Baccarat is a popular game played in casinos around the world. It is also the most popular casino game in the United States. In this two-handed poker style game, players wager on their hand or the banker’s hand. The goal is to get closer to nine than the opposite hand.
Players sit around a two-sided table and place bets in order of preference. A third card is then dealt. If a player’s hand is zero, he or she is free to call the ‘carte’, or to re-bet. The player has the option to take a third card, but the player should be careful to avoid drawing a card if the banker has a total of seven. Likewise, if the dealer has a total of six, a player should not draw a card.
The first player, known as the ‘player’, is dealt two cards. If the first two cards total eight or nine, a bet is automatically won. However, if the hand is less than eight or nine, a bet is considered a tie, and the players are paid 8 to 1 instead of winning a single bet. Alternatively, the banker can draw a card, or stand, which is the choice of the banker.
Traditionally, baccarat has been played with four different dealers. These dealers were positioned at different places along the table. They each had a chance to be the banker, but only one could be the banker.
Unlike blackjack and roulette, baccarat has no house advantage. The house edge is actually a very small amount – on average, 1.2 percent. As such, baccarat is a favorite among high rollers in casinos. Those who bet a large sum on a single hand, or are overly aggressive with their bets, are susceptible to losing in this game.
To win in baccarat, the player must have the best hand. This is achieved by getting as close to nine as possible. When a player’s hand is eight or nine, he or she is called a ‘natural’, and the game is over. Alternatively, a tie can be won. Depending on the outcome of the game, a tie bet will offer slightly better odds.
In baccarat, the first two cards that each player receives are deemed to be ‘naturals’. If the first two cards are higher than nine, the banker must then drop the first digit. For example, if a player has a hand with an ace and a seven, the banker must then drop the ace, giving the player a five. Similarly, if a player has a pair of aces, the banker must then drop the aces.
In a full-scale baccarat game, the dealer does not deal out cards from a shoe, but instead uses a separate area to handle the game. The game is run by three dealers. One is the banker, another is the dealer, and the third is the player. Each group of players plays against the other, and the banker takes bets from the other players.