Baccarat is a super-sophisticated, classy version of betting on coin tosses. Players wager blind, putting a sum of money on either the Banker hand or the Player hand before they’re dealt. They can also place a third bet on a tie. The game is unpredictable, dramatic, and exciting, which makes it a favorite among high-rollers. But, unlike blackjack, there is no way to sway the odds through strategy.
Until recently, the casino game was kept largely under wraps and only played in lavish high-roller pits for the amusement of millionaires. But, as the demand for the game grew in Asia and casinos began to recognize its potential as a revenue generator, it’s been reintroduced to US casinos and is now available for play online as well.
In addition to the classic baccarat table, casinos may feature other specialized gaming tables that have unique rules and paytables. Some of these games include the mini-baccarat, pai gow poker, and the keno. These tables are often designed to complement the overall casino design and can add a touch of elegance.
The game is played with a six- or eight-deck shoe and the objective is for the Player hand to beat the Banker hand, which is done by getting a total closest to nine. Two cards are dealt to the Player hand and one to the Banker hand. A third card can be dealt if either of the hands is valued at five or less, or at the Banker’s discretion if the Player hand has a total between six and seven. A ten or picture card equals zero and all other cards are valued by their face value.
Each baccarat table has a number of marked areas in which the customers place their bets. The bettor’s numbers are lined up in front of the dealer, who places a marker on each spot as the bet is made. When a customer wins a banker bet, the marker is moved to the box corresponding with that bet. When a bet is placed on the Player or Banker, the bettor must pay a five percent commission to the casino.
After all bets are placed, the card dealer deals the cards to the Player and Banker hands. The first player card is given to the bettor with the largest Player bet, who looks at it. The second player card is dealt to the bettor with the largest Banker bet, who then looks at it.
Once the players and banker have both completed their turns, the cards are compared to determine which hand is the winner. The Player hand must stand on a total of 6 or 7 and draw if the score is 0-5. The Banker must draw a third card when the score is 0-5 and stand on all other scores.