Baccarat Basics

Baccarat is a casino game that involves betting on the outcome of two hands, a Player Hand or a Banker Hand. The game is played for high stakes, with a dedicated gaming table that blocks off players and spectators from the rest of the casino action. Baccarat has several variants, including punto banco, baccarat chemin de fer, and baccarat banque (also known as deux tableaux).

In a standard game of baccarat, one player is designated as the banker, who also deals. The banker decides the amount they are willing to risk and then announces this to the players, who may wager up to that amount. If the total of all players’ wagers is greater than that amount, the banker may choose to increase their bank; otherwise, excess wagers are removed in reverse play order.

After all bets have been placed, the dealer deals two cards to both the Player Hand and the Banker Hand. The total of these two cards is called the point count. If the hand of either the Player or the Banker is closer to nine than the other, that hand is declared the winner and all losing bets are collected. Optional bets on the tie and the Super Six can be made as well; these bets pay out according to their respective payout tables.

The croupier then determines whether the winning hand was a Player, a Banker, or a Tie. In the case of a tie, the bets are collected and the hands stand pat. If the banker’s and the player’s hands are both equal to 9 on their first two cards, this is referred to as a Natural Win and no additional cards are drawn. If the banker’s and the players’ first two cards are both 5 or 6, the Banker draws a third card. If both the player and banker hold a hand of 8 or 9, this is also a Natural Win, and no further cards are drawn.

A player may decide to retire as the banker at any time and will state the amount they are retiring with. This then leaves the banker position open to any other player at the table who wishes to continue, starting with the same amount of money and dealing from undealt cards.

A player who plays as the banker may do so for as long as they wish, or until they lose. A player who chooses to go banker can also act as a cheval, playing against both sides of the table, or bet on both hands as if they were separate banks (as long as the total wagers are less than the amount of the current bank). Both of these options require an additional wager of half the banker’s stake.