It’s not difficult to master baccarat, even with its atmosphere of being an exclusive game for the wealthy. Almost anyone can learn baccarat basics and start to enjoy a classic but rather simple game.
From the start, a newcomer to baccarat should understand that this is actually one of the easiest casino games to learn and play because it relies solely on chance. There is little strategy employed in the roped-off area of the casino or with online baccarat (which has become quite popular in the last few years).
Once you get past the idea that this game is reserved for the high-rollers and the elite of society, you can join in the fun that comes with casino baccarat live or on the World Wide Web. In a matter of hours you may feel that you have baccarat mastered because there are only a few basic decisions to be made.
There are three distinct versions of the classic game, each with rules that differ just a bit. In recent years, some casinos have introduced a trimmed-down variation often called “mini-baccarat” that is great for those who don’t have a lot of money to wager or for someone who is very new to the game.
As you master baccarat you will have time to observe and learn. Once you place a bet, there is very little action for the individual player. The result of the hand is determined by the point values of two hands dealt. The croupier who works with the casino determines the outcome and pays the winners or collects the wagers.
In live casinos two cards are dealt face down, while in an online casino the cards are dealt face up. Point values are determined as follows: 2 through 9 have face value; 10, Jack, Queen and King = 0; Ace counts one point. The object is to get as close to 9 points as possible. But, as you master baccarat you will find there is a small twist to adding up points. For instance, if the two cards dealt to either the banker or the player are 6 and 8, which equals 14, the point total for baccarat is 4. (You always ignore or subtract the “tens” digit.) Players bet on whether the “bankers” hand or the “players” hand will win. Each player also has the option to bet on the possibility of a tie.
Most experienced baccarat players emphasize that there is no system that will greatly affect the outcome of a hand since the result is out of everyone’s control once the cards are dealt. Of course, you can help yourself by looking for patterns and making good decisions on which bet to place. In fact, it’s probably best to concentrate on enjoying your time at the baccarat table instead of worrying about how to master baccarat.
The house edge or advantage is quite small (about 1.5 percent) so the game is inviting for those with a limited bankroll and for newcomers. The chances of a hand winning are about the same as the chances of losing. A tie comes around less than 10 percent of the time. The banker’s hand wins more than half the time, which is good information to have as you try to master baccarat.
By Jim Hale
Jim Hale is a veteran writer with more than 30 years experience in the newspaper and magazine industry. Hale is an avid online poker player and has extensive experience writing about casino games and thoroughbred racing. He currently writes for Casino Affairs.cm.