How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is a classic casino card game that exudes elegance. You may have seen it in the movies, with actors in tuxedos and women in formal gowns putting down chips before the dealer distributes cards. Baccarat has a certain mystique, but the reality is that this exciting game of chance is very easy to learn and fun to play. Its sophistication is more a result of style than substance, and if you are willing to set a win limit and play within it, you can enjoy this classic card game without getting swept away in its excitement.

Baccarat players are able to place bets on either the Player or Banker hand to win. In addition, they can also bet on a tie. The game is simple to understand, but the rules of the game can get a little complicated as you play. The basic objective is to hit (or come as close to) nine with two cards. To accomplish this, the first digit of the total is dropped, so 2 and 6 become 8 and 9. Aces count as one, and tens, queens, and kings count as zero.

When you are ready to play a round of Baccarat, your table will be marked with numbers that indicate your position on the table. There will be a box for the Player and another for the Banker bet. The dealer will then reveal a card for the Player box, and a card for the Banker box. If your bet is correct, the dealer will put a marker in the box. The banker bet offers a lower house edge of 1.06%, but the casino will charge a 5% commission on winning banker bets.

The Banker and Player hands are compared after the initial dealing round is complete. The winning hand is the one that is closest to 9 points. If the Banker and Player hands are tied, then the game is a push and all bets are returned. A third standard betting option is on a “Tie,” which gives the house a 14.4% edge.

A variety of side bets can also be placed on Baccarat tables, though they are generally not very profitable. These include Super Six Bets, which pay out 12x the bet amount when the Banker Hand wins with a score of six; and Pair Bets, which offer a payout of 11x the bet amount if the Player’s or Banker’s first two cards are a pair. Unless you are a high-roller and plan to place these bets, it is best to skip them altogether. In any case, these bets should not exceed your bankroll and should be tracked carefully so you don’t overextend yourself at the table. The best way to protect yourself is by setting a win limit and playing within it. This will keep you from chasing your money and making bad decisions. Then, when you have reached your limit, cash out and walk away. It’s a simple strategy that will help you have a more enjoyable time at the casino.