Whether you’re in a sticky-floor California card room or the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco, there are few casino games more glamorous than baccarat. This luxurious game is played on a large table in the high-roller rooms of land casinos, and it’s featured in old James Bond movies. But despite its lavish appearance, baccarat is actually one of the easiest games to play and has one of the lowest house edges in the casino industry.
The game’s basic rules are simple: players bet on which hand — Banker, Player, or Tie — will get the most points after cards are dealt. A winning hand has a total closer to nine than any other. The value of each card is determined by its digit, with the first digit counting as zero and the last digit counted as the number it’s closest to. If a two and a six are dealt, for example, the total is 14.
When the game was introduced to American audiences, the original rules allowed players to act as the banker. This is still available in some European casinos, but it’s rare for a regular gambler to have the bankroll required for this role. The modern version of the game allows only a player or banker to bet on the outcome, and players are paid if the game ends in a win or loss.
A baccarat table is set with nine seats around it, with space for two more at the head of the table (the “Punto Banco” or “chemin de Fer” variant). Each seat has its own designated area on the baccarat board marked with numbers. There are also spaces for the player and banker, with a space reserved for the croupier, who acts as the dealer in the game. The numbered areas are marked with the names of the major card suits, but they don’t represent the rank of the cards.
While the game’s simple rules make it an easy game to learn, some baccarat tips are still useful for beginners. For instance, a good rule of thumb is to avoid betting on the Tie. Although it pays out nine times the bet, the tie bet has the highest house edge of any bet in baccarat, so it’s usually best to simply bet on the Banker. In fact, most experienced players never bet on the tie, and they only bet on the Banker when the house edge is low enough to justify it. The same is true for the player bet, which should only be made when the banker’s house edge is lower than the player’s. The house edge on the banker bet is roughly 1.36 percent, while the player’s edge is around 1.4 percent. This makes the Banker bet an excellent choice for anyone looking to enjoy a relaxing game of baccarat without spending a fortune.