Baccarat is one of the world’s most recognizable casino games. From sticky-floor California card rooms to tuxedo-laden casinos in Monaco, the game is associated with sophistication and high rollers. Despite its reputation, however, the game can be enjoyed by players of any bankroll. The key is to know the rules, and to understand how to bet properly.
Unlike many casino games, baccarat has relatively few complicated rules or betting options. The object of the game is to bet on which hand — player or banker — will come closest to nine. If a player or banker totals eight or nine, the winning wager pays out 1 to 1. The score is determined by adding up the values of each hand’s cards. Each card has a value, from zero to 10, with face cards having no value and aces counting as one. The sum of all the pips on the cards is the total’s value.
Each baccarat table has numbers indicating the customer positions. In front of the numbers, a lined-off area is designated for placing a banker bet and another for placing a player bet. When a player or banker hand wins, the dealer places a marker in the box corresponding to that position. When a banker win is placed, the dealer must pay a 5% commission on that bet, which reduces the payout odds on this hand to 9 to 10.
In addition to placing a bet on either the player or banker hand, players can place a tie bet. This bet pays out 8 to 1. Unlike the other bets, a tie is not determined by comparing the two hands’ final scores. Instead, a special rule determines whether or not a third card should be drawn. This rule is based on the fact that, should both hands have totals of 8 or 9, they are considered to be a natural and will not require a third card.
Depending on the platform or establishment, players can also place a variety of side bets in baccarat. These bets typically have higher odds than the player or banker bets and can be made before the round starts. The most common side bets include player pair, banker pair, and the ace.
As more casinos embrace baccarat, it remains to be seen if the game has staying power. In the past, baccarat was generally kept under wraps, and was only played in lavish high-roller pits. The game’s popularity has increased as the millennial generation has entered the casino industry, and the game is a popular choice in high-end Asian casinos. However, as casino patrons change, the future of baccarat may depend on how casinos adjust their offerings to suit those preferences. Regardless of its future, baccarat is an elegant casino game with a unique culture that should be seen and experienced. To learn more about the game, click here. This article originally appeared in GGB’s April/May 2019 issue. You can subscribe to the magazine in print or digitally here.