Baccarat is a casino card game that is regarded as a game of chance, although skill can improve results. The game is played on a large table and the banker hand wins whenever it is closest to nine. The game has a high reputation and is a popular choice in many casinos. Baccarat is a slow game and the rules are simple. The game is known by several names worldwide. Baccarat is played for high stakes and the gaming table is usually in a separate alcove away from the main casino action. It is played with real cash – $100 bills are often used – and European casinos use special high-denomination chips called “plaques”.
The game of baccarat began in Italy, but it spread to France where it became known as ‘baccarat’ and ‘chemin de fer’. The game was adopted by Ian Fleming and immortalised in his world-famous fictional character James Bond.
A croupier deals the cards from an enclosed box called a shoe. Eight 52-card packs are shuffled together and dealt one at a time to the table. The dealer does not play in the game but merely banks it. Players may bet on either the Player hand or Banker hand and a large number of betting areas are marked out on the green felt. A 5% commission is charged on the Banker bet, which means that there is a House Edge on both bets.
Once the players have placed their bets the croupier checks the two hands and, if the total is 9 or 8, pays out the winning wager. If the total is 8 or 9, a third card is drawn. If the total is 0 or 1, a third card is not drawn. If the Banker’s hand is the winner, a second round of betting takes place. If the Banker is beaten by the Player’s hand, further bets are settled according to the table.
The simplest strategy is to place all bets on the Banker. This gives the best odds of winning, especially as the Banker bet has a lower House Edge than the Player bet. However, a 5% commission on the Banker bet will reduce the profit potential considerably. It is possible to improve a player’s results by counting cards but this requires extensive practice and the use of specialised software. It is not recommended for beginners.
Good stake management is important as baccarat has an advantageous House Edge, but it is easy to lose more than you win. Staking 10 units for each wager and limiting your total outlay to 200 units per session (followed by a break) is recommended. This will give you the best chances of winning and avoid big losses. If you do happen to win a lot, then it is important not to spend too much on a single bet as this will quickly erode your profits. Avoid making the Tie bet as it is a poor bet with a 14.1 percent edge in favour of the casino.