Baccarat is one of the most exciting casino games to play, and it is available in almost every land-based and online casino with various baccarat variations. After several decades, this game is still very popular among gamers because of its simple rules, low house edge and potentially great winning chances.
There are numerous baccarat variations out there. Each variation has its unique attributes that makes it distinct from the others. However, they all follow the same basic game rules. This article examines the different baccarat variations available, from mini baccarat to punto banco.
Fundamentals of Baccarat Gameplay
Before delving into the different variants, a quick introduction to standard baccarat gameplay is in order. The objective of this game is to bet on the hand that you think will have a point total closest to 9. There are only three betting options in baccarat: a banker bet, a player bet and a tie bet. Once the participating players have made all their bets, the dealer shuts down the portal and declares, “No more bets.”
The next point of action is the dealing of cards. Two cards are dealt to the banker side and player side of the table. Note that the ‘player hand' is not referring to you, but to one of the betting options laid out on the table.
Depending on the values of the cards dealt, a third card may be dealt to both sides. This is most common where the hand values after the first set of cards have low totals. In baccarat, double-digit numbers are taken at unit value, so 12 is considered as 2, 13 as 3, and so on. In other words, any 10-value card is null.
The best outcome is a ‘natural', where the hand total is 8 or 9 points. In this case, the hand with this value wins, and no further cards are dealt.
Traditional baccarat is the oldest and most basic version of the game. Payout odds on the player hand are 1:1. Banker bets also come at odds of 1:1. However, a 5% commission applies to this bet, so the payout becomes 1:0.95.
The tie bet comes with an 8:1 payout, and this increased payout is a result of the low chance of this outcome happening. The odds of a tie coming through in mini baccarat are 9.52%, while the banker and player bet odds are 44.62% and 45.86%, respectively.
One factor that players need to consider before opting for this game is the house edge. This is the casino's advantage over players, and it is expressed as a percentage of players' bets. As far as traditional baccarat is concerned, the banker bet house edge is 1.06%, and that of the player bet is 1.24%. The tie bet comes in at 14.36%, as it is much less likely to occur.
Among the different variations available to players, mini baccarat is one of the most popular. It is known for its low minimum bets, big payout potential and other great features. It follows the basic game rules of traditional baccarat. However, it's called ‘mini' because it is played on a smaller version of the normal table.
This game is played with eight card decks and permits up to seven players on a table. Here, the objective remains to bet on the hand with a value closer to 9.
Chemin de Fer
This popular variant of baccarat involves players going against each other. As the game's name suggests, it originated in France and has grown to become a global version of baccarat in almost every casino.
Chemin de fer does not require an in-house dealer. Here, players take turns playing the dealer. In a land-based casino, the first player is offered a chance to be the dealer, and this appointment stands until the player loses. The role then passes to the next player in a counter-clockwise direction. In the role of the dealer, players will have to deal the cards while placing their stake on the round.
This baccarat variation uses six shuffled decks of cards and accommodates up to 12 seating positions.
After a dealer is selected, players have to place their stakes. An interesting rule in chemin de fer is that players can only bet up to the amount that the appointed dealer is willing to stake.
In this baccarat variation, the dealers only deal cards to the banker and the player side. Afterwards, it plays out like traditional baccarat. Whichever hand value is closest to 9 wins, and players who have bet on that hand will win. The casino also gets a 5% commission on banker winning bets in chemin de fer.
This is a popular baccarat variant and actually has a couple of nicknames. In some parts of the world, baccarat gamers recognize this variation as baccarat à deux tableaux, or baccarat on two tables. This is because baccarat banque is played on two conjoined tables that accommodate 10 to 16 players.
Another unique aspect of this variation is that it is played with three card decks as opposed to others that use six (chemin de fer) or eight card decks (punto banco). In this variation, the role of the dealer goes to the player who has placed the highest wager. It is not rotated like in chemin de fer, but stays with that player until the cards in the shoe are depleted, or their bankroll runs out.
As opposed to chemin de fer, this game has two player hands and one banker hand. Whoever acts as the banker can only bet on the banker hand, while other players can bet on one or both player hands. Note that in the baccarat banque variation, there is no tie option.
After dealing the first set of cards, the dealer distributes the second set of cards, and a third wave may also be sent out, depending on the hand values currently attained. Any natural hand wins. Where there is more than one natural, the higher total between 8 and 9 wins.
This is another popular variation of baccarat with French origins. In this game, the casino is completely in charge of the bank. In fact, the dealer makes almost all the decisions according to punto banco rules.
The game starts with placing your bet on the player's (punto) hand, the banker's (banco) hand or a tie. After the bets are placed, the dealer shares two cards each to the two hands on the table. At this point, the dealer evaluates the different hand values and decides on whether to deal additional third cards.
Below are the rules that influence whether or not the punto or banco hand gets a third card:
- The dealer draws a third card for the punto hand if the total value is 5 points or less.
- The above rule applies to the banco hand if the punto hand does not get a third card.
- A banco hand with two points or less gets the third card regardless of the punto hand.
The winning method is the same as in traditional baccarat. The hand value closest to 9 comes out on top.
Super 6/Punto 2000
This is another variation of baccarat, and it is either played on six or eight decks. Super 6 Baccarat, also known as Punto 2000, stands out for the added side bet, which allows players to stake on the banker hand winning with a hand value of 6. When this happens, the resulting payout is 12:1. This is considerably more than what you get in the standard baccarat game, as all banker winning bets offer even payouts regardless of the hand value attained. Besides this side bet, Super 6 Baccarat follows the rules and gameplay of a standard baccarat game.
How to Choose the Right Baccarat varation?
The right baccarat variation for you is highly dependent on your gaming strategy and bankroll. If you go into these casino games as a high roller with an eye on the biggest wins, try out Super 6 baccarat and stake on the side bet. Although this is a high-risk bet, you stand a chance to rake in significant wins if you get lucky. However, it's only advisable if you have the bankroll capacity to support it.
You might want to consider chemin de fer if you want more control over the game – you take the reins when it's your turn to invest in the role of dealer. Mini baccarat is a faster version of the game as it's played on a smaller table, while baccarat banque raises the stakes higher with an additional player hand to bet on.
It's up to you which baccarat variation you prefer, but knowing the rules is a great first step to deciding where to direct your baccarat gaming efforts.
Why Are There Different Baccarat Variations?
Players can access numerous baccarat variations, but the question is, why is there a need for so many versions of the same game? One of the primary reasons for the different variations is to provide players with variety to spice up their baccarat experience. It is a similar scenario with video slots, which come with different features and winning mechanisms. The same goes for blackjack, roulette and many other casino games, all of which have several variants available on the market.
With these baccarat variations, you can get in a full gaming session in a single game category and not get bored. You can also try out different game strategies on the different titles as some techniques will work for some games and not for others.
The widespread acceptance of baccarat across the globe is another major reason why there are different versions of this game. Different gaming eras and cultures have added their peculiarities to this simple game to make it even more enjoyable. At Resorts Casino, you will find several online baccarat variations as well as Live Dealer Baccarat, which offers a real casino experience.
The Similarities Between These Variations
It must be said that these baccarat variations share some similarities. Every baccarat game accommodates no more than three main bets. It is only possible to place a player bet, banker bet or tie bet, though the latter is not available in some variants.
The objective of the game is always to get a hand value as close to 9 as possible. As far as the hand value is concerned, all baccarat games use a unique scoring system. Cards from 2 to 9 have their face value, while the 10 value cards, king, queen and jack all have 0 value points. The ace also has a 0 value.
The mode of play is ultimately the same. The first set of cards are dealt to the banker and the player, and then the second and possibly the third, depending on the value of the hands and whether or not a winner emerges.
Last but not least is the inherent simplicity in all versions of baccarat. Players simply have to choose to bet on the player's or banker's hand, determine the size of the stake, and wait to see if their bet wins. Besides baccarat banque, the tie bet wins if you place a bet on it, and the round ends in a tie.
There are many variations of baccarat, and each one brings something new and unique to the table. The gameplay is never too far from the standard, so if you've played one version, then you'll easily get accustomed to how another one works.
This makes it a lot easier to try out different variations and find the one best suited to your play style. Thankfully, platforms such as Resorts Casino offer a handful of these variations for players to try out for free or real money.
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