The Mystique of Baccarat


Baccarat is one of those glamorous games that makes you imagine men in tuxedos and women in posh evening gowns laying down chips in opulent casinos. Its mystique can be intimidating, but it’s actually a game that’s easy to play and fun to win. It also offers some interesting side bets that can increase the excitement of your bankroll and improve your chances of winning.

The game itself is played with six or seven standard decks of 52 cards. The goal is to correctly predict which of two hands will win, a player hand or a banker hand, or a tie. The value of the hand is determined by adding up the values of all the cards in the hand, but only the rightmost digit is taken into account (a 10 and a 6 are worth six points, for example). A player or a banker can have a third card drawn on a total of 7 or 8. If no third card is drawn, the winning hand is determined as the one closest to 9.

There’s a reason that baccarat is popular with high rollers. It has the lowest house edge of all casino table games and it draws in Asian players, who are often attracted to it for cultural reasons, explains Bill Zender, a former Nevada Gaming Control Board agent and longtime casino executive who literally wrote the book on managing casino games. It’s also a popular game at the high-end casinos in Macau and Singapore, where bets of $100,000 per hand are not uncommon.

It’s also a great option for online gamblers, since it’s very simple to understand and can be played from any computer or mobile device with an internet connection. Players place wagers on either the player or banker and wait for the dealer to deal out the cards. Once the cards are dealt, the bets are paid out according to whether the player or the banker won. A tie is sometimes awarded, but it’s rare.

While some gamblers claim to have a secret strategy for winning at Baccarat, it’s important to realize that the game is based on chance and there’s no foolproof way to guarantee success. Instead, enter the game with a plan and set limits for how much you’re willing to spend. If you hit your limit, leave the table and come back another day. In the meantime, remember that gambling is meant to be enjoyable and not a financial burden. Decide how much you want to spend in advance and treat it like money you’d spend on a night out, not as a way to make a profit.