A Beginner’s Guide to Baccarat


Baccarat is one of the most popular casino games. While it is often associated with high-roller table stakes and James Bond-style gambling glamour, it is surprisingly accessible for casual players as well. It’s a simple game of chance, and while it isn’t a skill-based game, there are a few key things you should know before playing.

The first thing to understand is that the best baccarat strategy is to always back the banker. Statistically, this has the highest chances of winning. However, casinos know this, so they often charge a small commission on wins when you back the banker. This is why you need to check the rules of your casino before committing any money to play baccarat.

Once you’ve understood the basic game, it’s time to learn how to place your bets. The baccarat table is large and covered in green felt with numbered boxes for Player, Banker and Tie bets. The croupier (dealer) deals from a shoe which contains eight 52-card packs. The cards are shuffled together and dealt two at a time to the player and banker hands. The Player and Banker hands are compared to see which has the closest total value of nine points.

In most cases, the hand that comes closest to a total of nine wins. There are some exceptions, though. Picture or face cards are worth 0 points, while the numbers 2-9 are valued at their face value and the ace is worth one point. When the total number of points exceeds 9 or enters double digits, the second digit becomes the value of the hand.

You can also place side bets on the game, although the odds of these vary depending on the platform or establishment. One common side bet is the Player Pair, which wagers that the player will receive matching cards on the deal and pays 11:1 odds. Another option is the Banker Pair, which bets that the banker will receive identical cards on the deal and pays 5:1 odds.

If either the player or banker hands have a total of eight or nine on the deal, they win. If the banker and player have equal totals, a tie is declared.

While it may seem like a boring casino game, baccarat actually has quite an interesting history. Its popularity in Asia has skyrocketed over the last few decades, and it is now a big business in most casinos across the continent. In fact, Baccarat has been featured in a number of films, including the James Bond film Never Say Never Again and the 1956 French heist movie Bob le Flambeur.

Whether you’re looking to make a quick bet on a ten-or-more-point winner or are interested in trying out the James Bond pageantry of tuxedo-clad dealers, Baccarat can provide an entertaining evening in any Las Vegas casino. But, whatever you do, remember to bet within your bankroll and avoid going overboard. You’ll quickly run out of money if you start betting more than you can afford to lose.