Casino baccarat is one of the most popular card games at land-based casinos and a favourite of high rollers. A large part of the reason is the low house advantage of as little as 1.06% in Punto Banco. If you compare Baccarat online to other popular card games like blackjack and poker, you'll find it easiest to learn and play.
Introduction to Baccarat
Baccarat adopted a reputation for being a game of sophistication ever since the famous 1962 movie 'Dr. No.' A Monaco casino scene with the dashing James Bond, dressed in a black tuxedo, playing the baccarat variant chemin de fer forever burned in our collective memories. Some believe that baccarat was first played in the 19th century among the French nobles and spread to gambling salons throughout France and Italy. However, its exact origins are unclear. The card game spread in popularity to French homes even before casino gambling was legalized in France in 1907. One of the earliest variants of baccarat was Baccarat Banque, a three-person contest. It was followed by Chemin de Fer, which was a two-person variant. Baccarat Punto Banco is a modern variant where bettors bet on one of two hands: the bank (Banco) or the player (Punto). It became a house-banked game in 1940s Havana, Cuba, where it has become the most popular variant. Baccarat in Canada was traditionally only available at land-based, provincially-run and First Nations-run casinos. Some provincial crown corporations, such as the OLG in Ontario or the ALC on the East Coast, also began to offer a minimal selection of online baccarat. Here, Canadians might find variants such as Squeeze Midi-Baccarat and Mini-Baccarat. Offshore online casinos have brought Canadians much more variety.
What is Baccarat Online?
Baccarat online is a virtual card game played with the computer rather than with a real-life dealer. Like many other online casino games, online baccarat is a game of chance rather than strategy. Virtual cards are dealt from a shoe, typically containing anywhere from 6-8 decks of cards. There is no need to shuffle cards since the hands are determined by a random number generator (RNG). This ensures that the game is entirely unpredictable and is not cheating to favour the casino. For added comfort, each baccarat card game online's RNG is tested and certified as fair by an independent third-party lab. Casino baccarat contains realistic, high-end graphics and sound effects to make the game feel authentic. Some games go a step further by using recorded video of a real-life dealer for an even more immersive atmosphere. A modern baccarat game uses a professional live croupier's voice (recorded) to direct the play.
What is the Objective of Punto Banco Baccarat?
The objective of the most common variant, Punto Banco Baccarat, is to decide whether the player (Punto) or the banker (Banco) will come closest to a full hand of 9. Really, the game is that the easy! A new player to Punto Banco might be surprised to learn that the 'player' is not actually a person, and the 'bank' is not the house. They simply distinguish between two different hands. A player can typically make one of three betting options:
- The bank (Banco) wins: House edge of 1.06% and a 1:0.95 payout (includes a 5% House commission).
- The player (Punto) wins: House edge of 1.24% and a 1:1 payout.
- The player and bank tie: House edge of 4.85% and a 9:1 payout OR Choose the player and bank to tie: House edge of 14.4% and an 8:1 payout.
A baccarat casino game is a game of chance, making it much more straightforward than many other casino games. This means that there is nothing a player can do to influence the outcome of the game. Choosing a variant with the lowest possible house edge is smart. In Punto Banco, a player can lower the house edge to as low as 1.06% by backing the bank. Backing the player raises the house edge to 1.24%. Although the baccarat odds on a tie is higher at 8:1 or 9:1, the house edge rises to 14.4% or 4.85%, respectively. These higher house edges are the reason why taking a tie bet is ill-advised.
Whether you prefer a strawberry 'dream' donut, a chocolate dip donut or a Canadian maple donut – it's good to have options! The same is true when you play baccarat online, which is why we introduce you to some variants that you may find online:
In a country as big as Canada, finding a nearby casino may not be easy! Imagine having to drive hundreds of kilometres if you live along the Hudson Bay in Northern Ontario or in Northern BC. Would you be willing to make the drive or flight? There is no guarantee, of course, that the closest casino is the best one. If we had to be entirely honest, the best land-based casinos in North America for choice are concentrated in Las Vegas. However, this is far from practical if you just want to play a few rounds of baccarat. Online baccarat Canada offers a perfect solution. Canadian players can play live baccarat online with a real-life dealer alongside other players. There is no expensive commute to worry about, no dress code, no time off from work is required, and you can play any time 24/7. Games are streamed in real-time from the provider's production studio, allowing players to view and listen in on the action. This makes live dealer baccarat the most land-based casino-like form possible.
Macao is a card game that is related to baccarat but uses two decks of cards. History first mentions it in 1783, where it is believed that it may have started in Europe in Italy or Hungary. Austro-Hungarian Empire soldiers in the 19th century enjoyed the game until it was banned. The objective is to beat the banker's card value. A tie goes to the hand with the least number of cards. If the punter has the same number of cards as the bank, then the bank wins. A bettor with a natural 9 gets triple the bet amount back as long as the banker doesn't also have the same.
The variant EZ Baccarat is relatively new, having been introduced in 2004. Here, wins by betting on the banker or player pays even money. The exception is when the banker wins with a total hand of 7 when the third card is drawn, which results in a push on banker bets. Furthermore, there are two additional side bet options. The first is called Dragon 7, which pays 40 to 1 rather than pushing when the banker gets a winning three-card 7. This side bet increases the house edge to 7.61%. The second is called Panda 8, which pays 25 to 1 when the player gets a winning three-card 8. This particular side bet increases the house edge to 10.19%.
In this variant of baccarat, a smaller table is used. Also, the table minimums and maximum tend to be smaller. The cards are dealt from a standard shoe by the croupier. Play'n GO has this variant appropriately called Mini Baccarat.
Punto 2000/Super 6
Punto 2000 is also known as Super 6. In this variant, even money is paid on winning bets on the banker (instead of 1:0.95 in Punto Banco). The exception is when the banker wins with a 6 (hand), in which case the payout is 50% of the bet. It has a house edge of 1.46%. It is a faster variant of baccarat as its cuts back on time spent calculating and collecting the commission on winning banker-backed bets that do not equal 6.
Mobile Baccarat Online
Mobile baccarat has grown in popularity as Canadians spend more time away from their desktop PC or laptop at home. This can come down to several reasons, such as the commute to and from work which seems to get longer. If you've ever been caught in a winter snowstorm in Saguenay, Quebec or St. John's, Newfoundland, you no doubt know what we mean! Waiting for public transport to get you from A to B can be an excellent time to play a few hands of baccarat online. Of course, when you have your Android or iOS mobile phone in your pocket, opportunities to play can sneak up on you at any time. For example, you could be waiting for your late friends to arrive to meet you for a coffee at Tim Hortons or lunch at A&W or Boston Pizza. iOS and Android mobile baccarat can be played online from an instant-play browser or sometimes from your downloaded casino app.
Online Baccarat for Real Money
It may seem somewhat unreal that online baccarat real money games have some advantages over free online baccarat. However, this is as real as ice is in ice hockey with some key benefits:
- You can keep your winnings when you play baccarat online real money games.
- Live Baccarat variants using real-life dealers can only be played with sufficient real money in your player account.
- Some online casinos offer promotions and other bonuses when playing online baccarat real money games.
- Baccarat is more exciting when you can win money that you can keep.
Playing Free Online Baccarat
Okay, so we've already told you why you would want to play online baccarat real money games. However, there are some compelling reasons to play online baccarat for free. They can be a great way of getting to know a particular online baccarat table or online casino. There is no risk to your bankroll when playing for free, allowing you to get up to speed with rules, et cetera. With all the different options, a baccarat game online comes down to choice. After all, here at OnlineCasinoList, we know that one size skate does not fit all! If it's live baccarat that interests you, some casinos may allow you to watch a game in progress.
Why Canadians Like to Play Baccarat online?
What Canadian wouldn't want to feel even a little like James Bond from Ian Fleming's 'Dr. No'? Aside from that, there are a few other reasons why Canadians like to play baccarat:
- Online casino baccarat is similar to baccarat at land-based casinos.
- Baccarat has a house edge that can be as little as 1.06%.
- Baccarat is available in several variants.
- Baccarat online is a pure game of chance, and there is minimal strategy involved.
- Live Baccarat is available for players who enjoy playing against a real-life dealer, among other players.
- Some baccarat games come with side bets and other features.
Providers of Online Baccarat
The possibilities of online baccarat games can be pretty significant, but it depends on the casino. It's sort of like Canadian craft beers. You have your Steam Whistle brews in Ontario, your Beauregard Brasserie brews in Quebec, and The Grizzly Paw Brewing brews in Canmore, Alberta. There is just so much variety that it's hard to choose your favourite! Likewise, there are many quality baccarat online games providers, and it's hard to decide which one is the best. These include Evolution Gaming, NetEnt, Play'n GO, Microgaming and Red Tiger Gaming - but there are so many more!
Final Word on Online Baccarat
Canadians who like card games based on chance will definitely want to play baccarat online. At OnlineCasinoList, we search the globe for the best online casinos where Canadians can play baccarat online real money games. It's not exactly as exciting as winning the 6/49 lottery – but don't underestimate the entertainment value!