Most online casino visitors and experienced players agree that when it comes to excitement and suspense only a handful of card games can hold a candle to Baccarat. After all, Mr Bond himself was an avid player of this “notorious” game, defeating the casino in an infamous hand of Chemin de fer, a variant of Baccarat that, unlike Punto Banco, holds a certain strategic potential.
Played with 8 decks, Baccarat employs rules that are somewhat similar to the ones in Blackjack. The object of the game is to predict which one of the three main betting areas will have a hand closer to the total of 9. In some cases, side bets will be available along with the main Banker, Player and Tie options. Thanks to the value assigned to the cards, there is no busting in Baccarat and the total of the hand is actually calculated by adding up the cards’ values, and then eliminating the first digit.
At the moment, the variation of Baccarat most likely to be found in online casinos is Punto Banco, considered to be the cleanest form of Baccarat. Other known variants are Baccarat Chemin de Fer, played at a slightly faster pace than Punto Banco, and Baccarat Banque, where a player takes on the role of both the dealer and the banker at the same time. The best online casinos for Baccarat players can be found below.
How to Play Baccarat
Online Baccarat is usually played with 8 decks and the game begins when the dealer removes a certain number of cards from the shoe and then places the drawn cards onto the Player and Banker betting fields. The third option is Tie, or betting that the Player and Banker hands will have equal totals; although this type of bet comes with the highest payout ratio, most of the players will avoid it due to improbability and low winning potential.
Side bets are frequent in Baccarat and the players can also wager on Player Pair, Banker Pair, Either Pair, Player Bonus and Banker Bonus. Payout rates are extremely high for side bets winnings and can go up to 200:1 for Perfect pair win.
With the game as unpredictable as Baccarat, the only reliable strategy that a player can employ is planning your budget and sticking to it. More experienced gamblers often recommend Fibonacci and Paroli systems (methods applicable to a wide range of table and card games), also known as positive and negative approaches to betting. Fibonacci, as a representative of a negative progression tactics prompts the player to increase the bet (in the amount of two previous hands added together) after every lost hand.
If the player opts for Paroli system, the bets will positively progress after every winning hand, up until the first loss. Both of the systems can be reversed and betting amounts decreased as the game progresses.
Online Baccarat Variants
In addition to standard Baccarat, online casinos often include variants such as Squeeze Baccarat, Speed Baccarat, High Limit Baccarat and Low Limit Baccarat.
- In online Squeeze Baccarat, the player is allowed to actually peek at any of the dealt cards. The option is highly popularized by Asian casinos and software providers and although it cannot change the outcome of the session, it adds a new and exciting dimension to the game.
- Speed Baccarat is no different than any other version except that it is played at a very fast pace which means that Squeezing is not allowed and the new cards are drawn and dealt within seconds.
- Although the game of Baccarat is generally preferred by high rollers, High Limit Baccarat raises the bar and significantly increases the lower limit of the stake, making the game quite exclusive. Due to the high stakes, some casinos offer this variant to their VIP members only.
- On the other hand, Low Limit Baccarat takes quite the opposite approach and minimizes the required lower stake, making it much more suitable to an average player who is not easily recovered from sudden and potentially high losses.