Baccarat is that James Bond-style casino game of elegance and refinement, where men in tuxedos and women in posh evening gowns lay down chips as the dealer distributes cards. It’s a fast-paced table game with three outcomes—a player win, a banker win and a tie. Baccarat is easy to learn, but it is also one of the most complex casino games in terms of strategy. It’s not uncommon to find high rollers playing Baccarat in opulent Las Vegas casinos. To make the most of this table game, it’s important to set a bankroll and stick to it. This way, you’ll know when to walk away and will avoid getting too cocky about your winning streaks.
The history of baccarat is a bit fuzzy, but it is believed to have originated in Italy and France, where it was known as Chemin de Fer. During the 19th Century, it became more popular in North America and Great Britain, where it was known as Punto Banco. Regardless of its name, the game is a thrilling game with some of the best odds in the casino.
A croupier (dealer) shuffles eight 52-card decks and deals two cards to the banker and the player hands. A third card may be dealt to either hand if necessary. The hand closest to nine wins. The croupier then announces the results of the hand and collects losing bets. The banker and player bets pay even money, but the ties have much higher payouts and come with more risks. Cards numbered 2 through 9 are worth their face value, and the Ace is equal to one point.
As with most casino table games, Baccarat is played on a green felt-covered table. Players place their wagers by placing chips on the designated areas. The croupier will then deal the cards from a dealing box, which is usually a small wooden box that holds eight cards at a time. A padded surface beneath the dealing box keeps the cards flat and prevents them from becoming tainted or damaged during the shuffling process.
Each side may have a maximum number of bets they can place. If the player wins, the winnings are paid out as indicated on the table layout. The game is a simple enough that a novice can start playing in minutes.
Unlike many other table games, Baccarat has just three major types of bets. Players can bet on the banker’s hand, the player’s hand or on a tie. The Banker bet has the lowest house edge of all three bets at 1.24%, and offers a 1:1 return on your bet. The Player bet has a lower house edge but a higher minimum bet of $10, and the Tie bet is the highest-odds bet with the longest odds, at around 8:1 or 9:1. A standard 5% commission is collected on banker wins.