A Beginner’s Guide to Baccarat


Baccarat is a game of skill that is played on a large table in the high-limit areas of casinos. Players can place bets on either the Player or Banker hand, and a winner is determined by whose hand has a total closer to nine than the opponent’s. The cards are scored based on their total value, with a nine being worth ten points, while a seven or six counts as eight. A three or four counts as a five, and an ace count is worth one point.

The game is simple to learn but requires a lot of patience. Its rules are similar to those of blackjack, with from seven to 14 seats and a dealer’s area. Each player is given a score sheet and the game involves placing bets on the Player or Banker hand, which are dealt two cards each. A winning Player or Banker hand pays out 95% of the bet, while a tie bet wins 8-to-1. Score sheets are available at live baccarat tables to help players keep track of their scores.

Bill Zender, a former Nevada Gaming Control Agent and casino executive who literally wrote the book on managing casino games, says that Asian high rollers have made baccarat their game of choice because it suits their cultural preferences. He says that the game is less flashy than other casino table games and has a low house edge on both the Player and Banker bets. The third bet, on the tie, has a much higher house edge and is seldom made by serious players.

A seasoned baccarat player will be able to avoid the house’s 1.36 percent edge on the Player bet and a slightly higher advantage of about 1.17 percent on the Banker bet when accounting for the 5% commission charged by the bank. A savvy player will also forget the Tie bet entirely, which has a house edge of over 14 percent.

The first step to playing baccarat is to decide how much money you want to spend on the game. Baccarat is an expensive game to play, and you will want to stay within your budget. Determine how much you’re willing to spend in advance, and treat this as the amount of money you would spend on a night out. This will help you avoid making emotional decisions during the game that could cost you a fortune.

The second step is to practice at home before you go out and play. This will give you a feel for the game, and make it easier to play at a real casino when you finally have a chance to do so. You can even find a free online baccarat game that you can use to practice your skills. These games can be helpful for beginners who are unsure of how to handle themselves in a real casino. Ultimately, the most important step is to have fun! Playing baccarat is a great way to relax and enjoy yourself, and you can win big.