Did you know, that in the original James Bond novel Casino Royale, the game that Bond and his nemesis Le Chiffre play at the tables in Monte Carlo, is not, as depicted in the modern remake of the tale, Hold’em Poker, but in actual fact Baccarat.

Indeed in some of the older films in Cubby Broccoli Jr’s series, Bond, played by Sean Connery, does indeed play Baccarat, or as it was originally known in France, Chemin de Fer, in the film Dr. No.

With the poker boom of the early 2000s, it is true that Baccarat has fallen slightly out of favour compared to other card games, such as Blackjack and Hold’em Poker, especially in the UK. However, in other parts of the world, notably in the Far East, Baccarat remains hugely popular and it is a game that increasing number of players in the UK and US are discovering.

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So, let’s begin our look at the game of Baccarat by taking a look at the main rules of the game and how players actually play.

The basic rules of Baccarat

The first thing to note is that in Baccarat, you are not actually playing a strategic game. You are simply betting on whether the player or the banker will get the hand that totals closest to nine, or if they will tie.

There are a simple set of rules to follow in most versions of Baccarat and these are as follows:

  • Six decks of cards are used in the game.
  • The deck is shuffled before each hand.
  • The suits of a card are not used in any way in Baccarat.
  • Each card has a numeric value in the game only. Cards 2 through to 9 all have the face value of each card as their numeric value. The 10, Jack, Queen and King cards are all valued as zero. The ace counts as 1.
  • If you are dealt two cards and their total value counts to more than ten (such as being dealt a five and a six), then instead of counting to 10 then 11, the count in Baccarat repeats itself, so a score of ten, would equate to zero, 11 would equate to 1, 12 to 2 and so on.

By following these simple rules, you gain an understanding of how almost all versions of Baccarat works, but the question remains, is how do you actually play the game?

  • How to play Baccarat

As we mentioned before, there is no skill element involved in Baccarat as the game is played to a number of simple rules outlined above. Your participation in the game is to bet on whether the player gets the hand closest to nine, the bank, or whether they will tie. To play, you simply make your bet on which of these three options you wish to bet on.

When your bet is placed, two cards are dealt face up to each player and whether you receive another card (or more) depends on your score. If either player lands a score of 8 or 9, this is called a natural and no more cards are drawn and the bets on the winner of the hand are paid out (whether that is the player, or banker, or a tie).

However, if a player’s score is five or less and the banker does not have a Natural, then the player can draw a card. This could change their score. The player can draw a card up to six times, but if they land a score of 6 or 7 then they automatically stand, and if they manage to land an 8 or 9, then they will also Stand (as they have drawn a Natural).

The rules for drawing for the banker are slightly more complicated, with the banker hitting if a player stands and the banker has a score of five or less. Depending on what the player does, and their score, the banker will follow rules to decide whether or not they hit or stand.

The key thing to remember here is that you don’t actually need to know these rules as the game will automatically detect what will happen at each point in the hand and either stand or draw or end the hand. Essentially, you can sit back, and simply bet on your chosen outcome and watch the action unfold.

This is a real boon for players who perhaps are put off by games like poker, where individual skill and ability can play a key role in being successful. In baccarat, skill is far less important, whereas backing the right bet at the right time is.

Additional rules in play in bet365 Games version of Baccarat

In addition to the standard three types of bet in the standard version of Baccarat, in bet365 Games’ version, you can also make any of four other bets in the game. These bets can be placed in addition to the main bet in the game and they are as follows:

  • Player Pair – A bet on whether the player will be dealt the two face up cards as a pair of the same rank (for example, two fours).
  • Banker Pair – A bet on whether the banker will be dealt two face up cards as a pair.
  • Either Pair – A bet on whether the two face up cards dealt to the player and the two dealt to the banker can be combined to allow any two of those cards to make a pair.
  • Perfect Pair – A bet on if either the Player or Banker’s first two cards form a perfect pair, such as two of the seven of hearts being dealt to the Player, or two of the six of clubs being dealt to the banker.

Is there any strategy to follow to help me play better Baccarat?

There is a simple strategy to follow when playing Baccarat and that is what does make it more appealing. Rather like Roulette, the key is to back the bets that have the most chance of success. In this version of Baccarat, backing the Banker to win offers a RTP of around 98.93%, whereas backing the Player is just a little less at 98.77. The tie, while seemingly offering good odds, offers only a 95.09% RTP rate to player, which is significantly less than the other two bets.

Similarly, the side bets available for the Banker, Player, Either and Perfect pairs are all rated between 82.91% and 88.75% RTP, which does suggest that you are better placing the majority of your bets on either the Player or Banker bets.

However, the real fun from Baccarat comes from mixing up your bets. A history is kept of the different games you have played, so you can try to judge when changing your bet may be a better option and you can display more information on this by clicking on the arrows as well as seeing a statistical representation of the games you have played displayed on screen.

I always liken Baccarat to being like a simplified version of Roulette, only using cards. The same strategies for roulette, betting on the shorter odds bet to win more often, apply in Baccarat too and as in roulette, luck plays a significant role, rather than player skill, in deciding the outcome.