The Basics of Baccarat

Baccarat has taken the gambling world by storm, offering players a low house edge and straightforward gameplay. It’s no surprise that it’s favored by high rollers and can be found in the big money sections of many European and Nevada casinos. But before you play, it’s important to understand the rules and payouts of this casino game.

Baccarat is a card game with a history dating back to the 1400s. It was popular among the nobility in Italy and France, and even after public gambling became illegal, it continued to thrive in private homes. In the late 1800s, it was introduced to a new audience in casinos, and by the 20th century it had become one of the most famous casino games in Europe.

The game is simple: players bet on the Player or Banker hand, and the winner is determined by which hand is closer to nine. In order to calculate the value of a hand, the first digit is dropped (for example, a seven and a six would result in a three, since only the last digit counts in baccarat). Aces are worth one point, while 10s, Jacks, Queens, and Kings count as zero points. The game is played in a special table and pit, with the dealer dealing two cards for himself and two cards for the bettors’ side. After the deal, the player and the banker reveal their hands. The hand with the highest number wins, and a tie bet is paid out according to a set table of winning odds.

Despite its simplicity, baccarat can be quite tricky to master, especially for beginners. It’s easy to get distracted by the game’s side bets, which offer higher payouts than the basic Player or Banker bets. However, these side bets come with a much higher house edge, so it’s best to avoid them.

The biggest tip when playing baccarat is to always bet on the Banker, as it has the lowest house edge and offers the best long-term odds. You should also avoid the Tie bet, as it has a very high house edge and isn’t likely to earn you any significant amount of money over time.

Aside from betting on the Banker, the other main strategy in baccarat is to know your limits and stick to them. It’s important to have a budget and to walk away from the table with at least part of your bankroll intact. Otherwise, you risk becoming another Phil Ivey—an infamous high-stakes gambler who has made headlines for losing $10 million to two different Atlantic City casinos in 2012.