For baccarat fans the ability to play a real game with a human dealer at a moments notice is a huge benefit, and not something RNG based games can match.
It’s not always the most readily available of games at high street casinos either, so to have the option to play live at all will be a novelty for some.
Although given less attention than the likes of roulette and blackjack, live dealer baccarat is now beginning to experience some innovation with a few game variations cropping up to keep the landscape interesting.
This will only happen more as time goes on, and the live casino experience is already pretty slick thanks to powerful software, professionally trained live casino dealers, and strong internet capabilities.
Like other live casino games, a clever blend of software and card scanners allow the game to work in the way that it does, so even though real cards are being dealt, the computer knows what they are and can digitally re-create them on your screen and handle bets and payouts accordingly.
How Does it Work?
Baccarat is a simple game anyway, and betting via a live casino is a very easy introduction to live dealer casino games in general.
The pace of play is very fast due to the game not taking long to play in the first place, but you don’t have to bet on every hand so you can take as much time as you need to familiarise yourself with the interface and place a bet when you feel ready.
Looking at the interface then, you can see buttons to control the way the game is presented to you at the top of the screen (with some game providers these might also be displayed down one side), where you can choose camera angles, sound settings, and help on the game rules etc.
The live feed takes up all of the screen space, and the betting board will be located towards the bottom centre of the screen. This will only become active during betting time and the rest of the time it will shrink slightly and appear faded. Betting time lasts around 15 seconds in a regular game and is displayed with a countdown timer.
When bets can be placed, you simply have to select your chip value from the options provided, then click on the area of the board that you want to bet.
It’s difficult to make mistakes here as for most games there are only a few options so the betting areas for each option are quite big.
What’s interesting with live baccarat is that you can also see what everyone else is doing, as all player’s bets are displayed as percentages and amounts within each betting area.
You can see in the image above that 38% of players have bet on the player, 60% on the banker, and 2% on a tie. You can also see how much money is riding on each outcome.
The charts on either side of the betting area show previous results in a number of different ways, but all display payer wins in blue and banker wins in red. Multiple wins in a row for either side are stacked on top of each other a bit like a game of Connect Four, and a new stack is created once the winning streak ends.
Since there are fewer variations of live casino baccarat the betting limits tend to stick to the £1 minimum and £5,000 maximum range on most tables.
There are high roller tables out there though, like the Salon Prive’ range offered by Evolution where the table is yours alone, and you have the dealer’s undivided attention for the duration of your play.
You will need to be able to handle minimum bets of £1,000 per game though, with the maximum bet per game capped at £10,000.
Dragon Tiger allows bets as low as 50p, but this is a slightly different game and the smaller stakes can be accepted because each game is so fast.
You could get through twice as many games of Dragon Tiger than of baccarat in the same time period so it evens out.
Side bets are limited to bets on pairs being dealt for the most part, and it’s possible to bet on either a pair for the banker, a pair for the player, or any pair, depending on the table you have chosen to play on.
Different providers might handle this slightly differently too; for example Playtech have a game called Grand Baccarat which has many more side bets than any other game we have seen from Evolution.
In this game you can bet on specific number totals, high or low cards being dealt, perfect pairs, any pairs, etc. You can see the betting table above, but this is unusual.
It’s also possible to make predictions using the live dealer interface, so you can select the outcome without betting on it, but this is just for fun and isn’t really a side bet.
Baccarat isn’t really a game that lends itself to great deals of variation, or at least the industry hasn’t put the same effort into inventing new versions of baccarat as it has the likes of blackjack and roulette.
Games like baccarat squeeze, squeeze control, and speed baccarat all exist, but these are more to do with the style of play than actually changing the way the game itself works.
For example the point of baccarat squeeze is to tease the players with the reveal of the final card in order to up the excitement and anticipation; squeeze control allows players to do this themselves using software that creates a peelable film over the cards. Speed baccarat hardly needs explaining.
That said, there are one or two slight variations that may hint at more to come.
Evolution have created Lightning Roulette and Lightning Blackjack, so this is simply another in the series using the same idea.
Before each game up to 5 cards will be randomly selected by the RNG to serve as ‘lightning cards’, and each one will also have a multiplier applied:
Should one of these cards be dealt to the winning hand, the multiplier will be applied to any winnings; so a £10 win on a lighting card hand with a 3x multiplier would return £30.
This isn’t a free bonus though, as every main bet you make will be subject to a 20% lighting fee, which is there to pay for the lightning card wins. This means that a £10 bet would actually cost you £12, and over time this adds up – unless you win a few lighting hands.
The lightning cards then are essentially a side bet that you are obligated to make.
They do offer the potential to win up to 512:1 on a regular winning hand though, and 310,720:1 on a winning tie bet.
As a true game variation this is a bit of a cheat, as although it is a baccarat style game, it is actually a game in its own right.
The main difference is that only one card is dealt to each side of the table, and the player has to bet on which side will get the higher card. The card values work from Ace low to King high.
As you can see it is a very simple game and it is fast paced too due to the fact that each round is over as soon as the two cards are dealt.
The other big difference between baccarat and Dragon Tiger is that the player and banker have been replaced by the dragon and the tiger, creating a much more Asian infused atmosphere to play in. The large dragon and tiger figures behind the table also light up on a winning hand which is a nice touch.
There are two tie bets; a regular tie, and a suited tie, with respective payouts of 11:1 and 50:1.