Baccarat Strategy

Baccarat and other casino games like blackjack and roulette are known as table games because in land based casinos they are played at gaming tables, as opposed to slots and video poker, which use gaming consoles. Baccarat traditionally involves a croupier or dealer – a specially trained employee of the house in a brick and mortar casino. Online, with a baccarat software program, there is not strictly a need for a dealer. However, many Web casinos are moving toward the use of live dealers brought to you in real time. Working out a baccarat strategy is especially interesting to dedicated players for two reasons. First, there is a low house edge and second, some variations of the game call for player skill and not just luck.

How to Play Baccarat

Several standard decks of playing cards, shuffled together, are used in baccarat, which is a card comparing game between a player and a banker. A round of baccarat consists of dealing 2 to 3 cards to the player and the banker. The object is to get the score closest to 9; whoever does so wins that round. King, Queen and Jack are worth 0; the Ace is worth 1 and all other cards are worth their face value. If your hand totals more than 9, the first digit is dropped from your score; for example, 14 points becomes 4. There are 3 types of bets – on the dealer to win, on the player to win or on a tie. Although only one player hand is dealt, any number of players may wager on the outcome of each round.

Baccarat Formats

The most commonly used baccarat format in countries such as the US, the UK and several others is punto banco, which follows a clearly prescribed procedure, called a tableau, for drawing additional cards should neither player have a natural from the first 2 cards dealt. In land based casinos, punto banco is often played in salons privés separate from the main casino floor, for the sake of discretion and security in what is often a very high stakes game. Other popular formats include a proprietary game known as EZ Baccarat, Super 6 or Punto Banco 2000 and Chemin de Fer.

While there is no magic formula to help you win at baccarat, a knowledge and awareness of the game are certainly useful. In addition there are some wise choices you as a player can make. For example, betting on the banker offer you better odds and a baccarat table that uses only one deck of cards offers you the best rate of return – when you bet on the banker. Although wagering on a tie offers a tempting payout, the house edge is extremely high – in the range of 5 percent. Practice a free version of the game before you put down your hard earned cash.