October 27, 2015

Live Baccarat

Play Live Baccarat

Although it’s something of an old game, Baccarat still hasn’t lost any of its charm. This card game can provide hours of entertainment because of its low house edge and easy rules.

Live Baccarat is a fast-paced, thrilling and highly straightforward card game played in casinos all over the world. It’s a game of luck over strategy and decision making, which makes each hand exhilarating, and offers favourable odds for the player when compared to other casino games (an approximate 1.06% house edge). For decades, Baccarat was closely associated to high-rollers, but in reality, it’s the house that decides the odds for each Baccarat table and there are many live dealer (mini-) Baccarat tables playable with low limits online these days. In fact, live online Baccarat has, in contemporary times, served to bring live Baccarat to the masses, thereby boosting its popularity considerably. In short, for those who enjoy placing a wager or two without having to wreck their brains with strategy and decision making, Baccarat is the essential casino game. In fact, while it is always recommendable for players to know the rules to any casino game they try their hand at, one may be forgiven for playing Baccarat without knowing the details to the game’s rules. This is because the game does not demand a player’s exclusive concentration. We’ll explain why below.

Live Baccarat

The Aim of the Game

In Baccarat, the player will be placing bets on one of two hands, the Player hand and the Banker hand. The player may also bet on a tie. The aim of the game is for the player to predict which of the two hands ends up with a value closer to 9.

Baccarat History

There are several different versions of Baccarat history out there and much research has been carried out to discover the single truth in this regard. While some versions attribute the invention of the game of Baccarat to the French, others say it originated in Italy. Some accounts also assimilate the game to the Chinese classic Pai Gow and therefore infer that the game of Baccarat has its origins in Asia. Well, the truth is that we may never know when and where this age-old casino classic was invented.

What we do know however, is that the game’s first mention in contemporary print (as ‘Baccara’ at the time) dates back to the early 1800s and later, in 1866 to be precise, the game of ‘Baccarat’ was written about on the British daily The Daily Telegraph. So, while the game’s origins may be unknown, its rise in popularity and evolution, first in Europe, then across the rest of the world, were well documented.

In the latter part of the 19th Century, the Baccarat version known as Punto Banco began to gain popularity in the UK and was also exported to the USA. The French played a different version of the game at the time, known as Chemin de Fer, which is still popular today, but we’ll get to the different Baccarat variations later in this article.

Baccarat’s rise in popularity came from an episode widely known as the Royal Baccarat Scandal (A.K.A the Tranby Croft Affair of 1891). To cut a very long story very short, a decorated serviceman by the name of William Gordon Cumming was involved in a legal battle involving British Royals over accusations of cheating in a Baccarat game played at the Tranby Croft in Yorkshire. Due to the Royals’ involvement, the story received much attention from the press at the time and indirectly, so did the game of Baccarat. Many newspapers also went as far as to publish the game’s rules in their reporting of the affair, thereby creating the hype necessary for the game’s popularity explosion.

Having become a casino standard, Baccarat’s popularity continued to grow throughout the 20th Century and a second big break came for the game in 1953, when the legendary Ian Flemming  published the first of his James Bond series of books. This was called Casino Royale and the storyline revolved around a game of high-stakes Baccarat.

Whether this was what gave the game of Baccarat its image or not is debatable, it was, after all, known as a game for Royals due to the Tranby Croft Affair. But the image built for the game was – and to some extent still is – certainly one of a high-stakes game played exclusively by the elite. In fact, even today, many brick & mortar casinos tend to rope off the Baccarat area so as to have high-rollers play with an element of secrecy.

This image was changed to a considerable degree with the advent of online casinos. Since the online gaming boom, which began in the late 20th Century, the game of Baccarat has been brought to the masses. Not only did playing a game of Baccarat become cheaper due to the logistical benefits of playing online, but online casinos thought it profitable to introduce several low-stakes (Mini Baccarat) tables which everybody could afford to play at.

And this brought the beloved game of Baccarat to where it is today; being played by people of every stripe from all over the world, for both high and low stakes.

Live Baccarat

Live baccarat is even more entertaining, as you play side by side with other players from all over the world. It is not surprising that Baccarat was one of the first online casino games to be turned into a live game. Make yourself comfortable at home, grab a drink and experience the feeling of sitting at a real baccarat table with a real-life dealer on the other side of your screen! 

Playtech Live Casino

With the emergence of live casinos, not only can you bring the experience of the casino to your sofa at home, but you can watch other players place their bets as well; the contact with a charming live dealer gives the whole experience another dimension. With a dealer shuffling the cards and you following all the acts through a live stream, live casinos emphasise a fair process throughout the game. All the aspects you have on a real baccarat table are available on your screen and the excitement of winning stays the same. Live baccarat is one of the best and most accessible card games there is! 

Why play Baccarat live and online?

Let’s start with what’s great about playing Baccarat online. For starters, it’s about accessibility. Online Baccarat is more accessible due to the logistics involved in actually getting to a land-based casino as well as because of the further accessibility brought to people by mobile online casinos. With regular online casinos, one may play from the comfort of his or her own home, while with mobile online casinos, one may play from anywhere with an internet connection, even while on the go. Secondly, as it is with playing any casino game, playing online is always far less costly. Besides the logistical aspect of physically getting to a land-based casino – which may cost a bundle – being eliminated, online players save on attire, food, drinks, accommodation and the like. Thirdly, for the beginners out there, who would like to try their hand at the game and have been deterred by the high stakes normally placed on Baccarat tables in land-based casinos, the multiple low limit tables available online are a great way to get acquainted with the timeless classic.

But where’s the fun in playing Baccarat without the live, social interaction that is so central to the game when played in your average brick and mortar type of casino? We hear you. Well, that’s where the benefits of playing ‘Live’ online Baccarat come in. Playing live dealer versions of the game offers all of the above as well as the opportunity to interact with other players and the real live dealer. It’s a no brainer really! And the benefits don’t end there. There are bonuses which online casinos regularly attach to playing live dealer Baccarat online and the vast majority of live dealer versions come with an easily navigable interface that allows you access to information regarding the game’s rules and gameplay, hand history, and more! So, the combination of a genuine casino atmosphere and the above benefits of playing online make live dealer online Baccarat a flagship casino experience.

Rules

Live baccarat is all about getting as close as possible to 9, first with the first two cards of the hand and then a possible third card which may or may not be dealt depending on which rules you are playing on. If a hand has a total face amount of 9 or 8, it is a so-called natural hand. A  natural hand wins, unless the bank hand is showing an 8 or a 9 as well. A 9 always wins over an 8 though.

In most live casinos, live baccarat is played with 6 decks. They will be put into the shoe and the dealer will draw them until there are 7 cards left. After this, all the cards will be shuffled again and put back into the shoe. Before every hand gets two cards, the players must  place bets. You have three possible bet options with live baccarat:

Punto: you bet on the player hand being better than the bank’s. This can be by a natural hand or after drawing a third card. However, if the bank has the better hand you lose your bet. Payout ratio on this bet is usually of 1:1.

Banco: You bet on the bank’s hand being the better one. The same as with the previous bet, you only win when the bank wins by a natural hand or by drawing the third card (this is only possible if the player hasn’t passed). Betting on the bank is always more recommendable as the stakes are higher on this bet. The live casino knows this and you always pay 5% commission to the bank with this bet. Payout ration on this bet is usually of 0.95:1 (same as that of punto, less commission).

Egalité: you bet on the player  having cards of equal value as the bank. The chances are not big with this bet, so the payout is higher, however, long term it will cost you money though. Payout ratio is usually 8:1, but can even be 9:1 in some casinos, so watch out for that! ).

The House Edge

As with every other choice of betting, there is a house edge implied. In the case of the banker winning, the house edge is that of 0.06%.  The house edge for the player winning is that of 1.24% and the house edge for there to be a tie between the banker and the dealer is at 14.36%, so naturally, we advise you to play for the banker to win every time as you stand a better chance of winning at that in the long run!

The Game

After the bets have been placed, the cards can be dealt. Although the terms punto and banco are referred to as player and banker in English, this can be misleading, as neither the dealer, nor you as a player are dealt any cards in the most common version in America, which is Mini Baccarat. Player simply refers to the Punto hand while Banker refers to the Banco hand. This is not to be confused with the Punto Banco version of Baccarat, but don’t worry about all the versions, they will be explained in detail later. So with that out of the way, let us start off with how to play. The punto and banco are each dealt 2 cards. There are then a set of rules that determine whether or not a third card can be dealt:

If the player has a natural hand (a total amount of 8 or 9), he wins unless the dealer has a natural hand as well (9 wins over 8 though). The total amount of points in the cards will be counted, if the amount is higher than 10, the last digit in the number counts. So a total of 17, would be 7 points. Aces amount to 1 point and Jacks, Queens and Kings count as 10.

If a player has a total of 6 or 7, he passes and the bank passes as well – but only if the total of the bank is higher than 5. If a player has 5 or less, he takes a third card and the bank may only draw a third card with the following certain rules.

If the bank has 7, it always passes.

If the bank has 6, it takes a third card only if the player has a 6 or a 7 as third card.

If the bank has 5, it takes a third card if the player has a 4, 5, 6 or a 7 as a third card.

If the bank has a 4, it can only take a third card if the player’s third card is anything but a 0 (a 9 with a Jack, Queen or King), a 1, 8 or a 9.

If the bank has 3, he can only take a third card if the player’s third card isn’t an 8.

With anything lower than 3, the bank takes a third card.

Strategy

At Baccarat tables in land-based casinos, one would often spot players writing down the outcome of each hand. When playing live online Baccarat, this is all done for you and the information is accessible with the touch of a button or click of a mouse. There is much to say about employing proper Baccarat strategy but here, we shall keep things concise. It is always advisable to bet on the Banker hand, after all, the rules of the game make it the most likely hand to win, albeit by a small margin. Unlike Blackjack, Baccarat is not a casino card game in which it makes sense to try and count the cards. It requires far more complicated calculations to do so and the house edge is not reduced as considerably. Try and avoid the Paroli, Martingale, Labouchere and any other system that may have you think you’ve beaten the game. You haven’t. Such systems don’t reduce the house edge and you will see this for yourself if you try and test any such system over time. The best tips anyone may give when it comes to live Baccarat strategy is to play using a specifically allocated bankroll, to set a limit for any losses you may incur and to never play beyond your means. Always play for fun and never gamble what you cannot afford to lose.

Software Platforms offering Live Baccarat

There’s no shortage of software platforms offering Live Dealer Baccarat. With a constant and seemingly unabating rise in players choosing to play live games over your regular RNG casino games, many software companies’ focus is also shifting to providing live dealer platforms to some extent.

And with so many software providers around, selecting a preferred option may not come easily. Yes, the vast majority of online gamers don’t choose where to play based on the software behind the games; they tend to go by other criteria. But the software can and will make or break a Live Baccarat experience!

Just like everything else in life, there are good and bad software platforms for Live Baccarat out there and few are the players who have the time and required concern to sift through the lot to determine which are the best.

This is where mrlive.com comes in. We ARE concerned with your software provider of choice because an enjoyable Live Baccarat experience on your part is our ultimate goal. That is why we take the time to examine live casino software platforms with a fine-toothed comb and bring to you the crème de la crème of software platforms by means of our dedicated software page.

So make sure you pay our software page a visit to see which are the best platforms at providing you with an inspiring Live Baccarat experience.

Top Casinos for Live Baccarat

We stated above that there are plenty of software platforms supplying casinos with their dedicated version of Live Baccarat. Well then, can you imagine how many live casinos there are out there offering the game? It’s incalculable!

And with live dealer trends running as they are, the number is ever-growing. Because we are aware of how daunting and taxing a task it is for you to determine which of the many live casinos is the appropriate choice for your gaming requirements, we have taken (and continue to take) the time to audit live casinos and rate them according to our own, predetermined standards. When we find a recommendable live casino, we list it in our list of recommended casinos for live casino gaming.

So be sure to visit our live casino page for an analysis of the best online venues for Live Baccarat.

The Card Squeeze

Sometimes, mostly in Asia, cards are not dealt face up in a game of Baccarat, but rather face down, hidden from the players at the table. Only a chosen player is allowed to take a peek, and even then it is only a tiny peek at the cards where the value of the cards is covered. The only thing that the player sees is a fraction of the right and left of each of the cards, in order to use the number of suits he sees to be one step closer to guessing what the card number could be. This is not done in a straightforward manner but in the form of a ritual where the person squeezing the card expertly covers the value of the card, and goes through an elaborate ritual in uncovering parts of it. Watching it done live is a great experience, and definitely worth searching for a live online casino who offers this Baccarat option! The card squeeze always attracts more players than any other Baccarat table in a given casino, and this can easily also be seen in an live casino online. Now in a live online casino you can’t exactly reach into the screen to squeeze the cards. The closest you can get to playing this version of Baccarat in live online, is the Premium Baccarat with Card Peak. This is definitely worth a try if the squeeze is your thing. Also, if you’re on Apple, there’s an app called ‘VIP Baccarat – Squeeze’ that lets you experience the whole squeeze ritual for yourself.Live baccarat squeeze

Superstition around Baccarat

There is a lot of superstition surrounding the squeezing of the card. It is no secret that the Chinese, for example, are a very superstitious bunch. It is commonly believed in China that the ritual by which you squeeze a card can change its value. Other rituals that the Chinese believe to be lucky before revealing a Baccarat hand are to blow on the cards, or to stab the cards with a pen.

Dragon Tiger

This is not a version of Baccarat, but the similarities between the two games mean that you would be forgiven for thinking that it is. In this game, the hands are called Dragon and Tiger. A player may bet on either one or on a tie. The payout on either one is 1:1 and the payout for a tie is 8:1. The hands are then each given a card and the highest card simply wins, in the fashion of the loved home game ‘War’. The difference here is that the King is the highest card and the Ace is the lowest.

baccarat superstition

Live Baccarat Bet Limits

The minimum and maximum bet limits for Live Baccarat vary from Casino to casino and sometimes from one version to another of the same casino. In the range of live casinos we researched, the minimum bet for Live Baccarat ranged from 0.5 to 10; whereas the maximum bet ranges from 50 to 30,000. As you can see these are very wide ranges indeed so, as usual, we ask you to check with the live casino of your choice in order to make sure that you are prepared to play Live Baccarat within their limits.

A live baccarat croupier knows exactly what he or she is doing so don’t worry if you forget about these rules. All you have to do is place the right bet and wish for the best during the game. In live casino, if you don’t understand something in the game, you can chat with your dealer and he will always give you enough time to place the correct bet. Whatever version of Baccarat you decide to play, we recommend you try out all the bets at least once, so you know what they are like.

The Main Baccarat Variations

There are a number of variations on the game of Baccarat and many of them are played in casinos all over the world. However, there are some – four in particular – which are far more distinguished than others. These are the aforementioned Punto Banco, Chemin de Fer, Baccarat Banque and Mini Baccarat. There are slight differences between each of them, so let’s go through them one by one.

Punto Banco: The overwhelming majority of Baccarat games played in the world today are of the Punto Banco variant, and this includes the baccarat games played in the gambling hotspots that are the United States and Macau. More often than not however, these games are simply called ‘Baccarat’ rather than being labelled as Punto Banco.

In Punto Banco, the house is always going to bet on Banco (the Banker hand) and is required to play out both the Punto and Banco hands according to a strict set of rules known as the ‘tableau.’ In fact, some French speakers refer to this version of Baccarat as ‘Tableau’ rather than Punto Banco.

The words Punto (Player) and Banco (Banker) are simply the titles given to the dealt out hands on every coup (round) and have nothing to do with the persons playing the  game and the dealer or house.

We shall not go into the details of how this variation is played, for all of the above rules and game play pertain to  Punto Banco. Let’s take a look at the other three variations and see how they differ.

Chemin de Fer: This is an earlier Baccarat variation than Punto Banco (many claim it’s in fact the original) and is still very popular in France, where Baccarat is a widely played casino game.  In Baccarat Chemin de Fer (rail-road in French), the aim of the game and values of the cards remains the same as in Punto Banco.

But there are several differences. Firstly, the casino or croupier does not play the Banker’s role. Rather, one of the players at the table is designated as Banker. The roll of Banker is passed around the table, but players may pass on playing Banker if they wish to do so. The player designated as Banker decides how much he/she wants to wager at the start of each coup and the rest of the players must, on aggregate, match the banker’s bet.

Rather than the cards being shuffled and dealt by the croupier, each of the players at the table gets a chance to shuffle and deal, with the shoe rotating from one player to the other following every coup.

Since players are designated as Player or Banker, they do not get to choose whether to place their bet on the Player or Banker hands. In Chemin de Fer, this is determined by the players’ designation.

The house’s role in Chemin de Fer is just twofold; to ensure that the rules of the game are followed fairly and to provide all of the necessary equipment for the game to be played. So, how does the house profit from hosting the game if it doesn’t actually participate? Simple; it takes a cut of all winning Banker hands. This normally amounts to 5%.

There’s another important difference between Punto Banco and Chemin de Fer. While the play in Punto Banco is all determined by the aforementioned tableau, in Chemin de Fer, the player and banker may choose whether to draw a third card or not if a natural isn’t hit by either the Banker or the Player hands.

Since only one player is designated as Banker and the others on the table are all Players (or Punters), the latter group is represented by the player among them with the largest bet on the table. It is this player who decides whether the Player hand is dealt a third card or not.

Baccarat Banque: This version of Baccarat is another that is rarely, if ever, found in the US. You would find it in a few European casinos though. It is very similar to Chemin de Fer, with one outstanding, very important difference. The Banker (and dealer) doesn’t change until the shoe is depleted – unless he/she runs out of funds or forfeits the Banker title. It is the croupier that chooses the Banker out of the players sitting at the table. This is normally either the player with the largest bankroll or the first player to the croupier’s right hand side.

One other difference between Baccarat Banque and Chemin de Fer is that the former is normally played with a smaller shoe (more often than not, a 3-deck shoe).

Other than that, the Banque version is just like Chemin de Fer; all the drawing rules and values remain the same.

Mini Baccarat: Of the different variants listed in this article, this is the only non-classic. Mini Baccarat is a popular version played online because it’s a version for the masses. What makes Mini Baccarat so popular are its affordability and casual image. In other words, the stakes at a Mini Baccarat table are far lower than those in any other version and the image is one of casual conversation and a few laughs over banter, not one of tuxedos, champagne and cigars.

Other than that, Mini Baccarat is very similar to Punto Banco and it’s perhaps the most widely-played version of Baccarat in the world.

Live Baccarat on Smartphone

So, you’ve understood the benefits of playing online, as well as the thrill of playing live; now, consider the convenience of playing Live Online Baccarat on your smartphone! Not only can you play from the comfort of your own home rather than having to visit a land-based casino, but you can play from… well, anywhere! Just as long as you’ve got an internet connection.

Other than that, regardless of where you are, all you have to do is reach into your pocket, whip out your phone and log onto your chosen casino of choice to play Live Baccarat in an instant.

The ‘live’ trend is not the only one in the business. People are also playing on Mobile Casinos these days and it doesn’t seem like the mobile fever is about to die down any time soon. So needless to say, we’re not shocked at the number of software platforms providing live casino games on mobile.

We just want you to know that there are certain tips and hints worth knowing if you’re looking to play on mobile. So visit our dedicated guide to playing live casino games on mobile if this is what you intend to do.

Live Baccarat on Tablet

If you’ve already been struck by the mobile fever, then you might want to consider playing on a tablet. You think playing Live Baccarat on your phone’s great? Then you haven’t tried it on a tablet yet. The screen’s bigger, which makes the game look and feel better and playing it, easier. The mobile aspect is still there, so if you can live with the “burden” of carrying a slightly larger mobile device around, playing Live Baccarat on a tablet’s certainly the way forward for you.

Playing live games on a tablet is an experience in and of itself. We tell you all about it in our special guide to playing live casino games on tablet.

Top Tip: Remember; it’s all about having fun. Never play beyond your financial means and play as long as you enjoy doing so. Here at mrlive.com, we are constantly on the lookout for the best Live Baccarat casinos, the latest software developments and the best Live Baccarat bonuses in the sector. So make sure you stay with us through your Live Baccarat experience and we will guide you at every step of the way. One last thing to keep in mind… The more often you play live baccarat, the smoother everything goes – PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!