Here at Café Casino, we have two different ways you can play online Baccarat for real money. This is one of the latest table games to receive the “New” treatment, with a streamlined layout and a visually-engaging design that’s proved popular with games like Blackjack and Let ‘Em Ride. You can also play Classic Baccarat, using the familiar layout that you might find at a live casino. Either way, the rules are the same, and again, you don’t have to worry about making decisions at the table – except for the most important decision, there is: which bets to make. Choosing these bets wisely is what Baccarat strategy is all about.
Betting Options in Baccarat
The high table minimums often placed on Baccarat at live casinos may intimidate some would-be players, especially if they grew up watching the old James Bond movies. However, online Baccarat is surprisingly simple. There are two key differences to playing Baccarat online versus in a brick-and-mortar casino. When playing baccarat online, you don’t need to deal, whereas, in a brick-and-mortar casino, the players take turns dealing. You can also play with lower betting minimums online; at Café Casino, you can play a round of Baccarat for as little as $1 – or even for free using the Practice Play mode.
For each round of Baccarat, you can bet on three possible outcomes: a win by the Banker, a win by the Player, and the Tie. You can wager on one, two, or all three of these results at the same time. Each option comes with its own house edge attached, which is where Baccarat strategy comes in handy.
Online Baccarat House Edge
Since the only control you have over the outcome is your bet selection, Baccarat strategy lies in knowing the house edge and probability for each bet. The Player house edge is 1.24%, the Banker house edge is 1.06%, and at most land-based casinos in North America, the Tie house edge is 14.4% (8-to-1). At most casinos in the United Kingdom, and here online at Café, the Tie house edge is a much more reasonable 4.85% (9-to-1).
The first step you can take in strategic Baccarat play is to scout out casinos that offer the 9-to-1 payout for the Tie bet. That’ll make the Tie a more viable betting option, whereas, with the 8-to-1 variants, you should rarely consider betting the Tie because of the house edge.
Even when playing online, betting the Tie should be done sparingly since its house edge is still about four times as big as the Player house edge. The 9-to-1 payout is enticing, however, so playing the Tie once in a while adds to your entertainment at a feasible cost.
Online Baccarat Probabilities
The number of decks in the Baccarat shoe will have a subtle effect on the probability of winning. Café Casino uses a six-deck shoe for both the Classic and New versions of Baccarat, with the entire shoe reshuffled at the end of every hand. The probability for each of the three wagers when playing six-deck Baccarat is:
45.86% for the Banker
44.62% for the Dealer
9.50% for the Tie
With a 45.86% probability, the Banker bet will result in more wins than the other two options. To account for the Banker’s advantage, a modest 5% commission is removed from the even-money payouts, leading to the 1.06% house edge mentioned above. No commission is removed from Player payouts, which are also even-money. Most live casinos use eight decks for their Baccarat games, which increases the house edge very slightly: from 1.0558% to 1.0579% for the Banker.
Developing Your Baccarat Strategy
Since the lowest house edge in Baccarat is with the Banker bet, if you want to extend your sessions as long as possible, this is the only bet you should make. If you prefer some variety, try mixing in some Dealer bets and Tie bets as well, but make your wagers a little smaller and less frequent for the Dealer, and make the Tie your smallest and rarest wager. There isn’t any particular incentive to bet on more than one of these three options at the same time.
There also isn’t much value in trying to count cards when you play Baccarat live. Unlike Blackjack, the potential advantage you can gain is considered too small to make it worth the effort – let alone the risk of getting thrown out of the casino. On the other hand, if you find a casino that offers reduced commission on the Player bet, you can lower the house edge significantly. You can even turn the edge in your favor if someone offers a promotion where they take zero commission.
In general, though, your best Baccarat value is right here at Café Casino. Try playing a few rounds of Baccarat for free using the Practice Play mode, and see how often the Banker bet pays out. With the New version of Baccarat, it’s easy to see how often the Banker wins because each outcome is recorded in a history chart to the left of the virtual felt. Have fun experimenting with each Baccarat bet, and best of luck when you move on to Real Play.