How to Play Baccarat


Baccarat is one of the most elegant and glamorous casino games in existence. Its trappings, including its use of real cash and the fact that it is played on specially designed tables with oblong “plaques” that hold $100 bills, make it stand out from other casino games. Its allure is also enhanced by the fact that it is a game of pure chance and does not require any particular skill.

The game, which is also known as Punto Banco and Chemin de Fer in France and as Banker and Player in the United States, has its roots in medieval Italy where it was popular among noblemen and aristocrats. In the 19th Century it spread to England and then reached Las Vegas where it was played for high stakes in private rooms. It was here that Ian Fleming learned how to play the game and used its rules as he created his famous spy James Bond.

A croupier or dealer operates the game, which is usually played on a large table. Eight 52-card packs are shuffled together and the cards dealt from a dealing box, called a shoe. The croupier deals two cards to the player and the banker and then draws a third card if necessary to determine which hand is the winner. The object of the game is to wager on which hand will have a total closest to nine. The best way to reduce the house edge is by betting on the Banker.

If either the Player or Banker hands have a total of 8 or 9, they are known as ‘naturals’ and win the game. However, if the first two cards are equal in value (as in a 9 and a 6), a third card is drawn to decide which hand is the winner. If neither hand has a natural, the game ends in a tie.

In addition to the Player and Banker bets, most baccarat games offer a Tie bet. This bet pays out your original bet back plus a nine-percent commission on any winning bets. In the US, a typical baccarat game offers odds of 8 to 1 against a Tie bet.

When playing baccarat, it is important to practice good bankroll management. Because the game is so fast-paced and can produce long streaks of wins or losses, a smart strategy should be followed to limit your risk. For example, staking 10 units for each wager and setting a maximum number of rounds per session (followed by a complete break) is a wise schedule to follow. With careful bankroll management, you can enjoy thousands of rounds of baccarat without losing sight of your overall gambling budget. This will help you maintain a profit and avoid the risk of going broke in a matter of minutes.