Baccarat, that enigmatic card game you see James Bond playing in opulent casinos, carries an air of refinement, evoking images of suave secret agents putting down their chips and waiting to hear which hand will win. But despite its mystique, the game is actually easy to learn and can be very enjoyable, especially if you have a few strategies up your sleeve to help you increase your odds of winning.
Baccarat is played from a table with from seven to 14 seats for players and a space for the dealer’s area. Cards are dealt from a six or eight-deck shoe, and whichever hand is closest to nine wins. The Player and Banker hands are dealt two cards each, while a third may be dealt to either hand depending on the rules in place. Picture cards and Tens count as zero points, while 2 through 9 equal their face value, and the Ace counts as one point.
Zender explains that high rollers are drawn to Baccarat for cultural reasons, but it also has one of the lowest house edges in casino games with just over 1.2 percent for Banker and Player bets. There’s a third bet, Tie, that pays off eight to one if both hands equal the same number, but it has a much higher house edge of over 14 percent.
Regardless of how you choose to play, the key to success is knowing your limits and sticking to them. Set a loss limit, and when you hit it, stop playing. Also, be sure to set a win limit and cash out when you reach it. This will keep you from getting too caught up in the excitement of the game and make it more enjoyable to play.