The Fundamentals of Free Baccarat: Learn Everything You Need To Know About Free Baccarat In The Online Casino World
In this Baccarat Online Casino Guide we will learn:
- The basics of playing Baccarat
- Examples of how the rules apply
- Casino choice & Strategy
The Baccarat Basics
Baccarat is one of the more popular online casino games and for a good reason. Even though it is not as well known as blackjack or roulette because of Hollywood films depicting these games more frequently, it is a favorite for many players. The main reasons are;
1) The game is easy to play.
2) The house edge is one of the lowest in casino games (best bets are 1.06 and 1.24% house edge).
Compare this to American roulette with a 5.26% house edge or slot machines which range from 5-15% and it becomes very clear why baccarat is so popular.
Before we have a look at the rules and betting examples, let’s explore the history, the different styles, and how to play baccarat first.
The Roots and History
The true origin of the word baccarat is unknown but there are different theories about the root of the name. What we do know is that baccarat is borrowed from the French language, also not coincidentally where baccarat or then called baccarat banque, first was played.
The main theory is that it was first played in the 19th century in France, although some sources suspect the game dates as far back as the 15th century and was first played in Italy. History aside, baccarat has found its way to New Jersey and almost every corner of the world.
Originally the game started out with only three players. After merging with a variation of a different two-player game, the development came to the style of baccarat as we know it today.
There are many different styles of baccarat available but the basics of the game are always the same for this well-loved card game. The cards all represent a certain value and the game is point-based.
Two sets of cards are drawn and the goal is to get to a certain number of points in total, nine being the best. The key here is that neither ending up with a value above, or below the number is favorable.
The set of cards that is closest to the determined value will be the winner of that round. Although there are two sets of cards, the actual players can take either side and baccarat basically comes down to a guessing game.
Styles of Baccarat
From Super 6/Punto 2000 to Macao and chemin de fer, there are many variations of baccarat available in both land-based and online casinos. The most popular variation is Punto Banco which you will also find in every casino on the Las Vegas strip.
The online casinos offer many different options like mini-baccarat and every version has its own benefits and downsides to it. This also means that there are many choices for free baccarat, be sure to check out our casino page for the best options available for New Jersey.
For now, we will look at a few of the different variations available.
- Punto Banco – This is the most popular version of free baccarat in the online casino world. With punto banco, the casino will always bank the game at all times and there is a fixed set of rules that are followed that will determine when the player and banker need to draw an extra card. The standard and extensive rules for Punto Banco are discussed below, along with betting examples. Player (Punto) and Banker (Banco) are simply the names for the hands that are dealt and the player can determine which of the hands a wager will be placed. Every betting round is called a “coup” and players need to place their bets before the coup starts.
- Chemin de fer – Having made its first introduction as a playing style in the late 19th century it owes its name to the French for “railway”. Chemin de fer – or railway – was chosen because this variation is quicker than the original version. Today it is still the most popular in France, fun fact: it is also James Bond his casino game of choice. The main difference is that the players at the table receive cards, one player being the banker and the other players are called punters. The banker places his wager first, in each coup one punter can “call bank” and match the total of the banker bet. Another notable difference is that the cards are played face-down first and after one card is shown, another round of betting is held.
- Macao – The Macao variation is called after the region in China where it first was played in the 17th century. In the 18th century, it became vastly popular in Europe, especially in gentlemen’s clubs and even in the court of the French king Victor-Amadeus III. Today, it is still favored in Russia and some countries in Europe. In this style, the player always bets against the banker and the goal is to beat the bankers total. After placing their first bets all players are dealt one card face down. Players can request extra cards if they like and can reject tens or face cards. Notable is that natural 9’s (see betting rules) are paid triple and in case of a tie the banker wins.
- Super 6 – This style of baccarat offers even money on both the player and the banker bet instead of the usual 95% when you place your wager on banker. This comes at one trade-off, when the banker bet wins with a total of 6 then you are paid only half the money on your winning bet, hence the name super 6. The end result of this change is an increased edge for the house from 1.06% to 1.46%. This is not a large increase, but still, when playing against the house you want their edge to be as small as possible. Super 6, or sometimes called Punto 2000, is also favored by land-based casinos because there is no need to calculate the more elaborate commissions on banker bets.
How to play Baccarat
Playing the actual game of baccarat is very easy and this is why it is recommended as one of the best casino options to start out with as a beginner.
The only moment when you need to do anything as a player is placing your bets before the new round starts. There are three main bets, the player bet, the banker bet, and the tie bet. Player or banker simply means on which of the two sets of cards you bet to win the round.
Evidently the tie bet means that you are guessing that neither hand will win nor lose that round. Besides those main bets, there are also the pair bets, where you can place your wagers on the banker or player to have a pair of cards in their hand.
The odds are interesting in the game since both the banker and player offer even odds, meaning you will win the money that you place as profit. The only catch is that the banker bets are taking a 5% commission of your profit returns to the house again.
This might make the player bet seem like the better choice but because of the rules, discussed below, the banker bet actually has a lower house edge. After making the calculations and taking all factors into account you end up with the following numbers:
- 1.24% house edge for all bets placed on the player
- 1.06% house edge on all bets placed on the banker
- 14.4% edge to the online casino on tie bets, this whopping number gives it the nickname “sucker bet”
As we have learned playing baccarat is fairly easy, in fact, one of the easiest on the menu of the online casino games, at the same level of pulling a lever of a slot machine.
If you want to know a little more about the game and understand the game on a deeper level it can be useful to learn the rules of baccarat. Diving deeper will also reveal why the banker bets have a lower house edge despite the 5% commission that is charged on the even money.
Punto Banco has a common set of rules that are used in nearly all online casinos, so if you learn these you will know the rules for the vast majority of online casinos. There are some casinos who have slight variations on the regular rules, so do pay attention when selecting your casino for free baccarat.
Card values 2-9 are ranked to their number, 10’s and picture cards have a value of 0, except for an ace which is rated 1. The highest score you can get in baccarat is 9, so if two cards have a higher combined total then the last digit counts (or simply subtract 10). For example, when you are dealt an eight and a seven, your hand value will be five (8+7=15, | 15-10=5).
As mentioned before, the goal of baccarat is to get a total of 9 in your card value total. When you get this amount in your first two cards dealt it is also called a “natural” and you instantly win the game (unless the banker has a natural 9 as well – then the game ties.
A total of 8 is also called a natural but a natural 9 will still win over a natural 8. If neither the player nor the banker has a natural then extra cards are drawn. Per the rules the player always draws first in Punto Banco.
Player rules are very simple: if the value totals 6 or 7 the player will stand and draw no further cards. For any total ranging from 0-5, the player will be dealt with one extra card.
Banker rules are the same as the player rules when the player “stands” on their hand, only drawing an extra card if the banker’s value is 0-5. However, if the player has drawn an extra card the rules become complex.
This is the list of rules for the banker when the player is dealt an extra card:
- If the total is 2 or less, then the banker draws a card, no matter what the player’s third card was.
- If the total is 3, the banker draws a third card unless the player’s third card was an 8.
- If the total is 4, the banker draws a third card if the player’s third card was 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.
- If the total is 5, the banker draws a third card if the player’s third card was 4, 5, 6, or 7.
- If the total is 6, the banker draws a third card if the player’s third card was a 6 or 7.
- If the total is 7, the banker makes no extra draw.
Player hand: T8
Banker hand: Q9
In this round both the player and the banker have a natural, the natural 9 of the banker is rated higher however and therefore all bets on the banker win.
Player hand: K6
Banker hand: JA
The total of the player’s hand is 6 here and therefore the player must stand. The banker has a total of 1, no extra cards are drawn by the player and so the banker follows the same rules as the player.
The banker will need to draw an extra card because his total is 0-5. The extra card that is drawn is a 5. Adding the five and ace (one) the total is now 6, just like the player’s hand, and the game results in a tie.
Player hand: 5T
Banker hand: T6
Because the player has a total of 5 as the value of his hand he will now draw an extra card. The extra card is a 7, giving the player a total of 3 (5+7=13 | 13-10=3). When you bet on the banker in this round you would love to stand and win 3 to 6.
The rules are that for a total of three, the banker has to draw as well because the drawn card was not an 8. At this point you don’t want a 4 or a 5, which would lose, also you do not want a 6 because the game would tie. The extra card that comes up is a 5 and so the player hand wins 3 to 1 (6+5=11 | 11-10=1).
Strategy & Money management
Baccarat has a better edge than roulette the American roulette tables offer and similar odds when playing blackjack without any strategy. Because of the favorable house odds for the player, baccarat is a great game to try and run different progressions.
The most important thing here, as with nearly any casino game, is that in the long run, you will always lose. So make sure to set your target profit and maximum loss that you are willing to take and stick to your progression.
This is where free baccarat offers great value because you can test out your strategies at different variations, bet types, and table limits. For extensive betting strategies, check out our money management or free roulette articles!
If you ever find yourself in a land-based casino in New Jersey and you have a hawk-like vision, you can give the strategy called “edge-sorting” a try. Phil Ivey, a world-famous poker player who made millions playing the game of poker, made some significant wins totaling $20 million using this strategy.
It involves identifying the card value by the minuscule differences in the prints at the back of the cards. Atlantic City was one of the cities where Ivey deployed this strategy, but it was later ruled as cheating by some courts.
Now that you are familiar with the game of baccarat, the different styles available, and what odds the different bets are offered, it is time to select your favorite casino for free baccarat!
The most important thing here is that you find an online casino that offers your favorite style of baccarat. You should make sure that you compare the table limits and the deposit bonuses that the online casino offers.
Of course, you will not need to make any deposit to play, but once you are comfortable with the game and have tested your progression it is useful to know you are already at the right place.
Free Baccarat FAQ
Why is Baccarat so popular?
Although Baccarat is not as famous as some more Hollywood Casino games like Blackjack or Roulette, Baccarat has an increasing fan base in the online casino world. Baccarat is popular for two main reasons: the ease of play and the low house odds provided in the game. For starters, the level of difficulty is so low that Baccarat is one of the, if not thé best online casino games to get started with!
With only three main betting options you can hardly go wrong with Baccarat. After placing bets there are no further steps to take or decisions to make, the dealer or the software takes care of the rest. The second reason is that Baccarat has very low house odds which makes it very favorable to run progressions and make some profit from your starting bankroll.
What is the best way to play Baccarat?
With every online casino game that you play this is always a good question to ask and for baccarat the answer is very simple. Because baccarat is a game of pure chance, it involves no skill on the part of the player. Even how the game progresses in case of a tie between the player and the banker is predetermined.
One thing to be aware of is the differences in house advantage which can help you with choosing what strategy to run and what bets to place. The bets on the banker and the player are most favorable in terms of house advantage and both offer even return on your money, except that a bet on the banker will take 5% of your winnings as commission. One good tip: avoid the tie bet at all costs since the house advantage is over 14% on that bet!
There is no skill involved so why play for free?
While it is true that there is no skill involved in the outcome of the game, you are still responsible for placing the bets. The skill part comes in with practicing a certain betting strategy and testing it out on the free baccarat tables. Not only are strategies useful to practice to become quicker in determining your bets, it can also make you a more disciplined player.
In the long run, there is still a house advantage which means that eventually, you will lose if you keep playing. Getting your tactics and playing clear before playing with real money can give you solid preparation and an advantage. If you know your own rules and when to walk away, either with or without profit, you are best equipped for whatever lady luck will throw your way.