The Basics of Baccarat


Baccarat is one of the world’s most popular casino games. It is often played for high stakes, and a special table is set aside in a room away from the main casino floor for the game. Its glamorous trappings and low house advantage have made it a favorite among Asian high rollers, who make up the majority of baccarat’s players. But the game is also growing in popularity in casinos in North America, where it can be found with table minimums of $25 or more.

Baccarat, which is not considered a game of skill, has a simple ruleset. The objective is to get a hand total closest to nine without going over. The game is played with eight 52-card packs that are shuffled together and dealt by the croupier, or dealer. Each player sits at a specific number around the baccarat table, which is marked with numbered areas for placing Player, Banker, or Tie bets. Players may choose to play multiple hands in the same round, and the dealer will take care of all the betting after each hand.

The game’s history is long and varied. In the 18th Century, the game was a favorite of European royalty, and the famous Baccarat factory in France produced glassware for many prominent clients, including Charles X. The factory also crafted large, elaborate chandeliers and other pieces for the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1855.

In the United States, baccarat is most often played with real money – $100 bills are spread around the table in American casinos. However, in Europe, the game is typically played with higher-denomination chips. These chips are shaped like small plaques, and are usually a deep green or cream color, so they stand out from the black or white standard casino chips. In both cases, baccarat is a slow-moving game that requires the patience of players.

Although the game is easy to learn, there are some nuances of the rules that may confuse new players. For example, the ace card is worth only one point in baccarat, while the ten, jack, and queen cards are all worth zero points. The game also has some etiquette that must be followed to avoid offending other players or the dealer.

Despite the glamour and luxury surrounding the game, it remains one of the lowest-hold casino games in the world, with a house edge of about 1.2 percent on both the Player and Banker bets. There is a third bet, the tie, that pays out 9:1 if it wins, but it has a much larger house edge of over 14 percent and is not recommended for most serious players.

Baccarat’s popularity in Asia has prompted some North American casinos to add the game, offering it alongside more traditional options like blackjack and roulette. Although baccarat is not the most profitable of all casino games, it does provide some high-rollers with a unique gaming experience that they can’t find anywhere else. In Macau, the city that dethroned Las Vegas as the world’s largest gambling hub last year, baccarat accounts for more than 88 percent of casino revenue.

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