Baccarat is an exciting card game played with six, seven or eight standard decks of 52 cards each. Two cards are dealt to each hand and the object is to get a total closest to nine, with 9 being the best score. If a player has a higher total than the banker, the higher number wins. A hand made of an ace and a king is worth zero points, while a hand of a 7 and a 6 is worth seven. A ten and an eight counts as five points. If a player is not satisfied with his or her total, he can bet on the banker or tie.
Before a round begins, players must make their bets by placing chips on the table where they wish to place them. After all bets are placed, the dealer will deal out the cards to the Player, Banker and Tie. The winning bets are paid out after the results of each round and a new bet is then placed for the next round. Depending on the platform or establishment, players can also place side bets on the Player or Banker to win, or on the Tie. These bets are usually paid out at different odds and must be placed before the cards are dealt.
The dealer is required to draw a third card on hands that total 0 to 5, and on any hand that has an 8 or 9. A total of 8, however, does not require a third card and is known as a natural. The Player and Banker hands must stand on a total of 6 or 7, but may need a third card on a 0-5 score, which is why the big road on the electronic baccarat display (called the ’bead plate’ in some casinos) says ‘no third card needed’.
Players can bet on the banker, on a tie or both, but most gamblers choose to bet on the banker because it offers the best odds. The payout on a winning banker bet varies from 8:1 to 9:1, but the house edge is only around 5%. The tie bet, on the other hand, has only a 1 in 14 chance of winning.
Commission-free baccarat streamlined the process of dealing, freeing dealers from having to pause and “make change like a paperboy,” Snow notes, while mini-baccarat opened the game up to mass players. And while the game does have some volatility, he believes it can be managed by focusing on customer segments and limiting stakes. “If you want to stay in business, it’s important to focus on your core customer base,” he says. “And if that changes, you have to adjust.”