The Basics of Baccarat


Whether in a sticky-floor California card room or the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco, the game of Baccarat is one of casino’s most popular table games. While the rules vary slightly from place to place, a basic understanding of the rules will allow you to play and enjoy this classic game.

Baccarat is played with a standard deck of eight cards dealt from a shoe. Each card has a numerical value, with suit having no significance. The goal is to build a two or three-card hand with a total that is closest to nine. Picture or face cards are worth zero points; cards numbered 2-9 have their face value; and the ace is worth one point. A total of 9 is the most desirable result, but the player can also win by getting a hand with a number close to nine by adding up the values of its cards.

Players make bets on the Player Hand, the Banker Hand, or a Tie. In addition, a small number of tables offer side bets such as the Super Six Bet and the Pair Bet. These side bets typically offer odds that are much higher than those offered on the main bets, but they are generally not recommended because of the high house edge associated with them.

Once the bets are placed the game begins. Depending on the game, there may be anywhere from seven to 14 seats for players, as well as a dealer’s area. The Player and Banker hands are dealt two cards each. The Player’s and the Banker’s hands are compared to determine which is closer to 9. If either hand has a total of 8 or 9, the game ends and all bets are paid. If neither hand has a total of 8, the game continues and a third card is drawn.

The most important thing to remember about Baccarat is that it is not like blackjack where you have a lot of playing options. With Baccarat, there are standard house rules that dictate when the Player Hand should draw a third card and the same for the Banker Hand. This is one reason why so many new players avoid the game; it’s a bit of a learning curve.

Some online casinos offer bonus money for Baccarat players, although this is not a common practice in brick-and-mortar casinos. Regardless of the bonus, it is always a good idea to set your betting limits before playing. This will ensure that you don’t gamble more than you can afford to lose. Baccarat is a great game to relax and have fun with, but don’t let your gambling get out of control! The most effective way to prevent this is by setting a bankroll from the start and sticking to it. If you’re going to be playing a long time, it’s a good idea to also set a loss limit. This will help you to keep your bankroll in check and not go into financial trouble if the game does not go your way.