How to Play Baccarat

Baccarat is that enigmatic casino card game you see high-rollers in tuxedos playing in luxurious casinos. Its mystique is more a function of style than substance, though, and it’s easy to learn and enjoy. This thrilling game of chance is an excellent choice for players of all experience levels.

Before you can start playing baccarat, however, you must make your bet. The rules of baccarat are simple: place your chips on either the Player, Banker, or Tie betting area before the cards are dealt. Then, wait for the results.

Depending on the casino and online platform, there are a number of interesting side bets you can also place. These wagers pay out in addition to the player, banker, or tie result and their odds vary by establishment. For instance, you can place a bet on the Player Pair, which pays 11:1 odds; the Banker Pair, which pays 9:1; and the Tie Pair, which pays 8:1.

Once all bets are placed, two cards will be dealt to the “Player” and the “Banker.” Unless there is a third card drawn, whichever hand has a total closest to nine is declared the winner. Usually, the hands are dealt from a six- or eight-deck shoe. Counting the points is easy: 10s, jacks, queens, and kings are worth zero; all other cards are worth their face value. Aces count as one point.

The goal of a baccarat hand is to have the final digit in its total be as close to nine as possible. The digit is calculated by adding up all the pips (the dots on each card that represent clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades) and dropping the first numeral in the total. For example, a hand with an ace and a seven counts as 15. If the final digit is over 9, the player must subtract ten from the total.

A winning player hand qualifies for a payout of 1:1, but the house imposes a 5% commission on winning banker bets, which reduces the payout to 19 to 20. A winning banker hand also qualifies for a payout of 1:1, which is the same as your stake.

A win on the banker hand is the best bet in baccarat, as it has a lower house edge than the player bet. However, it is important to enter into a baccarat session with a plan: determine how much you are willing to lose at the table and stop when you reach your loss limit. By doing so, you’ll ensure that your casino experience is a positive one. And don’t forget to try a baccarat variant, such as Lunar New Year baccarat, to get a fresh take on the classic game. It’s a great way to switch things up and add some variety to your gaming routine.