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What is live baccarat?
First of all, it’s important to note that live baccarat can mean one of two things.
The first meaning is actual live, real-life baccarat that you need to play inside a brick-and-mortar casino.
The second meaning, which this guide refers to, is online live baccarat. That means the action is happening live, but you’re playing it on your laptop, tablet or phone from a remote location.
Casinos and studios
Online live baccarat is shot in real-time, either at a brick-and-mortar casino or a specially-sourced studio. In either case, you’ll enjoy an excellent view of the human dealer, the table, the cards and so on.
You can even speak to the dealer, usually by typing in a chat box which they read and reply to verbally. This really helps capture the essence of live baccarat and explains why live casino games in general are becoming increasingly popular.
How to play live baccarat
It only takes a few moments to learn how to play live baccarat as the game is exceptionally simple. The aim of live baccarat is to bet on the hand which has the higher value. There are two hands: punto (player) and banco (banker). You can bet on either.
Each hand receives two face-up cards. An ace is worth one, a two is worth two, a three is worth three and so on. Cards from tens through to kings are worth 10. To calculate the hand value, you add both cards together and only count the final digit. For example, a deal of 8-9 would make 17, meaning the value of the hand is seven.
The next stage is to decide whether the hands draw a third card. It’s similar to blackjack, where players decide whether to stand or hit. However, in live baccarat, card drawers are determined automatically based on the hand values. There is no option for players to intervene.
The punto hand goes first, drawing a third card on 0-5. The banco hands rules are a little more complicated, as they’re based on what the current value of the hand is and what third card the punto hand drew. But the whole process is automated, so you don’t need to know the ins and outs.
The hand with the highest value at the end wins.
Online live baccarat betting
There are three primary bets in punto banco baccarat, which is by far the most common and popular version of live baccarat in Canada. Here, our experts will run through each type of bet:
The banco bet means you’re betting on the banco hand, or banker’s hand, to have the higher value. It has a return-to-player (RTP) percentage of 98.94% and pays out at 19/20.
Statistically, this is the safest bet in live baccarat.
The odds on punto, or the player, are pretty similar to banco, but slightly less favourable. The RTP is 98.76% and it pays out at even odds. Remember, you can bet on either player or banker.
This is the second-best of the three main bets.
You don’t want to bet on a tie, as the house edge is much bigger. Instead of 1.06-1.36%, the house edge on a tie bet is a massive 14.36%.
This is the worst of the three main bets.
Live baccarat vs standard baccarat
There are pros and cons to live baccarat when compared to regular online baccarat. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preference.
Live baccarat has a similar ambience to that which you’d find in a real-life casino. For some players, this is a major plus. You can interact with the dealer and other players, see the action as it happens, and capture that casino buzz.
But some players prefer the automated version of online baccarat, with no human interaction and just a digital set up. That’s fine, too – whether you prefer live baccarat or the standard online version is up to you!
Live baccarat safety
Because you are watching a live feed of the action as it happens, live baccarat is an extremely safe game to play. You can see the dealer, table and surrounding area, with a high-angle camera giving you a great view. If anything unexpected happens to interfere with a hand, senior management will be called over to make a ruling, just like in a real casino.
Regular online baccarat is also very safe, as long as you’re playing at a reputable online casino with a valid gambling license. If you want to play live baccarat in Canada at the safest online casinos around, just follow any of the links on this page. All of our recommended casinos have been vetted and tested first-hand by our experts.