The Basics of Baccarat


If you’re looking for a casino game with low house edge, few complexities and James Bond-style glamour, baccarat is your ticket. This classic card game is popular in Europe and Latin America, but you’ll also find it at a few Vegas casinos and some top online gambling sites.

The game is played on a table with from seven to 14 seats, plus a banker area. A dealer passes out two cards for the player and banker hands, and players wager on which hand will win. They can also bet on a tie. In the United States, baccarat is not as common as blackjack or poker, but it still has its fans, especially in casinos located outside of Nevada.

While many people think baccarat is complicated, it’s actually one of the easiest casino games to play and understand. The rules are straightforward and the betting options are simple. Players can place Player bets, Banker bets or Tie bets. The goal of the game is to correctly guess which of two hands will come closest to a total of nine points. Cards are dealt from a six- or eight-deck shoe. Aces are worth one point; face cards and the numbers 2 through 9 are worth their number value. Cards that add up to a double-digit number must drop the first digit, so a hand consisting of a 5 and 7 becomes five points.

Once the Banker and Player hands have been dealt, a third card is dealt if necessary. The winner is the hand that comes closest to a total of nine. The winning hand will be paid out accordingly. If you wager on a banker hand and it wins, the payout is 95% of your stake. If you bet on a player hand and it wins, you’ll get 8-to-1.

It’s possible to bet on both the Banker and Player hand at the same time, but you’ll need to decide which one to stick with for the duration of a single round. Since the house edge on the player side is lower than on the banker side, most players prefer to bet on this option.

However, if you want to increase your chances of winning, it might be better to avoid the tie bet altogether. The banker hand will win in around 51% of the rounds, and a Banker bet pays out eight to one, while a Player bet only pays out four to one. If you choose to avoid the tie bet, the Player or Banker bet will win every other round. Baccarat is an excellent casino game to play with friends or family members who aren’t terribly familiar with gambling rules and strategies. But before you start wagering real money, be sure to establish a budget and know how much you’re willing to lose. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy the excitement of the game without getting carried away. Remember to stop as soon as you’ve reached your limit.