The Basics of Baccarat

Baccarat is the number one casino game in the world, and although it is portrayed as elegant and formal in James Bond movies, it’s actually easy to play and involves little skill. It’s a simple guessing game that requires players to place bets on whether the Banker hand, Player hand, or Tie will win based on which hand has a score closest to nine points. The game is played on a large table with two betting areas, and the dealer deals cards to each area. Depending on the version of the game, there are between seven to 14 seats for players and a single dealer’s space.

During the deal, the Banker and Player hands receive two cards each. A third card may be drawn if the Banker or Player hand is at or below six. During the hand, the winning hand is determined based on which has a total closer to 9. The Banker and Player hands are dealt from a standard eight-deck shoe. Picture cards (Kings, Queens, and Jacks) are worth zero points, while all other numbered cards from 2-9 count for their face value. Aces count for one point.

Once players have placed their bets, the dealer deals two cards to each of the two betting areas – the Banker’s hand and the Player’s hand. Typically, the Player’s hand is given an ace and a king while the Banker’s hand is dealt an ace and a 6. The winner of the round is the hand that has a total closer to nine.

Aside from the three main bets, baccarat also allows for side bets, though the odds of these vary by platform and establishment. The most common is a Banker pair, which wagers that the Banker will receive identical cards on the deal. This bet pays out at 11:1 odds. Players can also bet on a Player pair or a Banker and Player tie, which pay out at 8:1 and 9:1 odds respectively.

Because of the popularity of baccarat, casinos have created variations on the game and added additional ways to play. These include a side bet called Super Six, which wagers that the Banker will hit on the first six cards. This bet pays out at 12:1 odds.

In addition to side bets, baccarat is known for its sleek, luxurious design and high stakes. It’s no wonder that baccarat is the most popular casino game worldwide, generating more income for casinos in Macau than any other game, and accounting for 18 percent of all casino wins in Las Vegas.