The Basics of Baccarat


Baccarat is the casino game that drives the highest levels of high-roller action. In Macau alone, the game is responsible for 88 percent of total revenues. But the slow-moving and ritualistic game isn’t for everyone, even at the very high limits. That’s why many casinos now offer mini-baccarat, where the dealer deals both hands and the game moves at half the speed.

The object of baccarat is to bet on which hand will total closest to nine. The cards are dealt from a dealing shoe, usually from six to eight decks. Tens and face cards count as zero points; all other cards are worth their face value, and aces are worth one point. If a hand is higher than 10 in total, the first digit is dropped. For example, a seven and a six total 15; this is reduced to three because nine and six add up to 15.

There are two ways to bet in baccarat: Player, Banker, or Tie. The odds for the Banker bet are the best because the house edge is lower. However, winning Banker bets require a 5% commission to the casino, which can make this wager unprofitable for some players.

Despite this disadvantage, the Banker bet is still the most popular bet. It’s also the most profitable bet in the long run, and a smart baccarat player knows that the Banker bet is always the way to go.

Before each round of play, the players and the croupier agree on the rules for betting. The croupier then places a sign on the table, marking which area of the table is for Player bets and which is for Banker bets. In addition, there are a number of lined-off areas at each table in which customers can place their Banker bets.

As the croupier deals cards to each side, the players must place their chips in the proper areas. The croupier then announces the results of the hand to the players and the bettor who placed the winning bet. The bettor must then pay the commission to the croupier before returning any remaining money to the banker.

The simplest way to play baccarat is to bet on the Player or the Banker and ignore the Tie bet. The payout on a winning Banker bet is 9 to 1, which is why intelligent players never make the Tie bet. In fact, a Banker bet offers so few chances to win that it’s almost impossible to profit from the game without the benefit of this edge.

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