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Baccarat was once the forte of high rollers, but these days anyone can enjoy online baccarat – even at very modest stakes. Since it made the transition to being available online, baccarat has become a popular casino game in Canada thanks to its simple rules and rewarding gameplay. In nearly all instances, punto banco online baccarat is available in Canadian casinos – so that’s the variant we’ll focus on.
How to play baccarat
Online baccarat is one of the most easy-to-play casino games in existence. There are two hands - the player (punto), and the banker (banco). Despite the implication that you’d be betting on the ‘player’ hand, you can actually bet on either. Each hand is dealt two cards, face-up.
Each card has a points value. For cards 2-9, it’s self-explanatory: 2 is worth 2 points, 3 is worth 3 points, and so on. Aces are worth a single point. The 10, jack, queen and king are worth 10 each, which is the same as having no value.
To calculate the value of your hand, you add the cards together and – if it’s a double-digit outcome – remove the first digit. For example, if you receive an 8 and a 9, that’s 8 + 9 = 17. Remove the first digit and you’re left with 7. If you’re dealt a 4 and a king, that’s 4 + 10 = 14, or 4.
If a total of eight or nine is hit in the first two cards, that hand wins. If both player and banco hit an 8 or 9, the outcome is a draw.
If neither player has a total of eight or nine, and the player has 0-5, they receive a third card. On a 6 or 7, they stand.
If the player stands, the banker follows the same rules – drawing on 0-5, and hitting on 6 or 7. If the player did draw, some more complex rules are followed to decide whether the banker hand takes a third card. But the dealer handles all of this – as a player, you just need to bet on which hand you think will win.
Can I try baccarat online for free?
Even though baccarat rules are simple, and pretty much play themselves out, lots of players are sceptical of playing baccarat because they’ve never tried it before. That’s why free baccarat is a useful option.
The best online baccarat casinos for Canadian players let you play for free, including those you’ll find on this page. After a few hands, you’ll realise how simple and automated the game is, and should be comfortable moving over to real money baccarat.
Baccarat odds explained
There aren’t many online baccarat odds you need to memorise, but there are some important things to note – like how certain bets have a tiny house edge while others have much bigger ones.
Here are the online baccarat odds you need to know:
|Bet type||House edge||Payout|
At some online baccarat casinos in Canada, the tie pays out at 9/1, which reduces the house edge to 4.85%.
Online baccarat vs live baccarat
In the past, baccarat was primarily played at brick-and-mortar casinos, often in private rooms, for very high stakes. This meant it wasn’t accessible to most players.
These days, it’s easy to play online baccarat. And you can even get a taste of real-life baccarat through something called live dealer baccarat.
Many players prefer online baccarat because you can take as long as you like to make your bets, and there’s no human interaction. This can take the pressure off for players who are new to the game, and worried about making an error.
Live baccarat also holds huge appeal. A live stream takes place either in a casino or a special studio, and you can place bets in real time while watching a human dealer. You can also interact with the dealer and other players. If you’ve always wanted to play baccarat in real life, this is the way to go.
What is the best baccarat strategy?
When it comes to baccarat strategy, there’s really not much to discuss – just bet on the banker option. Every time.
‘Banker’ has the lowest house edge at 1.06%, and it’s therefore the most logical option. The tie bet should be avoided due to the massive house edge, especially when you’re getting paid at odds of 8/1.
In 2012, professional poker player Phil Ivey won approximately CA$11.5 million playing baccarat at a UK casino. Assisted by his partner Cheung Yin Sun, Ivey noticed that the backs of the cards weren’t completely symmetrical, and by getting the dealer to rotate the cards he had a better idea about their value. Using this information to his advantage, Ivey racked up millions over several days.
Controversially, the win was withheld by the casino, with a six-year court battle required until they managed to reach a settlement with Ivey. This shows how edge sorting can be a risky strategy, even when it works – so it’s best to stick to banker bets.