A Beginner’s Guide to Baccarat


Baccarat has long been associated with luxury, evoking images of men in tuxedos and women in posh evening gowns laying down their chips as the dealer distributes cards. While the game’s mystique may have some players intimidated, the reality is that baccarat is actually one of the easiest casino games to play, requiring only a small amount of practice.

The goal of the game is to correctly guess which hand will win each round: the Banker’s hand, the Player’s hand, or a tie. Two cards are dealt to each hand, and a third card is sometimes drawn for both hands. The winning hand is the one closest to nine points. The value of a hand is calculated by adding up the values of all its cards. However, if the total is above nine, the first digit must be dropped. For example, a 7 and a 3 is worth six points, while a 10 and 2 is worth four. A score sheet is provided for players to keep track of their progress.

In addition to betting on whether the Player, Banker, or Tie will win, players can also place a variety of side bets. These are placed before the cards are dealt, and their odds vary by establishment and platform. One popular side bet is the Player Pair, which wagers that the player will receive identical cards on the deal. This bet pays 11:1 odds. Another is the Banker Pair, which wagers that the banker will receive identical cards on the deal and pays 5:1 odds.

A number of different strategies have been developed for playing baccarat, but there’s no foolproof method that ensures success. In fact, anyone who claims to have discovered a secret formula for guaranteed wins is probably lying. Those who do have a solid strategy can improve their chances of winning by observing trends and patterns in the results of previous rounds.

A few basic rules are all that’s needed to get started with baccarat. The game is played with a six or eight-deck shoe, and the dealer passes out two cards to each gaming spot at the table, which are known as the Banker’s space and the Player’s space. A player or a banker can bet on either hand, and the players’ bets are settled according to the outcome of each hand. The game is a relatively low-stakes game, with the Banker’s bet offering the highest payout at 95% of your stake. A tie earns you a smaller payout of 8-to-1.