Baccarat Basics


Baccarat is one of the world’s most glamorous casino games. The game traces its roots to France and Italy, but it’s become a big hit in casinos around the world. Unlike other casino table games, baccarat is played for high stakes, and the gaming table for the game is typically placed in a special alcove away from the crowds and other tables. In American casinos, baccarat is usually played with real cash rather than chips, though European casinos use high-denomination chips that are shaped like $100 bills.

The game is played using eight decks of cards. Aces are worth one point, while 10 and picture or face cards are worth zero points. Numbered cards from 2 through 9 are worth their face value. The goal of a baccarat hand is to get as close to nine points as possible. If a player’s hand totals more than 9, the first digit must be dropped (e.g. 9 + 6 = 15).

In a standard game of baccarat, players will make a bet on either the Player, Banker, or Tie hand. Once all bets are made, the dealer will deal two cards to the Player and Banker hands. The Player’s card is shown first, followed by the Banker’s card. If the Player’s hand total is 8 or 9, it is a “natural,” and the player wins. If the Banker’s hand is 8 or 9, it is a natural as well, and the banker wins. If neither the Player nor Banker has a natural, additional cards are drawn to determine the winner.

A winning player hand qualifies for a payout of 1:1. Winning banker bets, however, are subject to a 5% commission known as the vigorish or juice. This reduces the payout odds on a banker bet to 19 to 20. A winning tie bet is paid out at 8 to 1. A score sheet is used to keep track of the player and banker’s results.

In addition to the player, banker, and tie bets, some baccarat games also offer side bets. These bets have higher payouts but can also have a higher house edge than the other three bets. Players should always check the payouts and house edge of a side bet before making it.

While some casinos offer baccarat in their main lobby, others dedicate an entire room to the game. If you’re interested in playing the game, be sure to arrive early to secure a seat. It’s considered poor etiquette to enter the casino while a baccarat session is in progress, so you should wait until the game has ended before making your bet. Upon arrival, you’ll be directed to a table and given a specific betting area for the player, banker, and tie bets.