The Basics of Baccarat

The game of Baccarat is all the rage with Asian high rollers. It’s also become one of the most popular games among casino managers and players in the United States, with baccarat now a staple on many casino floors. It’s grown a great deal from its elegant European origins, though, and can be found in much more casual atmospheres than the James Bond pageantry of tuxedo-clad dealers and double tables. And while table minimums remain pricey in the high limit areas, the game can now be played on the main casino floor with lower minimums.

Baccarat is a simple game in which players wager on either the Player hand, the Banker hand or the tie. When all bets are placed the dealer will then deal two cards to both the Player and the Banker hands. The goal is to have the Player or Banker hand total closer to nine than the opponent’s. The number 9 is the most important digit in the score, with Aces counting as one and all other face cards (tens, jacks, queens and kings) counting as zero. When the cards in a hand total over nine, the first digit is dropped. For example, a seven and six would result in a thirteen, so the first digit is dropped and the final score is three.

In addition to betting on whether the player or banker will win, there are a number of other side bets available in Baccarat. These side bets differ from establishment to establishment and are generally placed before the cards are dealt. These bets typically pay out much higher odds than the Player or Banker win bets.

The most popular side bet in baccarat is the Super Six bet, which pays out at 12:1 odds. This bet is placed on the third card being drawn and requires the Player or Banker to have a total of 6 or more points for the player to win.

There are a variety of other side bets that can be made in Baccarat, including the Pair Bet and the Tie Bet. These bets require that the player have a pair of matching cards on the initial deal. The Pair Bet pays out at 11:1 odds, while the Tie Bet pays 8:1 odds.

In terms of strategy, the only real way to beat the house edge is to bet large sums consistently and not to try to catch a hot streak. Any system that involves varying the size of a bet depending on previous results is likely to be doomed to failure, as the probability of winning will always be more than offset by the risk of an occasional big loss. While it’s difficult to stop playing Baccarat once you start to get ahead, determining a set amount that you’re willing to lose and then getting out while you’re ahead is the best strategy. As with any game of chance, the money can change hands very quickly, so it’s critical to have a plan in place and be prepared to walk away while you still have a good chunk of your chips left.