Traditionally regarded as an exclusive high-stakes game, Baccarat is now played in all casinos in Nevada and New Jersey. It has also gained popularity in the United States and Europe. Ian Fleming reportedly admired the French version and took it as a source of inspiration for the fictional character James Bond.
Baccarat is played with two cards, one for each of the Player and Banker hands. The Banker’s total must be between 2 and 6 or less, while the Player’s total must be between 7 and 9. The first two cards to reach a total of 8 or 9 are considered “naturals” and are automatically won. The face cards are worth zero and the aces are worth one. The 10s are assumed to have no value.
Players can make bets on the Player or Banker’s hand. The Banker’s bet is the best bet and the house edge is usually a bit less than one percent. When the Player wins, he or she is paid eight to one. If the Player’s hand is closest to nine, he or she is paid twice the original bet. A Tie bet is paid if the Player’s and Banker’s hands have the same points.
Baccarat’s rules can vary slightly depending on the particular casino. The game is played in a shoe, or dealing box, usually made up of six or seven decks of cards. The card value is assigned to each card by index value. For example, a face card and an 8 equal 0. The court cards are assumed to have no value. However, the ace is worth one in baccarat.
A player may also choose to place a bet on a Pair. A Pair bet is a wager on whether the Banker or the Player has a pair. If the Player has a pair, he or she will be paid 11x the original bet. If the Banker has a pair, he or she is paid 8 to 1. This is a popular bet in casinos and a good choice if you have a good understanding of the rules.
Another option is the Super Six Bet. This is a bet on whether the Banker or Player has a hand of six or seven. A Super Six bet pays 12 times the original bet. There is a 5% commission on this bet. This reduces the payout odds to about 19 to 20. It is recommended that the player set a budget to cover his or her losses.
Baccarat has an overall house edge of about one percent. However, the player’s odds vary throughout the game. A player should be willing to play a few games before deciding which bet to make. The house edge will vary depending on the number of decks used, the casino and the number of players.
Baccarat has a very simple game format, but there are certain plays that should be understood as early as possible. Once a player knows the rules, he or she can develop a strategy that will allow him or her to win.