The Basics of Baccarat


Whether in a sticky-floor California card room or the tuxedo-adorned casinos of Monaco, baccarat never fails to draw large crowds. Its popularity is unmatched among table games, and it is one of the few casino games where even a novice can win. But this game can also be quite complex, and it is important to understand the rules before playing it.

In baccarat, there are from seven to 14 seats for players and a dealer’s area. Two hands are dealt: the Player’s hand and the Banker’s. The object of the game is to bet on a hand that has a total closer to nine than the opposing one. The value of the hand is determined by adding up all the pips, the dots on the cards that represent clubs, hearts, diamonds, and spades. Picture cards count as zero, while tens and aces count as one point each.

The simplest way to calculate the value of a hand is by using a score sheet. These are often available at live baccarat tables and are used to keep track of the results of each round. Players can choose to bet on either the Banker or the Player hand, but betting on the banker is generally preferred as it has a lower house edge. A 5% commission on winning bets is levied on the Banker’s hand, but the house edge is still significantly lower than that of the Player’s hand.

Some baccarat players swear by betting strategies like the Martingale Strategy and others look for patterns in the past 10 or more rounds of play. These strategies can have some success, but there is no way to determine what the result of any particular hand will be in advance.

If the Player’s and Banker’s hands both have a total of 8 or 9, the game is over. Placed bets are paid, and the next hand will begin. If the player’s and banker’s hands don’t have a total of 8, 9 or closer, a third card is drawn.

To maximize your chances of winning at baccarat, always bet on the banker’s hand. Despite the 5% commission that is levied on winning bets, this bet has a higher probability of winning compared to the player’s hand. Regardless of which hand you bet on, avoid betting on the Tie bet, as it has a high house advantage and only degenerate gamblers make this wager.