Baccarat is a simple game of chance, and even though it’s often portrayed as more formal than blackjack or roulette in the movies, James Bond in Nassau or well-heeled gamblers in Havana playing Chemin de Fer or its variant baccarat en banque, it’s actually an easy game to play with low house edges. It’s also a relatively slow-paced game that’s great for new players; there’s no strategy needed, and you don’t need to keep track of a long number of chips.
It is played on a large table, with six seats to either side of the dealer, who does not participate in the game but deals the cards from a box called a shoe. Eight packs of standard 52-cards are shuffled and then dealt one at a time from the shoe. The croupier (dealer) then deals two cards to each of the Player and Banker hands, with only the Banker hand having a third card dealt when a tie bet is made. During this phase of the game, each player places his or her bets, and the croupier announces when no more bets can be placed.
After the croupier has dealt the cards, he or she will sum up the total value of each hand and declare whether it is a winner. A winning Banker hand pays out 1:1, while a winning Player hand receives a payout of 8:1. If you bet on the Tie, you will win nine-to-one but must pay a five percent commission to the banker.
The game has a few unique rules, such as the fact that only a 9 or a natural (8 or 9 plus a 9) wins. A seven and a six count as 13 but are dropped to three. Tens and picture cards count as zero, while aces count as one point. The croupier will then decide if a third card should be drawn, depending on the score of each hand and the type of bet made.
The simplest way to play baccarat is to choose either the player or the banker bet, and then let the game play out according to the predetermined rules. Unlike poker, for example, the game has no skill element and does not require any strategic thinking, which makes it a great choice for high-rollers who prefer a quick, simple, low-house-edge pastime that doesn’t require much brain power. This is why it has become a popular choice for casino games in Macau, Singapore, and on the Las Vegas Strip, where it accounts for 18 percent of all table-games revenue.