The Basics of Baccarat


Baccarat is a game of chance, but it also has some rules that can be used to improve your chances of winning. The main goal is to get your total as close to nine as possible without going over. The cards are dealt by the dealer and each hand is given a name (Player, Banker, or Tie). The total of your card combination is based on the value assigned to each type of card. Cards 2-9 retain their face value, while picture cards (Queen, Jack, and King) are worth zero points and aces are worth one point.

Baccarat’s popularity has risen in the past thirty years, with many casinos offering it on their floors. It traces its roots to the salons of Italy and France, but it wasn’t widely played in America until recently. Its growth in popularity has led some players to challenge the house in freeze-out games that can last for weeks or even months.

Unlike other casino games, baccarat doesn’t require you to touch the cards. The dealer deals the cards from a shoe and then places them on a table. A box on the table labeled Player indicates where a player has placed their bet, and another box on the table is marked BANKER. Once all players have made their bets, the dealer will deal two cards to each hand. The first card is dealt to the Player, followed by a second card for the Banker. If your bet matches the box where the highest-ranked card is positioned, you win that round.

The game is very easy to play. It has only three major wagering options: betting on your hand winning, the banker’s hand winning, or a tie. The payouts are 1:1 if you win your bet, but the house has a 1.24% edge over the player. If you bet on the banker’s hand and win, you will pay a 5% commission to the house.

Some baccarat tables offer a Super Six bet, which pays out 12x the bet amount if the Banker Hand wins with 6 points. Another popular option is the Pair Bet, which pays out 11x your bet if the Player or Banker pairs. The rules for these bets vary, so ask your baccarat dealer for the specifics.

High rollers love baccarat for the cultural reasons described by Zender, but it’s also because of its low hold percentages. The game’s average house advantage on both banker and player bets is just over 1.2 percent, which makes it a profitable bet for most serious players. A third bet on tie, which pays eight to one if both hands equal 9, can have a much higher house edge of over 14 percent, so most serious players stick to the player or banker bets. Fortunately for high rollers, most online baccarat operators offer low minimum bets. That way, you can try out the game without worrying about breaking your budget. You can also set limits for yourself to avoid gambling addiction.