Baccarat is a top favourite in Australia’s most prestigious land-based casinos, such as the Crown and the Star. It’s the game of choice for many celebrities and a favourite of the legendary 007 himself, so it’s no wonder why the online equivalent has also been gaining traction over the last couple of decades.
In other parts of the world, the game is known as Punto Banco, Chemin de fer, or Baccarat Banque. In gambling meccas like Atlantic City, Vegas, and Macau, you can also find the exotic variation of the game — Mini Baccarat. And the best part about playing these games online? Aussie players can try their hand at all of them with the top online casinos recommended at Rick Picks!
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History of Baccarat
It is believed that the traditional game of baccarat dates back to 14th century France and was created by an Italian called Felix Falguiere. The word itself derives from the word “Baccara” which is the Italian word for zero. The game is also said to be based on an old Etruscan legend that depicts a virgin throwing a nine-sided dice to decide her fate.
The story goes that if the virgin rolled anything lower than a 6, she would be banished to the sea forever. If the dice landed on a 6 or 7, she wouldn’t be able to take part in any future religious ceremonies or events but would be allowed to keep her life. If she rolled an 8 or a 9, she would be granted the status of a high priestess. Even though no players have been banished to the sea, rolling a 6 is considered an unlucky move in the game today.
Since Felix Falguiere introduced the game to the modern world, it migrated across to regions like the Caribbean and South America, where it started to earn its other cultural names. By the 1950s, the rules changed so that players could only go up against the house. This was when baccarat became known as “American Baccarat.” It was also around this time that a man named Tommy Renzoni brought the game to Las Vegas’s Sand Casino.
Soon, other casinos in Sin City hooked on to this new and exciting pastime. Most casino operators saw the game as a fresh marketing opportunity to bring in a new type of clientele. They campaigned for this by creating special baccarat rooms kitted out with plush furniture, velvet curtains, and fancy decor. The casinos also set high table limits and betting requirements for those that wanted to try it out. From this point onwards, baccarat became recognized as a game of sophistication and class — especially among high rollers.
Today, you don’t have to be a secret agent or have pockets full of cash to play baccarat. There are numerous formats available for Aussie players to access and play online, no matter how big their bankroll is!
How to Play Online Baccarat
Baccarat is pretty straightforward compared to casino games like blackjack or craps. The object is to achieve a hand that’s as close to nine as possible. Before any cards are dealt, players must bet on either the player or the banker to win, or bet on a tie.
The dealer will hand out two cards to the player and the banker. The hands are then scored by the value of what each hand adds up to. Face cards such as Jacks, Queens and Kings account for zero, plus tens. All other cards are valued according to their rank, and an Ace card counts for 1.
Neither hand can exceed a value of 9, and it’s only the last digit in the score that counts, i.e., a hand that equates to 12 will be worth 2 points. The lowest hand is zero, and the best hand is nine.
Rules for the Player in Online Baccarat
There are always two cards dealt to both parties to begin with, but depending on the scores for either hand, one or both may end up taking a third card. If such events arise:
Neither hand will receive any more cards if a hand achieves 8 or 9. This rule cannot be changed.
If the player achieves a hand of 5 or less, they will receive a third card and stand if they have a hand valued at 6 or more.
When a player stands, the dealer will execute the player rule by taking a card with 5 or less, and standing if they achieve 6 or more.
If the player hits, the banker may or may not take a third card based on whatever score combination the banker has and what the player’s third card is revealed to be.
Rules for the Banker in Online Baccarat
In any of the situations above, the banker will need to apply the following rules:
The banker hits if they have a hand of 2 or less.
If the banker has a hand of 3, they will hit unless the player reveals an 8 as the third card.
If the banker has a hand that equates to 4, they will hit if the player’s third card is between 2 and 7.
If the banker has a hand equal to 5, the banker will hit if the player’s card is between 4 and 7.
If the banker has 6, they will hit if the player has a third card of 6 or 7.
The banker will always stand if their hand equates to 7.
Online Baccarat Strategy
If you choose to play baccarat at online casinos in Australia, these strategy tips can help you get to grips with the game and maximize your chances of seeing a return on your bets. When playing baccarat, some things to consider are the house edge for betting on the banker or the player.
The banker has the lowest house edge in this game, sitting at 1.06%. The player bet, on the other hand, has a house edge of 1.24%. The bet with the worst possible house edge is the tie bet, which sits between 4.85% and delivers a payout of 8:1, while a tie with a house edge of 14.4% produces a payout of 9:1.
Most seasoned baccarat players will tell you to steer well clear of the tie bet unless you’re confident in the hand value for both parties. The banker bet is considered the bet that is the most likely to produce a payout.
Other Variations of Online Baccarat
Some Australian online casinos have entirely different baccarat games on top of the classic varieties. Microgaming is one of the driving forces behind many of these games, and each one offers something unique when it comes to playing.
Baccarat Gold – This is the most advanced and realistic format of baccarat from Microgaming. It features top-end graphics that simulate the feels and thrills of playing the game in a land-based casino. The only difference is, players can enjoy every last minute of gameplay from the comfort of their home.
High Limit Baccarat – High Limit Baccarat is, as the name implies, a version that works with high wagering requirements and 8 x 52-card decks in the virtual shoe. All of the cards are dealt face down, but you have the option to look at your cards before any more are dealt i.e., if you need a third card to play with.
Live Dealer Baccarat – Any casino game that’s played with a live dealer is a great way to bring the action of a real casino straight to your own screen. Players have the option to choose between single or multiplayer tables, with a live dealer there to accept their bets and guide them through the game.
Traditional Baccarat – This is the classic version of the game that works with a 52-card deck. The game can also be played at a miniature table.
Playing Baccarat Online for Real Money
There are some big advantages to playing online baccarat for real money. While you can practice any version of baccarat for free at our recommended online casinos — which is definitely worthwhile if you’re not too familiar with the rules — the real pleasure comes from playing for cold hard cash.
Most online casinos also offer bonuses to play with certain variations of the game. If you want to earn great rewards and experience the joys and highs of this popular card game, be sure to check out our top-ranked online baccarat casinos especially for Australian players.
Online Baccarat FAQs
- Should I bet on the banker every time when playing online baccarat?
The banker bet is most certainly the safest betting market to go for in online baccarat, simply because the house edge is only 1.06%, paying out 1:1. This means you have a much higher probability of winning with this option, but the player bet can also be a good choice because the house edge is only a little bit higher, sitting at 1.24% with the same payout ratio. The tie bet is by far the worse possible bet you could opt for because the house edge sits at a whopping 14.1%; however, if your prediction is right with this one, you can expect a payout of 8:1 or 9:1 depending on the units in the hand.
- Can I play baccarat online for free?
Absolutely you can! At most online baccarat casinos, you can find the option to play in demo mode. This lets you try the game out without needing to place any funds in your bankroll, and in most cases, you aren’t even required to register an account. Once you’ve built up your confidence and skill in the game, you can switch to playing for real money any time you desire.
- What are the card values in online baccarat?
The values of the cards are different from most conventional card games. All numbered cards are considered the “high” cards as it were, but they depict their original values, i.e., a five is a five, six is a six, etc. Tens and face cards do not count for anything in this game, while the ace represents a single value of 1.
- Is it safe to play online baccarat?
There is a myriad of online casinos that aren’t licensed to operate or accept Australian players. So if you were to sign up with one of these casinos, the chances are the baccarat games aren’t exactly going to be reliable or safe to play either. The best way to make sure the casino you play at is legit is to check that they are licensed before you register. You should also read up on trusted feedback from other players who have gambled there or choose a recommended online casino such as the ones we suggest here at Rick’s Picks.