The Basics of Baccarat


Baccarat is a casino game that has long been the preserve of high rollers and those willing to wager large sums. The game is simple and easy to learn, but can also be quite complicated to master.

It’s all about the numbers – the higher the score, the better. Baccarat is a highly structured game with strict rules, and a lot of the game’s etiquette revolves around keeping to these rules.

The game’s rules are largely governed by the number nine. This is because there are many cultures that revere the number nine; it’s a sacred number in Indian astrology, the gods of the Egyptian pyramids numbered themselves in groups of nine, and Xibalba – the underworld of Mayan mythology – was composed of nine levels.

There are from seven to 14 seats for players at a baccarat table and the game is played in a separate, roped-off area away from the main casino action. Unlike other games, the deck of cards in baccarat are not shuffled before each hand. Instead, a “shoe” is used which contains six or eight decks of cards all shuffled together and dealt to the table from one hand to the next.

Each Player and Banker hand is dealt two cards each. The winning hand is the one closest to nine points. Picture cards and Tens count as zero points, while all other cards are valued at their face value. If the total of either hand goes above nine, a third card is drawn according to a set of rules that determine whether a Player or Banker should draw.

While a bet on the Player’s or Banker’s hand winning pays out 1:1, the house does take a 5% commission on Banker wins. If you bet on the Tie, the payout is much higher at 8 to 1. The Tie bet’s odds are slim – around 10% of Baccarat hands end in a tie – but this still makes it worth trying out for the high payouts.

As with all gambling, Baccarat is a high-stakes game and you should always gamble responsibly. Make sure to decide how much you want to spend before playing and stick to it. It’s also a good idea to have some win goals so that you can celebrate your victories.

Aside from the game’s rules, a few basic tips and tricks can help you to get the most out of your Baccarat experience. Start by knowing your bankroll and setting a budget for how much you are prepared to spend on each session. Also, remember that baccarat is a table game and not a video game, so you need to be on your feet the whole time and stay alert. It’s important to play for the right reasons – not just to win money, but to have a great time and enjoy yourself.