Whether it’s in sticky-floor California card rooms or the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco, baccarat is a table game that brings James Bond-style glamour to the casino floor. It’s also a game that generates more revenue than any other table game. In fact, in 2017 Macau’s casinos made more than 88 percent of their total revenue from the game.
Baccarat involves seven to 14 players seated around a dealer’s area, with two hands of cards being dealt each round. Unlike blackjack, where the players act as their own dealers, a player or banker is appointed by the croupier to deal the cards and oversee the game.
Once the bets are placed, a card is drawn to determine which hand will win. The winner is whoever has the best total based on the number of points added up from all the cards in the hand. Picture cards and Tens are worth zero points; cards numbered 2-9 have their face value, and an Ace counts as one point. The goal is to get as close as possible to nine without going over, which is why the game has such low house edges.
Players can place bets on the Player, Banker or a Tie. The Player and Banker hands are each dealt two cards, and the hand with the higher value wins. The ties are rare, but they do happen, which makes the game exciting and unpredictable.
Baccarat is easy to learn, but there are some nuances to understand before getting started. One of the most important things to know is when the winning hand may require a third card. There are standard house rules to determine when the Player Hand needs a third card and when the Banker Hand does, but it’s up to the Caller to decide on a player’s request or deny it.
Having a solid understanding of baccarat will help you make the right decisions and avoid costly mistakes that can lead to big losses. For example, the tie bet is tempting because it has the highest payout, but remember that it also has a much higher house edge. The best way to stay on track is to set a budget for your baccarat session and stick to it.
Another tip is to keep your emotions in check. If you’re losing a lot, take a break or even quit the game altogether. You don’t want to end up like Akio Kashiwagi, the man who accepted a $12 million freeze-out challenge at an Atlantic City casino and played baccarat for 12 days straight before being defeated.