The game of baccarat is a bit like blackjack, only faster and simpler. The aim of the game is to make a hand of two or three cards with a point value of nine, or as close to nine as possible. It was originally a game for aristocrats and, even today, in land based casinos, baccarat is generally played in a separate room or velvet roped off area. Land casinos do this to attract high rollers and treat the players as VIP's.
However, with the advent of online gambling, baccarat could no longer belong just to the "elite" players. Now everyone can play and enjoy baccarat online.
How to Play Online Baccarat
Online baccarat is played exactly the same as land casino baccarat except that your dealer is your computer. In this game, tens and face cards count as "0", Ace is one, and all other cards count at their regulear face value. When adding up points, if the hand value is two digits, the first digit is dropped. For example, a 9 and 4 have a value of 3, not 13.
Only two hands are dealt: one to the "banker" and one to the "player". But you are not the "player" and the online casino is not the "banker". "Player" and "Banker" are just names for the hands, and you are free to bet on whichever hand you want to.
The Online Baccarat Bets
There are three kinds of bets in online baccarat: player, banker and tie. Bets are placed before the cards are dealt. The player bet pays even money, the banker bet pays even money less a 5% commission, and the tie bet pays 8 to 1.
Unlike a blackjack player, the baccarat player has no choice about whether to stand with two cards or to draw a third card. That decision is made according to strict baccarat rules, based on the card counts in both hands, and is performed automatically by the computer. That's why you'll sometimes see online baccarat hands with only two cards and sometimes you'll see the player, the banker, or both receive a third card.
Everybody Can Play Baccarat Online
In land casino baccarat, minimum bets are usually set at high levels by the house in order to hold on to the "elite" reputation. But at online baccarat the minimum bet is only ten credits. (That means 10 dollars, 10 pounds, or 10 Euros, as the case may be.) This is an amount that is affordable to most everybody, which means almost everybody can enjoy the thrill of playing baccarat online for fun and real money.