The Basics of Baccarat
Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games. Whether you want to play it online or at a brick-and-mortar casino, this card game offers high-odds and low house edges. However, it is important to practice good stake management and know your strategy. If you do, baccarat can be a fun and rewarding game for all players.
Baccarat involves two hands being dealt from a six- or eight-deck shoe. The player hand and the banker hand are compared to see which comes closest to nine when all the pips (the dots on the cards representing clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades) are added up. Picture cards and tens equal zero points, the cards numbered from 2-9 equal their face value, while aces count as one point. If the first total is either 5 or 6, no third card is drawn. The banker’s rules are slightly different. They draw a third card if the initial total is 2 or less, and stand with a total of 6 or 7.
In brick-and-mortar casinos, a baccarat table looks similar to a blackjack table, with up to 14 seats fanned out in front of a dealer and a banker’s area. Online baccarat tables look more like the traditional cards, with a single space for players to place their chips and a numbered tabletop that shows a specific bet limit.
During the 19th Century, Baccarat’s popularity grew rapidly, especially in continental Europe. This was partly due to strong showings at the great exhibitions of that time, including the 1867 Paris fair, where the company won a gold medal for its glass fountain; and the 1878 Exposition Universelle in Venice, with its gilded ‘Temple of Mercury’, which contained a large sculpture of the Roman god.
Baccarat’s popularity in the United States waned after the early 20th century, but it retained its hold on European royalty and aristocracy. Its prestige was further enhanced in the 1920s with the establishment of the Société des Cristalleries de Baccarat, which established its reputation as a producer of fine crystal.
The main betting options in baccarat are the player bet, the banker bet, and the tie bet. A winning player bet pays out 1 to 1, but the 5% commission charged by the banker means that payout odds drop to 9 to 9. If you correctly predict a winning banker hand, it qualifies for a 9:5 payout, and a winning tie bet gets you a pay out of 8 to 1.