Baccarat, another of our most historic games, comes in a number of varieties but the goal tends to be the same; to make the hand up as close to nine as possible. Differences include dealer positioning, where in some games a player will take on the role as the dealer or bank.
The most popular type remains to be the Nevada or American Baccarat version, and playing online does not really differ much from playing in land-based casinos in terms of rules, game types and appearance.
One of the major differences in online baccarat stems from the software providers, where in Playtech and CryptoLogic casinos, originally, the decks weren’t shuffled per hand, but up to eight decks are used, whereas in Microgaming baccarat decks are shuffled following each hand. Multi-player baccarat has been mastered by CryptoLogic for the most part, whereas eliminating card counting was done by Microgaming at first.
Despite beliefs that baccarat originates from ancient China, modern history states that it was invented by an Italian gambler called Felix Falguiere during the middle-ages and was originally played with Tarot cards, which supports its then purpose of being a game made up following the Nine Gods Roman legends.
The French nobility really took to the game, calling it Chemin de Fer amongst other names, which was meant to comically mean ‘railroads.’ Other names include Baccarat Banque and Punto Banco (the American version).
On the showbiz side, baccarat is a favourite game of international agent of mystery James Bond, who used it to bankrupt an enemy in the Casino Royale original book.
The biggest myth about baccarat is the long-held belief that patterns exist which can hold the key to winning strategies. Despite every book, professional and research committed to finding out, the truth is that there is no pattern.
Baccarat is thought to date back 2,000 years, originating in ancient China. According to gaming legend, crusaders in the 14th century returned to Europe with the game, around what was roughly the same time as the first card decks as we know them today were made. The game gained popularity in Italy under the name Nine Gods, after Roman legends, and simultaneously the French declared ownership of the game which they called Chemin de Fer; a baccarat variant which remains popular today in Europe.
As the game moved from the Rich of South America into Cuba, American Baccarat was born. From here it is rumoured to have travelled with one Cuban casino executive as he went to work at Nevada’s Sands Hotel casino in 1958, bringing Baccarat to Vegas. Online baccarat came some time later, and while it is not the most popular game (yet) it is a staple online offering.
To start at the very beginning, once you sit down at the baccarat table, you usually get to choose between betting on the player, dealer or tie. Once you have decided which, your bet is placed on the correct part of the table to convey this. The dealer will give you two hands of two cards; the player hand and banker hand.
Each card carries a set value between 2 and 9. 10’s and face cards will be 0 and Aces will be worth 1. If you can get up to 8 or 9 with this initial hand, you win. If neither of your two hands offers this, hands of 6 or 7 stand, and hands of 5 or less receive another card. The same will apply for the banker hand afterwards, and no player can receive more than three cards. Then, the hand closest to 9 is the winner.
While a fool-proof baccarat strategy solution is often sought and rarely, if ever, located, there are some fundamental considerations which can help. The first is the scorecard for your specific game variation. Often people will keep meticulous notes of how each hand is played in attempts to spot patterns.
This sheds light on just how the others play and gives you a better idea of the realistic way the game goes, even though other players will yearn for some kind of numerical answer. Card counting is often mentioned within baccarat, but will do little for you playing online.
Most if not all software providers now shuffle their deck/decks after each hand, making this virtually impossible. For those who still speak of winning and losing streaks, the same applies. Good experience, understanding the rules, looking for games with less decks and checking ‘tie’ bet payouts carefully are the true way forward.