The Basics of Baccarat

The Basics of Baccarat


Baccarat has long been a favorite of casino players, especially in Asia, but it is growing in popularity in the United States as well. It is not only played at the high-roller tables, but also on smaller ones with lower minimum bets. It is a simple game with only three bets: Player, Banker and Tie. The goal is to get a hand that totals closest to nine. The rules vary slightly between the American version and the traditional European punto banco or chemin de fer, but the basics are all the same.

In baccarat you place your bet before the cards are dealt. Each round has two hands: the Player and the Banker. The dealer then deals the cards to each hand. After the two hands are dealt, the winner is determined based on which one has the highest number. Nine is the best, but eight is a close second. If neither hand has a nine, then additional cards may be drawn.

The game is simple enough for even novices to learn quickly, but it is not without its complexities. Unlike other casino games, like blackjack or roulette, which have numerous wager options, baccarat has only three bets: Player win, Banker win and a tie.

To win, the player must bet on either the Player or the Banker hand to have a higher total than the other. If the two hands have a combined total of 9 (a “natural”), then the player wins. If the first two hands are equal, then it is a tie and additional cards are drawn to determine the winner.

Whether you are playing Player or Banker, the house edge is 1.2 percent. The Tie bet, on the other hand, has a much higher house edge at over 14 percent. Most serious players avoid the Tie bet and stick to the Player or Banker bets only.

In many ways, the game of baccarat has become a cultural icon, with its association to James Bond in films such as Casino Royale; Dr. No; Thunderball; On Her Majesty’s Secret Service; For Your Eyes Only; and GoldenEye. A more recent baccarat-related film is Rush Hour 3, in which the protagonists meet as they play the game on the streets of Paris.

Baccarat is not a game of skill, but it can be a fun and exciting way to spend an evening in Las Vegas. Those who plan on playing the game should decide in advance how much money they want to spend for a night out and treat it as real money, not casino cash. In this way, they will minimize the chance of losing their hard-earned money. Also, they should remember that baccarat is not a game for young children, as the cards are small and they can easily be lost or stolen. By following these six tips, they can enjoy the game while remaining safe and having a good time.