Baccarat has been a popular casino game for centuries; however, it’s gained mainstream attention in the online world. Once known as a favourite game for royalty and noblemen, the minimum table bet limit often deterred regular players. Those shackles have since disappeared with online baccarat, and now it’s enjoyed by thousands of players in New Zealand and across the globe.
If you’ve never played online baccarat; this guide is for you. We explain how to play the game, the different variations there are, and what are the best bonuses for baccarat. Let us help you find the best baccarat casinos in New Zealand. Check out these licensed sites, compare their offers, and select your favourite.
How we selected New Zealand’s best baccarat casinos
New Zealand is home to a wide and varied selection of online casinos, which can make choosing your ideal site somewhat confusing. These are the main criteria that Casino Select assesses to ensure that the casinos on this page are premium quality.
- Licensing and reputation
Casino Select’s policy is to only recommend casinos that are licensed and regulated. These sites offer the highest levels of security, and the games are audited regularly.
- Range of games
There are several variations of baccarat available online, and we want players to have the choice as to which ones they prefer. Additionally, we assess the other games besides baccarat. The top casinos we select each have a comprehensive library to cater to all players.
- Fair bonuses and promotions
Every online casino has a selection of bonuses and promotions. However, the terms and conditions of these offers will vary. Our team handpicks casinos based on their bonuses being fair to the player. This doesn’t guarantee you’ll win, but it gives you a sporting chance.
From deposits and withdrawals to payment processing times; we look at the fine details. If there is anything out of the norm, Casino Select will highlight it so that players are fully aware.
- Customer support
Professional, knowledgeable and friendly support is a must. Both new and experienced players have questions from time to time, and it’s essential that customer service is on hand to answer them.
How to play & baccarat rules
Unlike blackjack, which involves a degree of decision-making, baccarat is a game of chance. Therefore, once your bet has been placed, there is nothing you can do to affect the outcome. Let’s run through a demonstration hand to show you how easy it is to learn how to play.
Place your bets
There are three possible bets on the baccarat table. You can either bet on the player’s hand, the banker’s hand, or the tie. Note that the ‘player’s hand’ has no connection to a player betting. It’s merely the term used for the game.
Dealing the cards
The dealer deals two cards face-up to the player’s hand and two cards face-up to the banker’s hand. The cards two through to nine are worth face-value points. Ten, jack queen and king are worth zero points, and the ace is one point.
Closet to nine points wins
First, the dealer checks the player’s hand total. If higher than ten (10), the left digit is removed. For example, if the cards are 8 and 5, which equals 13, the left digit is removed to leave a hand total of 3.
When neither hand has a total of 8 or 9 points (known as a natural) from their first two cards, the dealer refers to the ‘tableau of drawing rules’. The points value of each hand determines what action the dealer takes.
You have no control over any of this; the rules are set. As we mentioned, baccarat is a chance game.
The result is declared
Once the dealer has completed both hands, the result is declared. You get a 1:1 payout for winning bets on the player’s hand and a 1:1 payout for winning bets on the banker’s hand. However, you must pay 5% when you win by betting on the banker. For most baccarat games, the tie pays 8:1.
The surge in popularity in online baccarat has resulted in several software houses developing variations of the game.
NetEnt launched Baccarat Pro, which is part of its Professional Series collection, in 2011. Still today, this is one of the smoothest RNG baccarat games around. The Pro game comes in a variety of formats, ranging from low-limit up to VIP. This allows every player to enjoy a session at the table.
As one of the longest-serving software developers; it’s little surprise that Microgaming has some baccarat games in its portfolio. The graphics are rather basic compared to NetEnt’s version, but the gameplay is of the highest standard. With an RTP of 98.99%, this game offers great value to players.
Evolution Gaming has developed and operates a number of live dealer baccarat tables, ranging from classic games to no commission variants. You can also play at live tables offering squeeze and controlled squeeze, which is a technique used in real-life Macau casinos to tease the players and build-up the suspense of what the second card value is.
Online baccarat variations
Online casinos are always seeking to bring new experiences to players, leading to an array of baccarat games in both virtual RNG and live dealer formats.
The original and still the best. This is the game for seasoned professionals and total beginners alike. Most online games are punto banco baccarat, which is played with either six or eight standard decks of cards. One of the alluring features of classic baccarat is it’s attractive RTP. For the player bet, it’s 98.76%, and the banker bet is 98.94%, which is inclusive of the 5% commission paid on the banker’s side. The tie, when paying 8 to 1, has a low RTP of 85.60%.
No Commission Baccarat
Not having to pay the 5% commission on winning banker bets sounds like the perfect baccarat game. However, there is one slight, yet very crucial rule change, to be aware of. All banker bets pay the full 1:1 unless it’s a winning total of six, in which case the payout is 1:2. This drops the RTP to 98.51%, which is still good, but a little lower than what you get playing classic baccarat.
A new variation developed by live dealer specialists Evolution Gaming is Lightning Baccarat. It follows the same rules and gameplay as standard baccarat, but there’s an added twist. Before each round, between 1 and 5 lightning cards are drawn from a virtual deck, and each will have a win multiplier value, ranging from 2x — 8x. This results in some massive payouts from the smallest of stakes, which breaks the mould of all baccarat games that have come before.
Matched deposit offers are the most common type of casino bonus used to play online baccarat. Players can obtain these through new customer promotions and weekly reload deals. Before jumping in and claiming a bonus, we advise you to check the wagering requirements and the game weighting rules.
Due to baccarat’s favourable RTP, it is handicapped by game weighting. This ranges from 50% down to 10%, depending on your chosen casino. Therefore, if you have a bonus with a total wagering requirement of $2,000, and baccarat is weighted at 50%, it means you must wager $4,000 instead.
The refined simplicity of baccarat makes it the perfect game for mobile devices. Some games can feel congested on smaller screens, but with baccarat, the maximum number of cards dealt per round is six. Even with live dealer variants, you have ample screen space to absorb the full flavour of a more realistic gaming experience.