Baccarat is a popular card game offered at tables in most casinos in India and across the world. It is a relatively easy game to play and this is one of the reasons why it is hugely popular among gamblers. The game has several versions but the basic objective is to compare hands and come up with a total of cards that is closest to nine.
Like all other casino games, Baccarat has responded to the rise of the internet as a gaming platform. Today, players do not have to visit brick and mortar casinos in order to play the game whose origins remain unclear to date. Players can now enjoy their favorite games from the comfort of their houses or on the go using PCs and Internet-enabled mobile devices.
This article is dedicated to clarifying all there is to know about online Baccarat, with specific emphasis on live Baccarat rules. First up, however, is to get a few things out of the way so that the subject of the day can be easily understood.
Live casino gaming
Live gaming- for Baccarat and every other gaming- is a model in which casino gamers can access their favorite games from their device screens in real time. This means they are able to interact with the casino as if they had visited the real house. They see the casino dealer as he plays out different hands and they are able to communicate with the croupier and (in some models) other online players.
The live casino gaming model is made possible by the use of video streaming. Players activate the stream by clicking on a button on the casino’s website. For this to happen, the player needs to have a compatible device e.g. the required Android or iOS version and a functioning flash player. They will also need a strong internet connection so that the casino activity can load without delays.
Rules of traditional Baccarat
Even before playing online Baccarat, one needs to know how to play the game itself. You probably have an idea of at least one of the three variants, but a quick recap for refresher purposes and for those who may only be coming to the game for the first time. Baccarat has three variants which are widely popular across gaming platforms all over the world. These are:
- Punto Banco (North American Baccarat)
- Baccarat Banque (á Deux tableaux)
- Baccarat Chemin de Fer (Chemmy)
Punto Banco is the most popular variant of the three. It is what you will find in most land-based and online casinos. As such, that is the variant that is given prominence in this discussion.
The game which is the most popular Baccarat variant in the US, UK and all over Europe involves playing two hands at every turn. The player (Punto) and banco (banker) hands are what the dealer draws and what players bet on. The objective of the game is to bet on which hand will end up with a total closest to nine. This creates three possible outcomes: a player win, a banker win or a tie.
Players can lay a wager on any of these outcomes. There are, however, different rules guiding each wager, as well as definitive advantages and disadvantages.
Cards carry different values. The ace has a value of one while the cards 2-9 carry their actual value. Depending on the rules of a particular casino, tens and face cards may have a value of ten or zero.
Six or eight decks of cards are shuffled together and placed in a shoe, which is a device made for the specific purpose of holding many cards at a go. The purpose of using several decks is to minimize the number of times a dealer will be required to shuffle cards. It also gives players confidence since it reduces the chances and tendency to cheat from the house end.
Once cards are shuffled, the dealer then deals one card face up to the player hand. He then deals another card to the banker’s hand before returning to the player hand and winding up with a second banker hand. Once each hand has been two cards, the game is then said to be rolling and the first analysis is done.
The dealer then calls each hand’s total and, if there is a winner, an announcement is made. Remember the objective is to finish with a sum as close as possible to nine. Where cards add up to a number greater than nine, the final digit of the sum is considered. For example, if a hand has a six and an eight (sum 14), the total of that hand is four. The first deal of two cards is known as a ‘natural.’
If either hand ends with a sum of eight or nine, the dealer calls time and the game ends with that natural. If not, the game continues, starting with the player hand again. This is the rule unless there is a punter who had bet on a tie and it happens, in which the game ends at that point. Where a tie results without a bet on the same, neither hand wins or loses; the game progresses.
Where progress is required, the player either draws a third card or stands. If their sum was less than six, the player is dealt a third card. If it is above five, the player ‘stands,’ i.e. they pass the draw to the banker. The banker’s draw depends on the player hand.
– The banker seeks to exceed the player’s sum with the third card if the player is standing. With a total of two or less, the banker draws a third card no matter what sum the player had.
– If the banker’s sum is three, they draw another card except in instances where the player is reached an eight with the third card.
– Where the banker’s cards sum to four, a third card is drawn if the player drew between two and seven in the third card.
– When a banker has a sum of five, they draw again if the player drew between four and seven in the third draw.
– With a total of six, the banker is dealt another card if the player drew a third card of six or seven.
– Where the total is seven, the banker takes a stand.
Live Baccarat Rules
Now that we are on the same page regarding the game of Baccarat, we can now wade to the rules of playing the game online. A pretty easy and fun game, as you may have noticed. You can enjoy it and quickly get to earning money even if there is no brick and mortar casino in your area. First up, a few additional rules that also apply in the online version of the game.
- The player hand pays 1 to 1, also known as even money. This means you win the same amount of money that you had staked.
- The banker hand pays in the same fashion.The house collects a 5% commission winnings of the dealer hand, which is the most probable winning hand.
- A tie pays 8 to 1, which makes it the most paying betting option. There is a catch, however.
- The house has an edge of 1.06 % in a banker’s hand, 1.24% when betting on the player and a whopping 14.36% for a tie bet. This is for an eight deck shoe; it rises with a smaller shoe.
Good to go? Okay, let’s.
There is basically not much variation to the rules when playing Baccarat online. The aim is to maintain the basic format of the game. What is done is to tweak the rules a bit to ensure the game fits into the online platform with as little inconvenience as possible- or none at all.
In the online version of the game, for example, players normally do not have the luxury of consulting with each other when playing. Since they are playing against the house rather than against each other, much of the technological development to this end has been built to enable communication with the house.
The player is able to see the croupier in real time as the cards are dealt as well as the casino ambiance. They may also talk to the house through a voice or text chat. However, they are not able to see or talk to other remotely located players.
Accounts and betting
Another rule is about placing wagers. When playing Baccarat online, many casinos will have it as a rule that players create an account. The account is used to make deposits and place wagers as well as receive pay-outs when a player wins. There are two models in which players can play online:
- Instant play
- Download play
Instant play allows players to create accounts, log in and play directly from a browser while downloads require players to get a dedicated app. Instant play is the most common model and widely preferred where both options are available.
Players provide their details when creating an account, although normally this is nothing more than an email address or phone number. You should always check the security of a website before creating an account and giving out these details, however minor and insensitive they may appear. A site whose address begins with ‘https’ is normally considered safe, as opposed to one with a plain ‘HTTP’ address.
To begin playing, a player will be required to make a deposit. Money can be paid in using e-wallets like PayPal, Skrill, and Netteller. Some may also accept bank wire and credit card payments.
Upon sign up, many casinos offer a welcome bonus that players can use to place bets. Most, however, do not allow players to withdraw their bonuses directly. These bonuses are also dependent on the amount that is deposited upon sign up. The same applies when bonuses are earned during the course of play.
Winnings and currencies
The specific currency used in online baccarat betting depends on the particular region in which a player is located. While the dollar is the most popular currency across the board, players in some regions may be allowed to use the Euro or the Sterling Pound.
E-wallets allow players to exchange currencies before depositing, while some houses may allow on-site exchanges.
Winnings are often paid instantly, but the duration it takes to reflect in the player’s account depends on the particular online casino and the platform they are using to transfer money, normally, however, it takes between one and three days.
The unwritten rule
One of the greatest rules for playing Live Baccarat online remains unwritten. It reads; always ensure you have a steady internet connection before engaging. As interesting and engaging as the game can get, it can be quite frustrating- and costly- if played without a proper connection.
Remember you are using video streaming to play a fast-paced card game. If your connection falters, you may miss an important chance to, say, draw the winning card. Internet issues occur mostly when playing on mobile phones since they involve movement from point to point. It is always good to play when you are in a steady spot rather than on the go. Use other sites to test the strength of the connection before starting to play. This is a golden rule to carry to other online gaming platforms too.
The legal aspect is a sensitive one when playing online Baccarat, given how gambling is closely monitored by authorities. The first no brainer rule for online baccarat is that all players need to have attained a minimum age. This is normally 18 years and 21 years in some jurisdictions.
Legal aspects vary from region to region, however. In some countries, for example, casino gambling is not allowed. In such countries, you may find a company that offers casino games in other countries specializing in sports bets only.
The restriction of online gaming remains a grey area though. In some areas, you will find that authorities do not allow land-based gambling but have no express restrictions for online companies based in foreign countries. Punters should always be alive to these rules when playing live Baccarat- and take advantage where possible.
Which hand are you betting on?