini-Baccarat has a faster rate of play, making it a top choice amongst players who like their games served with a side order of action and thrills. If that’s you, then Mini-Baccarat is the version you can count on to deliver maximum excitement!
Progressive Baccarat and Super Bacc
Want to up the stakes a little? Then deal yourself into a hand of Progressive Baccarat or Super Bacc – both games that require a side bet or ante to be placed before the cards are dealt and the game officially begins. What this does is double your chances of winning, giving you both the chance to win according to the cards that are dealt, and according to the rules of the side bet you’ve chosen to place. Come out on top with Progressive Baccarat and you’ll win some or all of the progressive jackpot up for grabs; win a hand of Super Bacc and you’ll receive an extra payout on the house!
Before you place your bets on either of these Baccarat variations however, first make sure to check the rules, as each casino has its own version of each game, and guidelines can differ from place to place. You’ll also need to bear in mind that any game with a side bet adds an extra element of risk where your bankroll is concerned, as while these games may seem to offer attractive payouts, they can carry a high house edge at the same time. If you’re mindful of your account balance, rather stick to what you know and leave the side bets for another day.
See anything that strikes your fancy? Then the next time you’re playing either at a casino or online and come across one or more of these variations, why not take a chance and place your bets? A change is as good as a holiday, and one wager could soon turn out to be the holiday of a lifetime for you!
Happy Spinning 🙂