Evolution Gaming has developed arguably more live dealer baccarat games than any other software developer for online casinos. Their range includes several different variants. One of those which has taken the internet betting world by storm over the last year or so is Lightning Baccarat. A part of the now-famous Lightning Series of games, it has a lot to offer in terms of conventional baccarat, as well as plenty more goodies which you wouldn’t expect to see in a typical game of online or live dealer baccarat.
Why has Lightning Baccarat become so popular with live casino players across the net? What can the game do for you, and why should you consider playing it? In this live gambling guide, we will take a look at Lightning Baccarat in closer detail.
What is Lightning Baccarat?
Lightning Baccarat deploys the same gaming mechanic as Lightning Roulette and Lightning Dice, the other games in Evolution Gaming’s Lightning Series. In short, it can provide mega-money multipliers at random on certain hands in the game. These can result in bonus payouts which you will find in no other baccarat game, and that naturally means that it is worth a closer look.
Between 1 and 5 Lightning Cards can appear in every round of baccarat, and if one of these appears in the hand that you are betting on, you could end up winning substantial sums of cash. To find out more and learn how it works, we need to break down the basics of betting and gameplay on Lightning Baccarat.
Table Limits and Betting Options
Launched in 2020, Lightning Baccarat is one of the newer games to feature the Lightning mechanic found in Evolution Gaming live dealer games. As with most baccarat games, you do not need any prior skills or knowledge to play the game. Instead, all you have to do is wager on whether you think the banker (banco) or player (punto) hand will win. A win is achieved by the hand which gets closest to nine points, by outranking the other. Moreover, hands cannot go bust. You do not take charge of the hand personally, with the dealer doing that according to baccarat’s strict third-card rule. All you really need to do is pick a winner.
Bets on Lightning Baccarat conventionally range from $1 up to $500. In some games, these can rise to $2,000 a hand, and there are a few high-roller/VIP tables which will let the wealthiest amongst you go far beyond that.
This baccarat game is played with a conventional set of eight 52-card decks. You can opt to bet on the dealer’s hand winning, the player’s hand winning, or a tie. Before the game begins, players can opt to play a side-bet (at the cost of 20%), known as the Lightning Fee. During the game, up to five random Lightning Cards can be drawn digitally, and they have multiplier values of 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x and 8x. If the hand you bet on wins, and it consists of any of these Lightning Cards, your winnings will be magnified by the amount stated on the card.
Prizes and Payouts
Ordinarily, you will pocket cash prizes based on standard baccarat rules. Here is what you can expect:
- Successful Win on the Banker’s Hand: 0.95:1
- Successful Win on the Player’s Hand: 1:1
- Successful Win on a Draw: 5:1
You will note that the usual 5% commission is in place when you bet on the banker’s hand successfully. With the Lightning Cards in play, you could see your winnings pocket prizes which range from 2x up to 8x multipliers. Moreover, if several Lightning Cards should appear in a winning hand, these will be multiplied together. The maximum multiplier you could win is 310,720. However, it is worth noting that the maximum win in the game is capped at $500,000, so you will never get to appreciate the real power of a maximum multiplier. Even so, the odds of landing all five top Lightning Cards in the same hand are very remote.
Side-bets in the game include Banker Pair and Player Pair, which will deliver the goods if either hand is worth a pair when the side-bet is active. This can yield wins of 9:1 if successful.
Lightning Baccarat can yield some impressive returns, but that is not all the game is notable for. Here are a few other things you may wish to consider when playing this live dealer casino game:
- Commission: Any win on the banker’s hand is going to be subject to a 5% commission. This is commonplace in all blackjack games. Moreover, if you wish to play with the Lightning Cards active (they will be there anyway, but won’t count unless you say so), then you will need to pay a 20% commission on your bet. The commission is not returned if you win, and it is this commission which “funds” the Lightning Card payouts.
- RNG Gameplay: Lightning Baccarat is not a 100% live casino game. Parts of the game use RNG (random number generator) software. For instance, all the Lightning Cards are added digitally to the hands. The dealer cannot see them. The use of an OSD (on-screen display) also ensures that Lightning Baccarat is at least half-RNG and only part-live casino software. Nonetheless, the experience you can have playing this game is very much as atmospheric and exciting as any conventional live dealer title.
- Capped Wins: You might think that with a maximum potential multiplier of 310,720, and a tied hand paying 5:1, you could win millions. This isn’t going to be the case, though. Lightning Baccarat has a win cap in place of $500,000, which is a touch disappointing, but at the same time, understandable when you consider how the Lightning Card payouts are funded (from the commission charged).
- Strategy Ineffective: If you are the type of player who regularly uses betting strategies, you need to be careful when using the Lightning Card option. This cannot be easily worked into progressive and non-progressive betting systems. The Lightning Card option is a random add-on and can mess with those strategies, so that is worth bearing in mind.
- Other Features: Lightning Baccarat is streamed out of Evolution Gaming’s studio floor in Riga, Latvia. It uses eight decks of cards but does not use a random shuffler. Moreover, side-bets are possible, including Banker Pair and Player Pair. Lightning Baccarat is a mobile-friendly game but does not allow you to jump between several cameras. Instead, it uses a fixed camera for all its gameplay.
Where to Play Lightning Baccarat Online
Lightning Baccarat is one of the newest live dealer casino games to debut from Evolution Gaming. As new games sometimes take a while to arrive at all online casinos, you may have to double-check that your chosen casino offers it before you sign-up to play there. However, because Evolution Gaming is the leading developer of live dealer games, and Live Baccarat is very much an in-demand game, you don’t have to look very hard. Head over to our casino review section to get a helping hand finding somewhere to play this top live dealer baccarat game today.