Online baccarat as we know it today is a far cry from the first internet baccarat games we saw back in the late 90s. Thanks to ever-improving technology and faster internet connections, you can now play real money baccarat with live human dealers from the comfort of home.
If you’re unfamiliar with live dealer baccarat, the basic idea is that an online casino sets up a physical table, hires a real dealer and then uses streaming video to bring the experience to your monitor. As the player, you click the mouse to choose your bets and then watch as the dealer shuffles and deals the cards.
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Imagine strapping a webcam to a friend’s head and sending him to the nearest casino. That’s sort of what it’s like to play live dealer baccarat online. It sounds a little odd, but it’s a cool experience. You get to watch the dealers in live action, talk to them in some cases and use your mouse to indicate how you’d like to bet.
The most important decision you will ever make in online baccarat is choosing where to play. Choose wisely and you’ll get a fair experience complete with competent dealers, high quality video and fast withdrawals. Choose poorly and it’s anybody’s guess how your experience will go. Don’t leave your decision up to luck; stick with the established brands.
Established brands offer more than just security, by the way. They are also better at what they do. Some of these online baccarat sites have already been hosting live dealer games for over five years. They’ve already ironed out the kinks in their software and have the infrastructure in place to deliver high quality video and pair you with experienced dealers.
All you have to do to get started is choose a casino site, sign up for an account and make a deposit. You can join the live dealer baccarat tables any time you get the urge to change it up and play with that human touch.
How Live Dealer Baccarat Works
The basic idea behind live dealer baccarat is similar wherever you play. Your betting site will have a big room where they have casino-grade tables, qualified dealers and a webcam pointed at every game. As you click the mouse, the dealer receives those commands and executes them on video for you.
You can join the action by logging in to your casino website and looking for their live dealer area. It’s a little different at every casino but you should see a large icon somewhere encouraging you try their live games. Click on that button and you’ll go to a page that shows a list of games and open tables.
Next, choose the option for baccarat and click on an open seat. This will open a new window that will load with live video and all your betting options. All you have to do at that point is click on the table to indicate which bet you would like to place. When all the bets have been placed, the dealer will run through the hand just like she would at a brick-and-mortar casino.
Once you run through a few times, you’ll have a good hang of the whole process. It’s pretty simple overall. The most difficult part is just finding a casino that even has live dealer games. There still aren’t all that many websites with live dealer baccarat tables. Pick one of the sites recommended on this page and you’ll be good to go.
Other Things to Know
There are just a few other things to know before you go on your way. First of all, be prepared for a slower experience when you play live dealer games. The dealer is only human and it takes time to shuffle the cards, handle the bets and deal out the hands. This makes live dealer baccarat quite a bit slower than playing at automated online tables.
This is somewhat offset by the higher-than-standard betting limits usually offered at live dealer tables. Between paying dealers and maintaining all that hardware you see onscreen, casino sites are more than happy to take bigger bets and increase total turnover. The smart thing to do is begin with small wagers as you get used to the new format.
Something else you’ll notice when you play live dealer baccarat is that there are many more tracking boards than what you see at regular online tables. If you look at the picture above, you’ll see boards for the Big Eye, Small Road and Cockroach Road in addition to the basic tracking board.
Those tracking boards with the funny names are what you would see if you were playing at an actual casino in Las Vegas. Those boards are popular with Asian gamblers, but many people are not familiar with them. Basically, those boards show you the past results with trends and patterns.
You can check out this great page at the Wizard of Odds to learn more about how those boards work. The whole explanation is a little complicated and beyond the scope of this article, but visit that page if you’d like to see what those boards are all about.
Aside from the slow pace of the game and the additional tracking boards, everything else should look familiar to you. What really makes live dealer baccarat different is that it brings back the tradition of the game. Baccarat is such a simple game, but the tradition is what makes it such a unique experience. You lose that sense of gravity when you play normal online baccarat. Live dealer baccarat sites do a much better job at bringing back that feeling that you’re participating in something significant.
You can also see our main baccarat page for more general information about baccarat and how it works. It’s a fun game and it’s easy to play. Best of all, baccarat has a lower house advantage than just about every other game in the casino. This game is definitely worth a look if you have a little time to kill.
Wes Burns co-founded OnlineCasinoSites.com with a mission to help gamblers understand and navigate the regulated online casino market in all countries around the world. Wes is a respected gambling journalist, working in the industry since 2008.