Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games in the world, and it has a long history dating back to the salons of Italy and France. It is especially well-known in Asia, where it generates 80% of all casino profits. But what is it about this game that has made it so popular?
The object of the game is to guess correctly which hand will win on each round: Banker, Player or Tie. Each player makes a wager before cards are dealt. Each hand is then dealt two cards from a dealing shoe. The aim is to get a total closer to nine than the other hand, with nine being the best score. The cards are valued according to their pips (the dots on the card that represent spades, clubs, diamonds and hearts). The tens and face cards count as zero; aces equal one.
Unlike poker, the card suits do not play a role in the game of baccarat. The game is played with eight decks of cards that are shuffled and dealt by the croupier. The table is covered in green felt, and numbered areas for players’ bets are marked on the surface.
A croupier is the person who runs the game and serves as the banker. He or she announces a number from 1 to 12 and then starts the betting. The first player to declare he or she wants to “go bank” sets the initial betting amount and then the other players go in counterclockwise order and add their bets. If a player wants to add more to the initial banker bet, that is fine as long as it does not exceed the original banker amount.
Once all the bets are in, the dealer will deal out the cards. The player and banker will both receive two cards. The winner of the hand is the one that has a total closest to 9. If the winning hand is a Banker or Player, the player will receive a payout equal to the bet they placed. If the winning hand is a Tie, the player will receive 9 chips but keeps the original 1 chip they wagered.
The most important thing to remember about baccarat is that the decisions of whether or not a third card will be drawn and who will win are not based on strategy, but rather fixed by rules and actioned by the dealers. For this reason, most serious players avoid the Tie bet and stick to the Player or Banker bets. Even if a tie bet pays off nine to one, the house edge is over 14 percent, which means it is not a wise bet for the smart player. The best way to learn about baccarat is to practice for free online. There are a number of reputable websites that offer a practice mode, where you can try out different strategies for the game without risking any real money.