Due to the influx of new poker games, the classic casino game of Baccarat is rarely played or known by the latest generation of poker players anymore. If you are new to the casino scene, we’re here to explain why this interesting game should not be ignored.
A History Lesson
The game of Baccarat (pronounced BAH-kah-rah) is one of the oldest casino games. It was first documented as early as the 1400s when it appeared in France via Italy. The name originated from the Italian word “baccarat” which simply means zero. This refers to the fact that all tens, jacks, queens, and kings in a game of baccarat have a value of zero. It also refers to any hand that totals to zero; for instance, a hand of six and four also equals to zero and therefore baccarat. At this juncture in the article you may not understand how the hands are valued, however stick with us just a couple more minutes for the same has been explained further ahead.
James Bond’s affinity with Baccarat
It is no longer a secret that Baccarat is game favoured by James Bond, the fictional secret agent created by English author Ian Fleming. Bond plays the game in numerous novels, most notably his 1953 debut, Casino Royale, in which the entire plot revolves around a game between Bond and SMERSH operative Le Chiffre. It is also featured in several filmed versions of the novels, including the 1954 television adaptation Casino Royale (Climax!). The 1967 version of Casino Royale, has the most detailed treatment of a baccarat game among all Bond films.
Sweet and Simple
Compared to other poker games, the house edge for Baccarat is a mere 1.06%, making it a very sweet bet. Without much opportunity for strategy, baccarat is one of the simplest card games around. It’s kind of like roulette: You choose what you want to bet on, then the cards are dealt, and then you see whether you won or lost. Unlike Blackjack, there’s no deciding whether to hit, stand, raise, or any of that. You just place your bet and hope for the result to favour you.
How to Play
Two hands are dealt, and the higher hand wins. You can bet on either hand to win. One hand is for the “Banker” and the other for “Player” However, you’d be surprised to know that the name given to these hands do not relate to anything and are completely random.
Yes! The “Banker” hand has nothing to do with the casino, and the “Player” hand has nothing to do with you. They might as well call the hands Hand 1 and Hand 2 and it would still bear no difference to gameplay. Also, there’s only one “Player” hand dealt, no matter how many players there are, because the “Player” hand isn’t really the player’s hand, it’s just one of the choices you can bet on.
In Baccarat, the value of face cards like Jack, Queen, and King as well as tens, is zero. Aces are valued at 1 and all other cards on their face value. Unlike Blackjack, there’s no such thing as busting in Baccarat. If the cards total 10 or more, the left digit is dropped. For example, 8+4 is really 2 (not 12). And 7+4 is 1 (not 11).
To add to the thrill of this unique game, even a third card may come into play!
If the player’s hand totals 6 or more, he or she must stand. However, if the cards total 5 or less, the player must draw an additional third card. Likewise, if the banker’s hand has a total value of 7 or more, he or she will stand. If the banker’s hand totals 2, a third card is dealt. If the total is 3, the banker draws unless the player’s card totals 8.
A value of 4 will mean the banker draws unless the player’s third card is a 0, 1, 8 or 9. Two cards valuing 5 will result in a draw as long as the player’s card is a 4, 5, 6 or 7. If the banker holds 6, a third card will be dealt as long as the player’s third card is a 6 or 7.
Learning all these values is probably the most challenging part of the game, however, with a few games under your belt, we’re sure you will have them memorized. Otherwise, you always have this article to come back to.
Play Banker More than Player
In Baccarat, Banker holds the edge over Player by 1%. The probability of Player winning is about 45% and the chances of the Banker winning are at about 46%. This does not mean you sit at the table and just keep betting on the Banker. But yes, keep in mind that the Banker is likely to be more consistent.
The best thing about betting on Ties is that the payout odds are 9-1! The catch is, however, that it hits only 10% of the time. So, a game that pays 9-1 hitting once every 10 hands isn’t something you should be banking on. Yes, the potential winning amount is a huge temptation, but we strongly advise you to resist.
When you play, you’ll notice the other players trying to keep track of which hands won. They’re trying to figure out the trend and therefore presume which of the ‘Banker’, ‘Player’, or ‘Tie’ is due.
Unfortunately, all this effort is quite silly because the past rounds have no bearing on the next. It’s like when you toss a coin, the chance of it being heads or tails will be 50% at every flip.
Usually, Baccarat is appealing because there is no planning and plotting to be involved. Most games with a low edge require you to learn some strategy. But with Baccarat, you get the same low edge no matter what. By avoiding betting on Tie, the only decisions you make are how much to bet and which of the two low-edge hands you want to bet on, Player or Banker.
Now head straight to one of the luxurious Deltin casinos and try your hand at the Baccarat tables. Suit and tie up for your own Bond experience or take it casual, and let us know in the comments how fun Baccarat is.