The Basics of Baccarat

Although often tucked away in the high-limit gaming areas of casinos, baccarat is a game that can be enjoyed by players of any bankroll. The rules are simple, and the object is to bet on a hand that totals closest to nine without going over. The simplest way to do that is to add up the value of the cards, dropping the first digit (for example, a 7 and 6 becomes three). Picture cards count as zero, while tens and aces are worth one point.

Unlike some card games, the dealer doesn’t deal out each player’s cards. Instead, there are anywhere from seven to 14 seats for players and a betting area for the banker. The dealer sets the initial amount of the Banker bet, and the players then announce if they want to “go bank” or “play the player.”

After the bets are placed, the dealer deals two cards to the Player hand and two to the Banker hand. The values of the hands are compared to determine which wins. If either the player or banker hand has a value of eight or nine after the initial dealing, it is called a “natural.” The winning hand gets the bettors’ placed bets and the round ends. A third card is sometimes drawn if the initial value of either the player or banker hand is below 8.

There’s also an option to bet on a tie, but that’s not recommended for casual players as it has one of the highest house edges in the game at over 14 percent. If you’re serious about playing, stick with the Player and Banker bets, which have a much lower house edge of around 1.2 percent.