Baccarat Basics


Baccarat is a game of cards that is played in the same way as the popular card games poker and blackjack. The only difference is that baccarat has a fixed set of rules and a dealer. In baccarat, players make bets on either the player hand or the banker hand. The goal of the game is to predict which hand will come closest to nine. Players can also place bets on the tie.

In a game of baccarat, there are from seven to 14 seats and a dealer area. Only two hands are dealt, no matter how many players are seated at the table. The first hand is dealt to the player and then the banker. Each of these hands is dealt two cards. Picture cards and tens are worth zero points, while cards numbered 2-9 are worth their face value and the ace is worth one point. The cards are then totaled and the wagers paid out accordingly.

When the baccarat players are seated at the table, they must place their chips in a specific area on the baccarat table. Players can wager on the player hand, banker hand or a tie. Those who correctly predict the winning player or banker hand will receive a 1:1 payout. In addition, a winning player or banker bet must pay a 5% commission to the house. This reduces the payout odds to 19 to 20.

There are a number of reasons why high rollers like to play baccarat. As Zender points out, it has one of the lowest house edges of any casino game at 1.2 percent on both the banker and player bets. There is a third bet called the tie, which pays off 8 to 1, but that bet has a much higher house edge of over 14 percent. Nevertheless, many serious baccarat players stick to player and banker bets.

Baccarat has become so popular that it has generated many variations and additional ways to bet and play. Some of these include side bets and Mini Baccarat. While these bets do not change the outcome of a hand, they can add some excitement to the game. Players should always check the payouts and house edge of these bets before making any decisions.

Another aspect of baccarat that can be confusing for newcomers is the drawing of a third card. This is not a question of strategy, however, as this decision is covered by the rules and actioned by the dealer. When the initial cards are dealt, they will be compared to determine which is closer to 9. If either the player or banker hand has a “natural,” which is a 9 or 8, then no third card is drawn. In the event of a tie, further cards are drawn to determine a winner.