What Is Baccarat, and How Does It Work

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You may think that Baccarat is a demanding and complex game due to its intimidating name. However, this article will help you understand what Baccarat is and how it works.

What Kind of Game is Baccarat?

You can conclude right from the name that Baccarat originates from France. It was one of the favorite games at the French court during the 19th century. Modern Baccarat became famous thanks to the one and only — James Bond, who liked spending time at the Baccarat table playing the “Chemin the Fer” version of the game.

Although this game is most commonly the choice of high rollers, who play only at the high-stakes tables, there is a Mini Baccarat game where the stakes are much lower, made so everyone can afford to play it.

The Main Goal of the Game

Many laymen would tell you that Baccarat resembles Blackjack because your main goal is to hit a particular number or to have a better score than the Banker. What’s more, there are only three options to choose from in both games. You can bet on the Player, the House (the Banker), or that the hand will end as a tie. But this is where all the similarities between Baccarat and Blackjack end.

In a Baccarat game, you don’t have any saying in the course or the outcome of the game because the dealer runs the whole show. Yours is just to pick an option you want to bet on, and wait to see what hands will be dealt. There are set rules to follow relating to the different totals both Player and Banker can get in a Baccarat game.

Punto Banco the Best-Known Version of Baccarat

Punto Banco or the American Baccarat is the Baccarat version played in casinos all over the world. This game is played at the table that can take up to fourteen players, there are two dealers standing at different ends of the table, taking care of bets while the central position is reserved for the Croupier who is in charge of the entire gameplay.

Before the dealing, you place your bet by putting your chips on one of three marked fields laid on the table in front of you.

This is the only decision you are required to make in a Baccarat game, once you finish this, you just have to sit back and wait for the dealer to announce the winning hand.

The dealer hands out two cards to both the Banker and the Player. The cards are face up so people at the table can see them. The dealer then announces the totals and determines the winner.

Cards from 2 to 9 count as they show, Aces go as 1 while all face cards don’t add up any value to the hand total, i.e., they all count as 0.

There are specific rules you need to follow when drawing in Baccarat. The best case scenario for both sides is to get either a nine or an eight (in total) right away, also known as the “natural” — the winner is announced on the spot.

If however, neither of these favorable outcomes take place, the dealer applies the set of defined rules to determine the winner.

If the points total exceeds 10 only the last digit will count. For example, if a hand consists of a six and a seven, that is 6 + 7 = 13, the score of this hand is only 3.

This calls for additional action because if a player holds a total ranging from 0 to 5, one card from the deck is added. If however, he has six or seven, he stands. The same game rule applies to the Banker’s hand.

In the end, the dealer calls out the winner, depending on the card totals shown, and the winning bettors can collect their chips.

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Who Should You Bet on in Baccarat?

Even though you don’t make any decisions that can affect the course and the outcome of the game, you have to choose an option you reckon will win the game.

The essential thing to pay attention to here is the house edge attached to each of the betting options. The house edge represents a percentage every casino takes from the bets placed in a game over some time. When we talk about this percentage related to different bets in Baccarat, the most favorable house edge is with the Banker bet (1.06%), but the casino will take 5% off your winnings as a commission.

The Player option also offers a small house edge of around 1.3%, with a 1:1 payout.

The Tie option may seem the most appealing at first sight because if you win this bet you can expect a generous payout of eight times your original bet. However, don’t be fooled by this attractive offer. The house edge for the Tie bet is almost 15%, so you should steer clear of it.

Every casino is, in essence, a business, and they don’t part with their money so easily. They promise to give you 8:1 payout in case you bet on a Tie. However, the house knows this is the least probable outcome in Baccarat, yet the house edge is the highest. The Banker would be the safest bet here, but again the casino tries to deter you from it by taking a 5% cut out of your winnings.

Final Word

I hope this article helped you understand this classic casino table game better. Baccarat may seem puzzling with all the rules and the specific card values, but in fact, this is an easy game to play.

There is no strategy or special skills you need to master before you sit at the Baccarat table. You only have to choose a winning option and hope for the best outcome. So, leave all your prejudice about Baccarat behind, and try it for yourself.

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