Baccarat is an iconic game played at casinos in India and all over the world. It used to be heavily advertised as a game for the rich and powerful, and even James Bond played it in Dr. No from 1962 against the supervillain Le Chiffre. James Bond is one of the coolest high roller movie characters there are, so suddenly every rich man wanted to be as cool as James Bond playing baccarat in a casino.
However, today baccarat is a highly accessible game for the masses. You can play it on shore in casinos across Goa as well as online at casinos that accept Indian players. You will find more variations online, while land based casinos have more traditional forms.
Online casinos offer three of the most popular baccarat variants. One is called chemin de fer, the other is punto banco and the third variation is called baccarat banque. Unlike punto banco, which is strictly a game of chance where your decisions are forced purely by the cards you are dealt, and the only control you have is over your bet size, leaving space for you to use a specific betting strategy, chemin de fer and baccarat banque involve a little skill.
How It’s Played
The house edge in baccarat is no lower than 1 percent. As comparison, the average slots house edge is more than 2 percent at online casinos, and between than 5 to 20 percent at Indian land based casinos. So, you can say that baccarat has the best house edge of all games of chance.
In every baccarat game, the player must play against the banker, which is the house. Baccarat tables in Indian land based casinos can accommodate several players at a time, and the banker plays them all separately, so there is a social factor too.
Types of Bets
There are three bets that you can make in baccarat. One is to bet on the player hand, the other is to bet on the banker hand, and the third is betting on a tie, meaning both hands are of equal value. The tie bet is also the most profitable because it pays 8 to 1. So, if you wager 500 rupees, you can win 4000 rupees back or any currency equivalent.
The game starts with 6 to 8 decks, depending on the casino. Bets can be made before every deal. So, after the bets have been placed, the dealer deals two cards to the player and banker each. The goal is to reach a higher hand than the opponent, for example, if the player has a hand of 8, while the banker 2, the player wins.
The hand values are calculated by adding up the values of the cards. However, tens and face cards like the king, queen and the jack count as 0. So, if you have been dealt a 5 and a king, your hand value is only 5. If the player has been dealt a hand with a value lower than 6, then he or she must draw a third card. If the player was dealt 6 or more, no third card is given. The banker on the other hand must stand on any hand valued 7 or more.
It’s a very automated and simple game, but one that is surprisingly exciting for Indian players regardless of the lack of need for skill. So, when the player and the banker have received their cards, their values are compared, and if the player’s hand is bigger, all bets made on the player win and vice versa. Banker bets have somewhere around 1.06% edge, while player bets have 1.24% edge.
Chemin de Fer
Chemin de fer is the original baccarat version. By the sound of the name you probably guess it originates from France, which is true. Baccarat was invented in France as chemin de fer under the influence of Italian games. In this game, all the players are the banker on a rotational basis instead of the dealer. This game involves a little skill in terms of being the banker and when you need to carefully decide on the initial bet. The rules are a little bit more intricate than the more popular and simpler baccarat version.
Punto banco was so popular at Macau casinos that almost 91% of all their income in 2014 came from punto banco tables. This is an incredible fact considering all the other popular games like blackjack, roulette, poker, craps and slots there. Punto banco is basically the same as baccarat, which is why many times you will find punto banco tables advertised as baccarat in Indian casinos. You can play many punto banco variants at casinos such as:
- Midi and Mini punto
- Super 6/Punto 2000
- EZ Baccarat
- Dragon 7
- Panda 8
Although considered a game of chance, you can apply different strategies on your betting patterns. But, there is one strategy you should avoid, and that is ‘pattern betting’. Pattern betting is when you try to spot a pattern in the outcomes of the hands.
So, what you do is run a scorecard of each outcome to define the pattern. In defining the pattern, you hope that you can make use of it to identify when to bet big and when to bet small. You can even take notes when you are playing in land based casinos.
The casino itself will provide you with the pencil and scorecard because of one simple reason, and that is ‘pattern betting’ doesn’t work. It won’t help you so don’t waste your time.
Baccarat is one of the oldest casino games that you can play at Indian casinos. It’s popular among high rollers and the rich people, and it’s very easy to play. If you want a game of chance with the illusion that you are using your skills, try baccarat. But, first try to familiarize yourself with the game by taking advantage of free play modes at online casinos, and when you think you have properly felt the game, try your luck in real money mode.