The Basics of Baccarat


Baccarat is a game that may seem complicated for those unfamiliar with it, but the rules are actually quite simple. The object of the game is to place bets on which hand will have a total closer to nine than any other (player or banker) when all the cards are dealt. Cards numbered 2 through 9 are worth their pip value; face cards and 10s are valued at zero; and aces are counted as one. The game can be played with a small number of standard 52-card decks, or more commonly with a fixed set of playing cards. In either case, the game is a table-based card game with a low House Edge.

Whether you’re betting on the Player hand, the Banker hand, or the Tie, the objective is to predict which hand will acquire a total closest to 9. The dealer deals the cards and then pays winning wagers. There are a few differences between online and offline baccarat, but the basics remain the same.

The first step in the baccarat process is for the dealer to deal two cards to each of the hands. Depending on the house rules of the specific table, either the Player or Banker will then be entitled to draw a third card. If the initial score of the Player or Banker is 8 or 9, this is a “natural” and the hand ends. In this case, the Players and Bankers bets are paid out.

If the initial score is not 8 or 9, then the dealer will add up the values of the two cards and decide whether to draw a third card for either hand. Adding the third card to either hand increases the odds of a winner and decreases the odds of a tie, but only slightly. Adding a third card also increases the overall stakes of the game and should be avoided unless you are prepared to lose your entire bet.

Baccarat is one of the few casino games where players can influence the outcome of a hand. In addition to betting on the Player, Banker, or a Tie, there are several side bets available at online casinos that offer this game. These side bets generally cost significantly more than the main bets, and are best avoided if possible.

Most US online casinos offer baccarat in some form, with live dealer versions of the game and electronic games that are played against the computer. Stakes for the game range from just a dollar or two per hand up to $1000+ at high-roller live casino tables. Baccarat is a popular choice for Asian gamblers and can be found at online casinos in all the five states that now allow legal gambling. The most common variations are Punto Banco and Chemin de Fer, which is the version that was played by Sean Connery in the James Bond movies. Both variants have the same rules, but the Punto Banco version is more widely available at US casinos.

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