Introduction to Baccarat at Online Casinos
Long a preferred game for people who want to make huge wagers at physical casinos, baccarat is a bit more of an everyman's game online. You don't need to make wagers of hundreds of dollars a hand to play baccarat at most online casinos, and it's a simple game that only asks you to make a single decision is most cases: Do you want to bet on the player or banker hand? Despite its lack of complexity, there remains an intimidating air of mystery around baccarat for many people, making online play a perfect hassle-free way to learn it.
Types of Baccarat Games
Brick and mortar casinos have come up with several different variations of baccarat, including games called mini baccarat and midi baccarat. These can involve players serving as the banker or being able to handle the cards in some cases. In online casinos, the game is usually most like mini baccarat, as it keeps the action moving at a brisk pace and involves the least number of decisions for players. Some online casinos do keep high limit games available for high roller types, and these games are generally kept away from the virtual casino floor and are open by invitation only.
How to Play Baccarat
As mentioned above, playing most forms of baccarat really only requires you to make a single decision, and it's one that needs to be made before the hand is made. On any hand, a wager can be made on the player or banker hand. The computer deals both hands from several simulated standard decks of 52 cards, beginning with two cards for each hand. The winning hand is the one that gets closest to nine, with cards from two through nine worth their face values, all face cards worth zero and aces worth one point. Hands that are over 10 have their first digit chopped off, so a hand with a six and an eight is worth four.
If neither hand has a total of eight or nine (known as a natural), one or both of the hands may end up drawing additional cards. the rules for drawing cards are somewhat complex, but for the sake of this discussion, all you need to know is that online computer software follows those rules exactly. When the hand is over, all players who wagered on the winning hand are paid out at a 1:1 rate, though people who wager on the banker hand must forfeit a five-percent commission in most cases.
It's also possible for the player and banker to tie. That makes wagers on either hand a push, and depending on the casino, you may get the option to take the bet back or modify it for the next hand. In other cases, the bet may need to remain as is for the ensuing hand. It's also possible to bet on a tie hand, which pays off at 8:1 if it happens but is one of the worst bets in any table game from a mathematical standpoint.
Tips for Playing Baccarat
Baccarat is such a straightforward game that most tips for playing focus on what not to do. Betting on the tie is a bad idea, as tie hands happen much less frequently than the 8:1 payout ratio would suggest. This bet is best avoided at all times. Wagering on the player hand is preferable to the banker hand in many cases since there is no commission on winning bets. And like roulette, many online baccarat games have information on the results of the last 20 hands. You may see a pattern to follow, but it's important to realize that the random number generator software the runs the games makes it very unlikely that any patterns will continue in the long run.