The Basics of Baccarat

If you’ve ever been to a casino high-limit room, you have probably seen a baccarat table. The game has been played for centuries and is the most popular game of its kind worldwide, with casinos in Macau making more money than Las Vegas Strip casinos do from baccarat alone. The game’s popularity has spawned variations, side bets and more.

In a typical hand, the dealer deals two cards to each Player and Banker. The aim is to have a hand that adds up to 9 points, the highest possible score. In the event of a tie, neither hand gets a third card. The winning hand is the one closest to 9. Aces count as zero, and all other cards are numbered according to their value (except for the King, which counts as 10).

Unlike other casino games, players don’t have any control over how many cards are dealt or whether a third card is drawn. This is because all hands are dealt according to a set of fixed rules that the dealer knows and applies in every situation. Those rules determine if a Player or Banker bet wins, and if so, by how much.

After a Player or Banker bet is placed, the dealer will sum up the scores of both hands. If either hand totals 8 or 9, the dealer will declare a “natural,” and the hand stands. The other way to win is if the Banker’s total is less than 9. If it is, the dealer will draw a third card, which may or not boost the hand’s score.

The third card is drawn according to a set of rules that the dealer knows and applies in every hand. If the hand is a Player or Banker bet, and it results in a win, the winnings are paid out at 9:1 on a Banker bet and at 8:1 on a Player bet. If the hand is a Tie bet, it pays out at 8:1. Score sheets are provided to help you keep track of the result of each round.

For high rollers, baccarat is attractive because it has the lowest house edge of any game in the casino and doesn’t require a great deal of skill. There is also a bet on a tie, which pays eight to one, but that is riskier and has a higher house edge.

But, even with its low house edge, baccarat isn’t an easy game to make money at. The game is played quickly, and a losing streak can wipe out a large Bankroll in 30 seconds or so. It’s important to have a plan in place before you hit the tables, and always play within your budget.