Getting tired of the pokies, or want to branch out and give table games a go? You’ll find baccarat available at many of the best casinos on the Web, available to play for free or real money bets. We explain the rules of baccarat, how to play and why this game provides a good online casino alternative for pokies fans.
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Rules of baccarat
When watching a game of baccarat, it’s easy to be tricked into believing this is a sophisticated and complex game. At its core, baccarat (sometimes known as punto banco) is actually incredibly simple.
The aim of the game is easy: place a bet on whether you think the player or the banker will be dealt a better hand, or whether both hands will equal a tie.
The winning hand is whichever one has a value closest to nine points. Using standard punto banco rules, aces count for one point and cards numbered two through nine count at face value. All 10 point cards (that’s 10- J-Q-K) are valued at zero. Any hand that carries a value of higher than 10 points counts only for the second digit, for example, if a hand is valued at 14 points, it will become worth only four points. This means that all hands will always come in at under nine points, so a hand will never bust.
After bets have been placed, the dealer will deal two face-down cards to the player and banker. If either player or banker has what’s known as a “natural” hand (which is a hand valued at eight or nine points), they are the winner. If the hands are the same, it’s considered a tie and all bets push. If neither hand has a natural win, the player will only receive an additional third card if their score is five or less. The banker will only take a third card if the player does, depending on some additional rules.
Technically, you don’t even need to understand the card rankings in order to play, as the dealer takes care of everything. All you need to do is cross your fingers and hope you’ve put your bet on the right choice.
How to play online baccarat for real money
Baccarat is available at many of the best online casinos, including our recommended sites in the table above. If you already have a pokies account with any of these venues, you can use the same account to play both games. If you’re new to online gambling, sign up using our links to take advantage of some exclusive welcome bonuses.
If you’re not sure whether baccarat is the game for you, you can play it at these casinos for free in practice mode. It’s available for instant-play directly over your Web browser, so no downloads are required. If you like the feel of gameplay and feel comfortable placing a wager, you can go ahead and play for real money following these steps:
- Sign up for a casino account and make a deposit using a trusted online payment method.
- Load the baccarat game of your choice – you’ll typically find these under the ‘table game’ category.
- Select the size of your bet by clicking the corresponding betting chip at the bottom of the game table.
- Move the betting chip to your desired place on the betting table, placing a bet on either player, banker or tie.
- Hit the ‘play’ or ‘deal’ button and watch as the cards are dealt, with the winning hand being clearly labelled on the game screen.
- If you predicted correctly, your winnings will be automatically paid to your online casino account.
Live dealer baccarat
If you’re wary about playing table games online due to the RNG (random number generator) software used, live dealer baccarat might be right up your alley. Live dealer casino games are hosted by real human dealers, and streamed live to your computer with the use of high-definition web cams. Here you get to watch the results unfold before your eyes, while still enjoying the comfort and convenience of being able to play anonymously from home.
Live dealer baccarat also makes a great choice for the more social players, with leading live software providing the option of chatting with other players and sometimes even the dealer. If you’d like to replicate the atmosphere of playing in a land based casino, give live dealer baccarat a go. You’ll find these live titles available at several of our recommended casinos, available for real money bets only.
Is baccarat suited to pokies players?
In theory, baccarat and the pokies have nothing in common. One is an electronic video game that uses animation and computerised graphics to create spinning symbols that need to line up in specific combinations to earn a prize. The other is a sophisticated card game dealt by an experienced croupier at high-end casino tables, or using advanced RNG software when playing online. However, at the core of both of these games, the most important factor is the same – luck.
Both baccarat and the pokies rely on nothing more than good old fashioned luck to win. You can employ whatever kind of strategies you like, but there is nothing you can do to influence the outcome of either of these games. Because of its luck-based nature, baccarat is suited to pokies fans who are looking to branch out and try something different between spins on the slots, with no particular skills required in order to play.
For instant access to online baccarat games, we recommend Raging Bull Casino as our top-rated casino site for players from United States, which has some excellent welcome bonuses available for new players along with hundreds of other real money casino games to choose from, with no downloads required.