Slots.lv has two variations of instant play baccarat, which is playable as free baccarat or as real money baccarat. Baccarat is easy to play. Reading this guide is all you'll need to learn how to play the game with real money. Online baccarat at Slots.lv is fast-paced and entertaining in comparison to live baccarat played at a brick and mortar casino. By playing online, you’re able to play far more hands per hour.
The basic rules and hand sequence is all you need to know to play baccarat online for real money. Understanding the odds, house edge, and strategy helps new players play like a pro. Though baccarat might look complicated, it is among the simplest games to learn. Once you learn how to play a single hand of baccarat, you’ve experienced all you need to know.
Getting Started with Baccarat
Most games of baccarat are played with eight decks. Numbering is slightly different than it is in poker. The ace is worth 1 point always. The numbered cards (2-9) are worth the number on the card. The 10-card and face cards are worth 0, which might require an adjustment for new players.
The combined card value is 0 through 9, with 9 being the best hand in baccarat. If the count reaches 10, then it starts over at 0 again. Simply drop the first digit when counting baccarat hands. Thus, if you receive a 7 and a 6 on a baccarat deal, it is counted as 3.
A hand of baccarat begins with each player at the table betting on one of three options: Banker, Player, or Tie. The banker bet means you are betting on the dealer hand, which has slightly higher odds. The player bet is betting on the hand opposite the dealer. The tie bet is treated as a side bet in baccarat and, like most side bets, has a much higher house edge.
Once bets are made, two cards each are dealt to the banker and the player. A third card might be dealt to either the banker or the player (or both), depending on a rigid set of rules. Thus, baccarat players are not faced with strategy decisions - a fact many newcomers will prefer.
Third Card Rules in Baccarat
If either the banker or the player has a hand which equals 8 or 9, then they have what is called a "natural". If either hand has a natural, then both hands stand. Whoever has the highest hand wins. For instance, if you hold an 8 and your opponent holds a 6, then both hands stand and you win the hand. But if you hold an 8 and the opponent holds a 9, then your opponent would win.
If the player holds a 5 or less, then the player draws a third card. If the player hand sits at 6 or 7, then the player stands at that number. The banker's next move is dependent on the player's hand.
If the player stands with a 6 or 7, then the banker draws if they hold a 5 or less. If the banker's hand totals 6 or 7 points, then the banker stands. If the player draws a third card, then the banker decides whether to draw a third card or not based upon a chart.
Banker Hand: Third Card Chart
- • Banker Hand is 7: The banker stands in all cases.
- • Banker Hand is 6: The banker draws if the player holds a 6 or 7, but stands in all other cases.
- • Banker Hand is 5: The banker draws if the player holds a 4, 5, 6, or 7, but stands otherwise.
- • Banker Hand is 4: The banker draws if the player holds a 2 thru 7, but stands on 0-1 and 8-9.
- • Banker Hand is 3: The banker stands if the player holds an 8, but draws in all other cases.
- • Banker Hand is 0-2: The banker draws a card in all cases.
After a third card is dealt, hands are compared. The winner is the hand with the greater total. If a tie occurs, then the tie bet wins. In that case, both the player bet and the banker bet lose.
Baccarat Odds and Payouts
The odds paid on baccarat are similar to what you'll find in craps or blackjack. The best betting propositions pay 1:1, so you'll receive even odds. Many players prefer a chance at bigger payouts, which is why you'll see them playing other games. Like craps, baccarat has a bet with a higher payout - the tie bet - which pays 9:1. Make this wager if you choose, but keep in mind the house edge on the tie bet is much higher (above 9%) than the banker bet or player bet.
- • Banker Wins: 1:1 Payout
- • Player Wins: 1:1 Payout
- • Tie Bet Wins: 9:1 Payout
By looking at the probability of certain bets winning, you'll see how the game designers arrive at payouts in baccarat. As you'll see, every hand has a winner and a loser. In the table below, the remaining 0.02% is accounted for by the rounding down process, so all bets have a resolution in a hand of baccarat.
Baccarat Win Frequency
The following table shows the frequency of wins for the various bets. The banker wins slightly over 1% of the time more than the player, which is why it's a better wagering proposition to bet on the banker side. Also, ties happen roughly 9.5% of the time, which explains why the tie bet has a 9:1 payout.
- • Banker Wins: 45.85%
- • Player Wins: 44.62%
- • Tie Bet Wins: 9.51%
Play Baccarat like a Pro
Baccarat strategy is based mainly on picking the right bets. The banker bet has the lowest house edge, so it is the best wagering possibility at any time. Betting on the player hand is a slightly worse proposition - with a 0.18% higher house edge, you'll expect to lose 18¢ more on every $100 wagered. On the tie you can expect to lose over $9 for every $100 wagered.
In Macau, baccarat players stand back from the table and study a few hands before they decide which side to back. They want to get a sense of the flow ("chi") of the game before deciding their strategy. Many players in the west make a more mathematical decision. The math of baccarat dictates a banker bet.
When you first start playing real money online baccarat, you might assume that the strategy on drawing a third card is complicated. It isn't, because rigid rules decide what occurs. Slots.lv's baccarat software makes the decision for you, so you won't have to concern yourself with basic strategy charts.
Baccarat House Edge
In land-based casinos, several versions of baccarat exist. Punto Banco baccarat is the game played in Las Vegas. It is also the game Slots.lv offers. Punto Banco requires no strategy to get the best odds, which is why it's so popular. The French version of baccarat is called "chemin de fers" and it is what's depicted in the James Bond films. Chemin de Fers has elements of skill, but it's beyond the scope of our discussion here.
These days, Las Vegas has a game called Mini-Baccarat for the mass market players. Mini-baccarat has the same odds as traditional baccarat, but the dealer deals the cards, which speeds up the game significantly. Online baccarat at Slots.lv is comparable to mini-baccarat because the casino software deals the cards. Players should remember that Slots.lv baccarat plays faster than traditional punto banco, and as such should remember to pace themselves. The great thing about online baccarat is you can play at your own pace, so avoid rushing and savor the game.
- • Banker Bet: 1.06% House Edge
- • Player Bet: 1.24% House Edge
- • Tie Bet: 14.44% House Edge
Baccarat vs. Craps and Roulette
The house edge in baccarat is comparable to craps. The stated house edge for the basic bets in craps have a range between 1.35% and 1.41%. If you take maximum odds on these bets, it lowers the house edge below 1%. The lowest house edge you'll find in baccarat is 1.06%. This is still very good.
Baccarat's house edge is lower than other table games in a casino. European Roulette has a 2.70% house edge, while American Roulette has a 5.26% house edge. Most table poker games like 3-Card Poker, Caribbean Stud Poker, Caribbean Hold'em Poker, and Let It Ride have a house edge between 3% and 5.5%. None compare to baccarat in terms of odds, which is why baccarat has been the game traditionally played in the VIP section of casinos.
Readers might wonder why savvy players would choose baccarat over blackjack or video poker. While it is true those games have a lower theoretical house edge, both of those games require skill to optimize play. If you don't use basic strategy in blackjack or video poker, then the house edge rises far higher than it does in baccarat. People enjoy baccarat because it requires no skill or strategy to achieve its lowest possible house edge.
How to Pick Bets in Baccarat
It is easy to pick bets in baccarat. If allowed the option, the banker bet is always the best bet at the table. The player bet is next-best. The tie bet is always the worst. In the section below, we'll explain why baccarat bets are ranked the way they are.
Baccarat Best Bet: The Banker Bet
The banker bet is the best betting option in baccarat. The house edge on a banker bet is 1.06%. If you simply care about the wager with the highest return-to-player percentage, you would make the banker bet every single time.
The player bet has good odds, too. The house edge on the player bet is 1.24%. The player bet is still a good option, because it has a better return-to-player than the basic bets in craps.
Baccarat Worst Bet: The Tie Bet
The wager most tell you to avoid in baccarat is the tie bet. Depending on the size of the deck, the house edge on the tie bet ranges between 14.36% and 14.44%. Whether you're a high roller or a mid-stakes player, you'll lose ten times more money placing tie bets than any other wager on the table. The payout is 9:1 while all other payouts are 1:1, which is why bettors sometimes choose this option.
Baccarat has side bets. Player Pair, Banker Pair, and the Dragon Bonus are popular side bets. Player Pair and Banker Pair simply wager on whether the two cards dealt to the player or the banker will be a pair. The Dragon Bonus bet, which can be popular in a live dealer casino under the name "Dragon Tail", is tricky. The Dragon Bonus player bet has a house edge of 2.65%, and the banker bet is 9.37%.
Again, your best bet is to play the main banker bet and player bet. Like most games, the side bets have worse odds.