Baccarat is a high-stakes casino game with an intriguing history that dates back centuries. The game is often tucked away in the high-limit section of European and Nevada casinos but is still popular with many players. Unlike most casino games, baccarat is easy to understand and requires no technical skill. Players bet on either the Player hand, the Banker’s hand or a Tie. Regardless of which bet you make, the aim is to win by having a hand with a score closest to nine. The game is played with eight decks of cards, and the cards’ suits have no bearing on the outcome. The maximum total a hand can have is nine; any total above that must be dropped (so a seven and an eight would become 14).
Baccarat’s popularity in the 21st century has been helped by the fact that it’s now possible to play the game online, without visiting offline or land-based casinos. Baccarat tables are usually about the size of a craps table and can seat up to 12 players. The game is played with a banker and a dealer, and players can place their chips on one of the three outcomes: Player win, Banker win or Tie.
The rules of baccarat differ slightly depending on whether you’re playing ‘punto banco’ or the older ‘chemin de fer’ form, but the overall principle is the same. A bet is placed on a Player or Banker hand, and the goal is to get a hand closer to nine than the opposite hand. The score is based on the total of the cards in your hand; all pips count (the dots on a card that are clubs, diamonds, hearts and spades), with aces counting as one.
After all the players have placed their bets, two cards are dealt to the Player and the Banker. The player then has the option of adding a third card to their hand, or not. If the hand has a total of 8 or 9, this is known as a “natural” and no third card can be drawn. If the hand has a total of 6 or 7, this is also a natural and no third card can be added.
A winning Player or Banker bet pays out 1:1, but a player must pay the house 5% of their winnings when betting on the banker’s hand. The 5% is charged to cover the banker’s commission on the game, which gives the house an edge of over 1.24%. Players can also choose to bet on a tie, which pays out at 9:1 but has a much higher house edge of over 14 percent. The rules of baccarat are simple to follow, but the game can be very exciting and a great choice for players looking to enjoy some high-stakes action.