One of the more mysterious table games in any casino is undoubtedly Baccarat. No, it’s not a competition where you pick the winner of a literal “rat race.” It’s the game a dashingly handsome British Spy made famous on the “big screen” almost 60 years ago.
While Agent 007 made it seem like a very challenging game reserved for only the most cunning individuals, the game is much more simplistic and has the potential to give you a license to thrill. There’s no reason to sift through all of Q’s gadgets for answers. This is the dossier on everything you need to know about playing online Baccarat in Pennsylvania.
Full T&Cs Apply. New players only. To be eligible players must be 21 years or older and playing within the state of Pennsylvania. $10 minimum deposit required. Players must wager the bonus amount 1x on all games.
Full T&Cs Apply. New players only. To be eligible players must be 21 years or older and playing within the state of Pennsylvania. $10 minimum deposit required. Players must wager the bonus amount 30x on all games.
Full T&Cs Apply. To be eligible, players must be at least 21 years old, playing within the state of Pennsylvania. Players must make a single deposit of $10. The bonus money has a 1x wagering requirement.
Baccarat Basics for Beginners – How to Play It for Real Money
In this section, we’ll try to demystify the notion that this is a complex game for players new to live or online Baccarat. In truth, it’s pretty simple if you know what to expect. In addition to the games’s simplicity, it also has a lower house edge than almost every game in the casino, save for Blackjack and Roulette. The following section will be your math lesson on why this is true.
Players have three options: “Player,” “Banker,” and the “Tie.” Wagers placed on the “Player” payout at 1:1, the same as the “Banker” minus 5%. So, a $1 wager on the “Banker” will net you $1.95. If you win on the “Tie,” the payout ranges between 8-9:1. Again, variations of the game will affect these statistics, but this is what you’ll find in most cases.
Once the dealer closes the wagers, the “Player” and “Banker” each receive two cards. The sum of the cards will determine the winning hand, and a victor crowned when that total does not exceed the number nine. Anyone who’s picked up a deck before will spot that exceeding that sum is not a challenging feat, so, in Baccarat, an Ace is worth one, and a value of zero is assigned to face cards and tens.
If the sum of the cards on either side exceeds a value of ten, the one is dropped. For example, if the “Banker” has 12 and the “Player” has 10, then the “Banker” would win with a point total of 2-0. Depending on the casino rules or the Baccarat variation you’re playing, a third card may come into play.
Yes, this is a lot to drink in. The good news is that once you place a wager, that’s the end of your responsibilities. The dealer calculates everything and draws the cards. After wagers are closed, Baccarat goes on autopilot, and it’s time to become a spectator. Once the winner is declared, it’s back to the starting line, repeating the process.
Baccarat Odds and the House Edge
The odds are consistent for this game, regardless of whether you’re playing online Baccarat or in-person at a casino. The same rule applies to the variations of the game, which we’ll explain in more detail later. Minimizing the house edge is the goal with any casino game, and in this scenario, only Blackjack and Roulette have a lower house advantage.
The house edge on a “Player” wager is 1.24%. The simplest way to crunch the math is to multiply that percentage by $100, so players should expect to lose $1.24. Compared to other table games, this is relatively low. Blackjack and Roulette losses are lower, at around 50 cents each. For the “Banker,” the house advantage is 1.06% or $1.06 per $100 wagered. The 18 cents difference is why many players will focus on the “Banker” as a sole wagering option.
It is alluring for anyone to position wagers on the “Tie” option because of the 8/9:1 payout. In truth, this is a lottery option because the house edge is astronomical – 14% compared to just about 1% for the “Banker/Player” option. Even if you see a long string of “Banker/Player” wins in the hand history, the odds are still not in your favor. A tie is not a statistical anomaly, but the hand will “push” when it does occur. Many players treat it like a break in the action from an odds perspective due to its infrequency and carry on.
Baccarat Tips and Advice for Beginners
When others fail, it’s a prime opportunity to see how you could succeed. Based on our stumbles and falls, here are a few things to keep in mind for beginner players.
After the flurry of numbers and rules doled out in the last two sections of this article, it would be very common for anyone’s head to spin. It’s a lot to drink in, so here are some tips to consider before you play:
Observe a live game
The advantage of the live dealer option for online Baccarat is that you can eavesdrop on the proceedings – sans-risk – with the added benefit of the dealer commentary, which is like listening to a live NFL game.
Play the Demo version
Demo versions are fantastic because they allow you to enter the proverbial fray without risk. When you play the automated versions, the average number of turns increases significantly because the human element is erased, so it moves as fast as you do and can eat at your bankroll in a clip.
Baccarat is not a flash-in-the-pan game
If you choose to play, the odds dictate that you need to play a significant number of hands to take advantage of the less favorable house odds. An average minimum bet online is $1 per hand, so a brief visit will only be fruitful if luck smiles heavily upon you.
Utilize the Baccarat sheet
Every shoe contains anywhere from 3-8 decks, so the sheet is a barometer of what has occurred. It’s like a window into the past that you can use to help influence your future decisions.
The numbers don’t lie
They’re the crux of understanding how to play intelligently. The “Banker” option is the best wager at 1.04%, and it’s not an irresponsible strategy to ride it until it loses and continue to do so immediately.
Main Variations of Online Baccarat in Pennsylvania
It’s a near certainty in casinos across the globe to see many different iterations of the game. For players in Pennsylvania, these three variations are the ones you’re likely to experience online. Unlike Poker, which sees variations in all shapes in sizes from Texas Hold ‘Em to 7-Card Stud, Baccarat’s variations have more to do with the number of participants and their role as either “Player” or “Banker,” as well as how the cards are dealt and what situations change the odds structure.
Punto Banco – literally meaning “bench tip” in Spanish – is one of the more recent Baccarat variations to emerge, tracing back to the 1950s and gaining massive popularity from there. Despite the literal translation of the name of the game, it references a lovely seaside village in the heart of Costa Rica. The likely reason for its invention was to simplify the rules and make Punto Banco more accessible to players than other variations. In Punto Banco, you’re pitted against the dealer, and the goal is to achieve a point total of 9 before the opponent, a.k.a the dealer. The chances are that most casinos will offer this type of online Baccarat because the game fits very well in a one-on-one format.
En Banque is the most complex variation of Baccarat and can be very confusing for the uninitiated. When playing En Banque, you must definitely choose either “Player” or “Banker” with your wager. What separates this iteration from the others are two key points. First, the “Player” wager cannot exceed the “Banker.” Second, and most importantly, the “Banker” will fund the game in some casinos, not the house. While this is rare, it’s a game-changing point that’s worth inquiring about.
Chemin De Fer
Translated from French, Chemin De Fer means “railway.” Unlike Punto Banco and En Banque, Baccarat players wager against each other, not the banker. The playing table is ovular and requires a minimum of 8 players and as many as 12. Traditionally, two of the 12 seats are reserved for the dealers and one for the banker, leaving 9. The shoe contains six decks, and cards are dealt counterclockwise by the banker, mimicking a train procession, which is how the game earned its eponymous nickname.
How to Play Mini-Baccarat
This variation of Baccarat is the most simplistic and commonplace, so it appears most often in online casinos. The dealer handles the card draws and calculations for everyone playing. A player’s only responsibility is to decide where to place their wagers. Essentially, this is Punto Banco with alternative wagering options and payouts.
Winning in this variation of Baccarat happens when either the “Player” or “Banker” is closest to 9 points. Once again, cards 2-9 are valued as shown, with face cards and the ten equaling zero, and an Ace is one. All the other rules apply here. It’s nothing revolutionary. This game is designed to be more fast-paced and bridge understanding of playing without consulting MI6 for advice. The demo version of this game in any online casino is also a great way to familiarize yourself. It can seem daunting at first, but you should get the hang of it after a few turns.
Pennsylvania Baccarat Casinos – Brief Summary
Residents of the Keystone State will discover a plethora of online casinos where they can play online Baccarat and explore variations of the game like Mini/Midi and “Punto Banco” as mentioned previously in this review. The following three online casinos are certified by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. They are among the more well-known names in the industry that also offer many promotions for new and old players.
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Unibet is affiliated with Mohegan Sun’s brick-and-mortar location in the beautiful Pocono mountains. In addition to the automated version by NetEnt, Unibet also boasts a live dealer option. These games feature the Punto Banco variation, which is no surprise. NetEnt’s automated version is fast-paced and features a demo mode. The live dealer option gives a more realistic feel when sitting at your computer and provides that vital in-game commentary.
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Caesars is the online counterpart to Harrah’s Casino and Hotel’s brick-and-mortar location in Chester, Pennsylvania. I’ll have more information on that establishment later in this article. Online players will have the chance to experience two automated variations of Mini/Midi. One of those games is called the “Professional Series,” but the only difference between them seemed to be a tweak in the table’s design by game maker NetEnt. Caesars live version of online Baccarat is also available with a variation that borrows elements of Mini/Midi and ‘Punto Banco.’
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BetRivers has an online presence to complement their brick-and-mortar location near the very trendy neighborhood called Fishtown. A little later in this article, we’ll have more information on that establishment (and a recommendation for the “foodies”). BetRivers, like at Caesars, offers online players a pair of automated online baccarat games from NetEnt that are akin to Mini/Midi, including the “Professional Series” mentioned earlier. BetRivers’ live version is also a Mini/Midi and ‘Punto Banco’ hybrid.
Great B&M Casinos to Play Baccarat in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania residents from the Delaware River to the Allegheny and tourists alike can rest assured that the following four casinos will offer you a chance to experience baccarat games in a brick-and-mortar location. Wearing a tuxedo is purely optional.
Rivers Casino Philadelphia
Located on the Delaware River, the aptly named Rivers Casino (formally known as SugarHouse) is a fixture of the Pennsylvania gaming market. They offer two variations of baccarat games, Mini and EZ, which bear many similarities to each other, except the 5% banker commission is eliminated from the EZ iteration here. After you’re done playing, do yourself a favor and walk to Frankford & Girard Avenues, where you’re only a few blocks away from some of the best food in all of Philadelphia.
Mount Airy Casino Resort
If you’re vacationing in the gorgeous Pocono Mountain area, Mount Airy Casino has one of the more diverse sets of options for gameplay. The usual casino staples like Poker and Craps are well-represented with additions like High-Card Flush and a hybrid version of Roulette and Blackjack, which must be seen to be believed. However, Mount Airy Casino only offers the Midi/Mini variation. On the flip side, they boast ten tables with up to 9 seats each for their players, so, even on the busiest night at the casino, it would probably still leave room for you.
Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino
Moving away from the mountains and rivers, we venture west of Philadelphia to Chester, Pennsylvania, to a more suburban setting for this casino. There you’ll find Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino, another well-known fixture of the Pennsylvania gaming market around since it was legalized in the state. They offer two variations of the game, Mini and EZ, plus plenty of tables for each to go around. Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino’s selection of table games is pretty impressive and makes it a worthwhile alternative to the big city’s glitz, glamor, and traffic jams.
Live! Casino and Hotel in Philadelphia
Situated in the heart of South Philly, Live! Casino and Hotel is a gaming “jawn” just a mile away from the sports mecca known as the Broad Street Complex and the home to my beloved Philly sports teams. Live! Casino and Hotel is a trendy postgame destination with lots of gameplay and entertainment options, plus ample parking, which is a commodity any time of year in that area. The property itself is vast, and, although they have significant room to load up on tables, they keep it simple by featuring only the Mini/Midi game variation.
Is playing online Baccarat legal in Pennsylvania?
For Pennsylvania residents aged 21 & over, baccarat is legal to play online and within any brick-and-mortar casino location licensed by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. These establishments include Rivers Casino, Mount Airy Casino & Resort, Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino, Live! Casino & Hotel and more.
Is it better to play banker or player in Baccarat?
In the game of baccarat, the only advantage to placing a wager on the “Player” side over the “Banker” is the 5% commission taken by the casino on wins by the “Banker.” A “Player” wager will payout at 100%, while the “Banker” will only net a 95% return.
Can I use sign-up bonuses to play Baccarat?
A player’s ability to wager in online baccarat using their sign-up bonuses varies from casino to casino and may also potentially limit winnings from withdrawals. Please read the terms and conditions of any offer before opting in.