How to Play Baccarat


A game once reserved for sticky floors of California card rooms and tuxedo-laden casinos in Monaco, Baccarat is now more accessible to American gamblers than ever before. With high rollers looking for new ways to put a dent in their bankrolls, many local gambling establishments are adding baccarat tables to attract these deep-pocketed customers.

While Baccarat’s trappings may be alluring, the fact is that it requires little to no skill at all and offers only a relatively low house edge of about one percent for both the player and banker hands. Those factors, combined with the fact that it’s an extremely elegant game and can be played for substantial amounts of money in luxurious settings, makes it popular in both European casinos and American high-stakes gaming rooms.

To begin a game of Baccarat, players must place a bet on either the Player hand, the Banker hand or a Tie bet. A dealer then deals two cards face up to each of the two gaming spaces at a Baccarat table- a space for the “Player” and a space for the “Banker.” The goal is to get a total closer to nine than the opposing hand. If a card’s value is over nine, the first digit of the number is dropped. Tens, picture cards and aces count as zero points, while numbers from 1 to 9 are worth their actual value and the Ace counts as one point.

The resulting hand is then compared with the other to see which is closest to 9. A tie bet pays off eight to one, but has a higher house edge than both the player and banker bets, so most serious gamblers stick with player or banker bets.

In the past, gamblers used a large bead plate to keep track of results and trends. In modern baccarat, the bead plate has been replaced by electronic displays that can display the same information in much more detail. These displays are directly connected to automated card reading shoes, which eliminate any error and give the players all of the trend data they need at a glance.

These electronic displays also allow for a wider range of betting options than the bead plate and are often accompanied by an entire suite of baccarat betting systems and rules. Most players, however, find these derived roads difficult to understand and can take a long time to master.

It is always a good idea to decide how much you are willing to lose before you start playing. This will help you to play more responsibly and stop while you are ahead. Baccarat, like all casino games, is about luck, and it can be very easy to go broke very quickly. By setting a limit for yourself before you play, you will avoid losing more than you can afford to lose. This way, you can have fun without stressing yourself out. Good luck!