The Basics of Baccarat

Gambling Jun 3, 2023

Baccarat, which is played in a special alcove away from the main casino floor, is often considered one of the most glamorous and elegant games in the world. High rollers are especially attracted to the game, but it’s also a popular choice for players of all skill levels and bankrolls. It’s a simple game to learn, but there are some basic rules that should be understood before you play.

The essential goal of the game is to get closer to nine than the other hand you are betting on, either player or banker. Each two-card total is scored according to its final digit after all the pips (the dots on a playing card that are club, diamond, heart, and spade) have been added up. Tens, jacks, and queens count as zero, while aces count as one. If the cards deal a total above nine, the first digit is dropped. For example, a seven and six would count as three.

Usually, the winning hand is the one closest to nine. Whether that’s the player or banker hand is determined after two cards are dealt to each. Sometimes, a third card is drawn to determine the winner. If neither hand has a “natural,” the game ends in a tie. Typically, a winning player or banker bet pays off eight to one. There is a third bet, a tie, which can pay even money, but it has a much higher house edge of over 14 percent.

In the past, baccarat was played with paper cards and a bead plate, but these days most tables use electronic displays that record the outcome of each shoe. The displays have different names, but all have a similar layout, with five roads. The big road is on the top of the display, and the bead plate is on the bottom left (see figure 1 below).

At the start of each shoe, the dealers set up the road markers. The banks will have to mark their road based on the bets that are placed, so they know what side of the table to sit on. The road markers are then cleared and new ones are built to reflect the current shoe.

The house edge on a player or banker bet is very low, but it’s still important to understand the odds of each hand before you place your wager. Those who understand the odds will make smarter bets. Those who don’t will end up losing more money than they should. So, don’t be afraid to take some risks and have fun! Baccarat is an excellent casino game for anyone who wants to try something new. Just remember to have fun and don’t be too superstitious or over-think the game. The guy who wanders into baccarat for the first time and doesn’t know what he’s doing is usually having the most fun. And who knows, he might be the next big baccarat winner!