Baccarat is that sexy card game you see in James Bond movies where high-rollers sit around a table in opulent casinos. But despite its mystique, the game is surprisingly simple to learn and play. Moreover, it’s one of the safest and most enjoyable casino games out there. With a little bit of practice, you can be playing the game like a pro in no time.
In baccarat, players place bets on whether the player hand, banker hand or tie will win in each round of the game. The dealer deals two cards to the banker hand and to the player hand, and whoever has the hand closest to nine wins. The game is typically dealt from a six or eight-deck shoe, with all 10s, jacks, queens, and kings equaling nine, and aces equaling one.
Unlike blackjack, which has a house edge of 0.5 percent, baccarat’s hold percentage is just over 1 percent, making it one of the safest bets in the casino. It’s also a game that attracts the high rollers, who prefer its slow pace and ritualistic dealing of the cards. This is why you can often find a baccarat table in the high-roller rooms of casinos, with table minimums of $25, $50, $100 and beyond.
The main reason to play baccarat is that it’s one of the best games for winning money in the casino. The rules are fairly straightforward: a Player bet pays out 1:1 to the player, a Banker bet pays out 9:1 to the banker, and a Tie bet pays out 8:1 but comes with a 14 percent edge in favor of the casino. Most serious players stick to the player or banker bets and avoid the Tie bet altogether.
While the game’s rules are easy to understand, there are a few things that you should know before you sit down to play. First, you should be aware of the difference between baccarat and mini-baccarat. While baccarat is played on large tables in the high-roller rooms of casinos with table minimums of $50 or more, mini-baccarat is played on smaller, 9-inch-by-18-inch tables and has lower stakes.
Mini-baccarat makes the game more accessible to players who may not want to spend a lot of money in a casino, but still wants to enjoy the thrills of a classic gambling experience. Additionally, mini-baccarat is sometimes referred to as baccarat “with the commission,” which essentially eliminates the banker’s 5% house edge. This version is favored by many online casinos.