If you’re trying to get better at playing casino games, practice would definitely help. But is there a benefit to practicing free casino games, for when you play blackjack or baccarat online?
In this post, I’ll delve into playing baccarat online and whether there’s any good reason to play a free baccarat simulator.
Is there a difference between playing for free or for real money? Will simulations help you become a better baccarat player? Keep reading to find out below.
You Can Learn How to Play Baccarat Online for Free
Baccarat has a lot of mystique. After all, in the classic James Bond movies, that’s the game he always played. You’d think that the game had some kind of skill element, but it doesn’t. Baccarat requires all the skill you’d need to bet on the flip of a coin.
But you should understand what’s happening at the table, if for no other reason than the dealer might make a mistake or two.
You start by placing a bet on one of the following options:
The banker bet and the player bet pay off at even money, although the banker bet requires you to pay a 5% commission on any winnings.
Baccarat is a card game just like blackjack, but you have no decisions to make in baccarat.
How a Hand of Baccarat Plays Out
The cards have point values similar to blackjack—all the cards two through nine are face value. Aces, though, always count as one. The 10s, jacks, queens, and kings all count as zero.
Any time a baccarat total is 10 or more, the first digit in the total gets dropped. For example, if you have a total of 12, that would count as a total of two. If you have a total of 10, that would count as a zero.
During any given hand, only two hands are in action—a player hand and a banker hand. Players do not each get an individual hand. The dealer reveals the hands after they’re dealt and determines whether a hand wins immediately or if another card is to be dealt to each hand.
A baccarat hand never has more than three cards in it. And the players and dealers have no decisions to make regarding whether an extra card gets dealt to a hand. It’s all based on the complicated protocol for the game.
The Drawing Rules for Baccarat
Getting an extra card in baccarat is called “drawing,” and the casino has specific rules for this, as follows:
- If the player’s first two cards total five or less, the player draws a card. The dealer draws or stands based on the table to follow.
- If the player’s first two cards total six or seven, the player stands. The banker draws if the banker hand totals five or less. The banker hand stands on six or higher.
- If the player’s first two cards total eight or nine, it’s a natural, and the hand stands. The dealer never draws in this situation.
When does the dealer draw if the player’s first two cards total five or less?
Consult the following chart.
|Banker’s total:||Banker draws if the player’s third card is:||Banker stands when player’s third card is:|
|0, 1, or 2||Any card.||N/A|
|3||Any card but 8||8|
|4||2 through 7||1, 8, 9, or 0|
|5||4 through 7||1, 2, 3, 8, 9, or 0|
|6||6, 7||Any card but 6 or 7|
|8 or 9||Natural stands|
A natural is an instant win or tie. The higher total wins.
You’ll notice that there’s no decision-making going on here. The hands are played according to the rules listed above with no deviation.
There’s no such thing as baccarat basic strategy or card counting in baccarat. It’s almost like playing casino war, but it has more complicated procedures in place.
How Does the House Edge Work in Baccarat?
A casino game’s house edge is the statistical advantage the casino enjoys over the player because of the math behind the game. Generally, the easier a game is to play, the higher the house edge is. Baccarat is unusual because you have no meaningful decisions to make, but the house edge is still relatively low.
The house edge is always expressed as a percentage, and it’s a prediction about how much of each bet you’ll lose in the long run. It’s based on the difference between your probability of winning and the payoff when you do win. In baccarat, a bet on the player pays off at even money and has a house edge of 1.24%, which is reasonably low. But a bet on the banker, even with the commission, has a house edge of 1.06%, which is even better. The tie bet usually pays off at 8 to 1, but sometimes it pays off at 9 to 1. Either way, it’s a lousy bet.
Under standard rules, the house edge for a tie bet in baccarat is a whopping 14.36%. Even with the 9 to 1 payoff, the house edge for a tie bet in baccarat is 4.84%.
What’s the Point in Playing Free Baccarat Online?
You might want to play baccarat for free online just to learn how the game plays out. This won’t take long. Spend an hour playing free baccarat on the internet, and you’ll have a good grasp of the game—especially if you understood the how to play tutorial in this post.
I have a relative who used to play slot machines online but only the free games. She never won any money. I never saw the attraction to doing this, but that never slowed her down.
Some people just enjoy the sights and sounds of casino games even when there’s no money on the line. I don’t see much point in that, but if it floats your boat, who am I to judge?
Why would you want to gamble for real money at an online casino if you don’t enjoy the software experience? Most people wouldn’t.
And how are you to know if you’ll like the baccarat software at the casino if you don’t try it, first? It seems to me that it’s better to try it without risking any money before playing for real money.
Are Online Baccarat Games Rigged? Do They Cheat?
When it comes to free online baccarat games, it wouldn’t make much sense to cheat, would it? After all, the casino has no stake in it at all. Win or lose, the casino doesn’t make any profit.
And programming a random number generator to duplicate the action from a deck (or multiple decks) of cards is child’s play.
Is it possible that an online casino might rig their online baccarat games so that you’re more likely to win? Would this encourage you to make a first deposit and start gambling for real money?
That would be a sneaky marketing ploy, wouldn’t it? I don’t think it’s something that’s necessary, but it could happen.
Here’s why it’s not necessary: One of the metrics you can use to analyze a casino game is the game’s “hit frequency.”
This is just a fancy word that describes how often you win. On a standard slot machine, the hit frequency is usually between 30% and 40%. That’s enough to motivate most casino gamblers to play slots at least some of the time.
- If you bet on the player consistently, you’ll win 44.63% of the time, which is a hit frequency of nearly 50%. This means you’re going to win almost half the time.
- If you bet on the banker consistently, you’ll win 45.86% of the time. Same song, second verse—you win almost 50% of the time.
- Finally, if you bet on a tie, you’ll win 9.5% of the time. This is slightly less than one hand in 10, but few players sit at a baccarat table placing bets on the tie repeatedly.
If you’re going to win almost half the time just because of the rules of the game, the casino has little incentive—even on their free games—to increase your winning percentage just to entice you to sign up to play.
They will often have a pop-up after you’ve won a few hands in a row that asks you if you want to try playing for real money, though.
And it’s human nature to feel lucky when you hit an inevitable winning streak, even if you understand that this is just one of the notions of random chance.
What’s the point in playing free baccarat online? It’s mostly an exercise in wasting time. The point to gambling is to win (or lose) money.
But if you’re looking for a fast way to learn how to play baccarat without having to risk any money, a baccarat simulator at an online casino is a great way to do so.