Baccarat is a card game that requires little to no skill and is played for high stakes. It is a popular game in Asian cultures and is often found in the high-limit areas of casinos in Europe and Nevada. Players place bets on whether the Player, Banker, or Tie hand will have a total closest to nine. Players make their bets before the cards are dealt and can adjust them for each round.
The rules of baccarat are slightly different depending on whether you play the modern “punto banco” or the old-fashioned French ‘chemin de fer’ version of the game, but the basics remain the same. The game is a two-person game between the ‘Player’ and the ‘Banker’, with a third option of betting on a tie. A winning ‘Player’ or ‘Banker’ bet pays out one to one, while a win on a ‘Tie’ bet pays eight to one. The game is a bit more complicated than it sounds, however, since there are specific procedures that must be followed in order to determine whether the player or banker wins.
During a baccarat game, the dealer will deal two cards to each player and himself face down. Then, if the player or banker’s combined cards equal a total of 8 or 9, this is known as a ‘natural’ and you win. If the total is higher than 9 (for example, an 8 and a 7), the first digit is dropped (so a 15 would be counted as five).
Once everyone has made their bets, the cards are dealt out and the dealer will announce the results. The Player and Banker hands are then compared to see who has the highest total. If the Player hand has a higher total than the Banker’s, then the Player bet wins and the payout is 1:1. The Banker’s hand must be a natural in order to win, which is why the game is sometimes called “the game of kings.”
Baccarat also allows players to place a bet on a tie, which has a much higher house edge than either the Player or Banker bets. The Tie bet offers odds of eight to one but many serious gamblers avoid it.
Baccarat tables are a sight to behold, with the game typically played in an alcove away from the crowds and surrounded by real money cash – $100 bills are spread out around the table. It’s a game of glamour and mystery, which is probably why so many high rollers choose to play it.