Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games in the world, from sticky-floor California card rooms to tuxedo-laden casinos in Monaco. Its popularity has soared since the first James Bond movie, and it’s easy to see why: the game is simple, elegant, and extremely popular with high rollers. But there’s more to Baccarat than meets the eye, and many gamblers who fail to understand its rules wind up losing their money.
Baccarat, also known as Punto Banco or chemin de Fer, is a game of chance that uses eight decks of cards. The goal is to get as close to 9 points as possible. Aces count as 1, and all other cards are worth their face value. If a player or banker’s hand totals 8, the game ends with a win, and winning bets are paid. If either hand totals less than nine, the winner is determined by adding up the values of all the cards.
The best strategy to play Baccarat is to stick with the banker hand, as it has a lower house edge than the player’s. Nevertheless, the game is a gamble, so it’s a good idea to enter into the table with a budget and to stick to it. It’s also a good idea to set betting limits for yourself and to cut your losses when you reach them.
Before the game begins, participants place their bets on the Player, Banker, or Tie. The dealer will then deal two cards to the Player and Banker hands. If the Player and Banker hands have a combined total of 8 or 9 on the first two cards, this is a “natural” and both bets are paid out. However, if the first two cards are of equal value, further cards will be drawn to determine the winner.
A player may place a Super Six bet (which pays out at 12x the initial bet amount) or a Pair Bet, which wins if the first two cards are the same. The payout for a Pair Bet is 11x the bet amount. A Runner-Up bet is another option, and this is won if the Player or Banker loses.
The Banker’s hand has a higher probability of winning than the Player’s, and the standoff/tie bet is a great way to maximise your chances of winning. A tie bet, on the other hand, is rarely a wise choice, as it only pays out at 9:1 and has a much higher house edge than the Banker’s or Player’s hands.