Whilst Blackjack reigns supreme in most Western countries, Baccarat is Asia’s favorite table game. It’s a simple game that has been around for centuries, with many variants appearing throughout that time. The most well-known of these are “Chemin de fer”, commonly known as European Baccarat today, and “Punto Banco”, which has become so popular that it is commonly labeled simply as Baccarat in most cases you will visit (or play online!) today. On that note, let’s take a look at this modern version of the game first, as all of the others are likely to be descendants of it.
Baccarat (Punto Banco)
As mentioned previously, visit a popular online casino such as 32Red today and the game you will see if you choose “Baccarat” will, in fact, be Punto Banco. This makes a lot of sense for an online casino – “full-fat” baccarat does allow the player to make more decisions than this version of the game, but this slows down the number of hands per hour by as much as 300%. If you do like the slower pace of the older style of Baccarat, keep an eye on the 32Red news section as new variations of Live Dealer Baccarat are being announced there all the time!
On the casino floor, Baccarat is usually seen as a very exclusive and high-end game – even Punto Banco tables tend to have very high limits to ensure that the game remains exclusive – and therefore expensive! Thankfully, that is not the case here, although Blackjack players are still likely to be surprised by the minimum bet of £/$/€5 per hand rather than the £/$/€1 they are used to.
In Punto Banco, there are five possible bets – the main bet is on the winner of the hand, which can be either the player or the banker, and you can also bet on a Player or Banker pair as well. The player and banker each receive two initial cards, and a slightly complex set of drawing rules determines whether the player gets a third card, which, in turn, decides if the banker will draw a third card too.
The odds are essentially 50/50 in this game, meaning the casino has to take a 5% commission on the banker bet (the one with the slight edge) to remain profitable. This leads us nicely into our next game…
No Commission Baccarat
At first glance, No Commission Baccarat looks identical to the regular game – the same five bets are available, with the same 5.00 unit minimum and 500.00 maximum wagers. So, what is going on here? It’s very simple – a few tweaks to the drawing rules make both players completely equal in this version of the game, therefore there is no advantage to betting on the banker in No Commission Baccarat as there is in almost every other variant of the game. –
Live Dealer – Lightning Baccarat
This is a really exciting live dealer variant of Baccarat that you simply must try if you haven’t seen it yet! Every hand features between one and five lightning cards, each with a 2x to 8x multiplier. A 20% premium is added to your state for this. The regular game remains the same – you can bet on the player, the dealer, or a tie, and even the pair side bets are available here as well.
As a live dealer game, you get to watch the cards being dealt by a human dealer at a professional table – usually an attractive female – and the first thing you’ll want to do is see which lightning cards match those drawn from the shoe – some of them may not match, whilst others will only match if the player or dealer draws a third card. At least one lightning card always seems to be in effect, however, so you can be sure that either the player or dealer will end up being multiplied by 2x – not bad for a 20% premium! Gest keep your fingers crossed you bet on the right side, though, I think!
Note that there are several more of these live dealer baccarat games you should check out too – Golden Wealth Baccarat, Baccarat Squeeze, Real Baccarat with Holly, and Peek Baccarat Live, just to get you started! Live dealer games really are where it’s at when it comes to Baccarat – if this is your game you would be mad to miss these!
And let’s just finish on a slightly predictable – but no less important – variant that Microgaming likes to create as an alternative to the regular versions of their games. Baccarat Gold is essentially the same game as the regular Baccarat, except it’s much prettier, looks more professional, and may have added features depending on your jurisdiction such as fast play/auto play and similar enhancements. If you are going to play a computer-generated variant (as opposed to a live dealer variant), you may as well go for the best one available, right?