The Basics of Baccarat


Baccarat is a card game that originated in Europe. It can be played in casinos worldwide, and is a popular choice for high rollers who like to make large bets. However, it has a small house edge, so players need to be careful when playing this popular card game.

The game is simple to learn and play, and it involves two hands – the Player hand and the Banker hand – with each hand being valued differently. The card ranks are assigned a numerical value based on the pip denominations, with ace-valued cards having a value of 1. Face and 10-pip cards have no value.

To begin, the dealer deals a single card to each of the two hands. If both the Banker and the Player are dealt a natural hand (i.e. a total of eight or nine) the two hands are exposed, and all bets are paid according to the rules. Then the dealer draws a third card, and the game continues with the decisions taken according to the table.

When the first two cards are dealt, the Player and the Banker are asked to decide whether or not to draw a third card. The Player is allowed to draw a third card with a total of 5 or less, and the Banker can either stand on a total of 6 or 7 or draw a third card on a total of 0-5.

In addition to the two main bets, players can also make a third bet known as the Tie bet, which pays 8 to 1 if both hands equal 9. That bet has a significantly higher house edge than the other two bets, so most intelligent players choose the Player or Banker bets and avoid the Tie bet.

There are several variations of the game, but the most common is called Punto Banco or ‘Punto de Lote’. This is a simplified version of the game and was invented at the Capri Casino in Cuba in the 1950s.

The other two main versions of baccarat are ‘Baccara a deaux tableaux’ and ‘Chemin de Fer’, each of which differs in one way or another. The main difference is that in the ‘Chemin de Fer’ version the banker is always the same person, while in ‘Baccara a deaux tables’ the bank is not.

It is also important to remember that while the rules of baccarat are a little different for each variation, the basic idea remains the same. Whether you are playing ‘Baccara a deaux Tableaux’, ‘Chemin de Fer’ or ‘Punto Banco’ the aim is to win by getting closer to a number of points than the other hand.

As with most casino games, the odds of winning vary from casino to casino. For example, in Las Vegas in February 2010, the house edge was about 17 percent on baccarat. This was compared with the average hold percentage for all other casino games of around 1.2 percent, and the casinos were able to keep most of their profits from baccarat players.