Many players will tell you that tournament gaming is one of their favourite ways to play. There are fixed entry fees and often large prizes for winners, but they also incorporate social competition among enthusiasts.
How do Baccarat tournaments work?
At the start of the tournament players will pay a non-refundable fee to the casino. Most of this fee will go into the prize pool but some will be kept by the casino to cover costs. The format of the tournament can vary, but there tends to be rounds of fixed numbers of hands followed by elimination of the worst performing players.
Typically several players will be placed on the same table and a fixed number of hands will be played (normally 20-25), each will be given a fixed number of tournament chips at the start, but these chips cannot be used outside of the tournament. Players will take turns to make the first bet, as betting first is considered a disadvantage as you reveal your strategy to opponents.
If a player loses all of their chips during the initial hands then they can either rebuy (if this is allowed) or they are out of the tournament. After the first round is completed the top one or two players will progress to the next round, with others being eliminated.
This format will continue until there is a final table of players competing for the top prize. However each round begins as a ‘clean slate’, chip counts are reset and players do not take their chips from the previous rounds.
To create suspense, some casinos force a ‘private’ bet in the last hand of the tournament. Players write their desired bet on a piece of paper and the results are not revealed until after the cards have been dealt.
The ideal strategy for a Baccarat tournament depends on the format, number of players and betting of your opponents. In early rounds caution would generally be more appropriate as players do not take chips forward and seek only to survive to later rounds. On the final table betting is likely to become more aggressive as players go all out to accumulate chips and win the event outright.