What is Baccarat?


Baccarat has a reputation as one of the most glamorous casino table games around. The game is favored by high rollers and Asian gamblers. It is played on large tables in the high-roller rooms of casinos for table minimums of $25, $50, $100 or more. It is slow-moving and ritualistic, and players actually get to deal the cards. There are three possible outcomes in a round of baccarat, banker win, player win and tie. The Tie bet has a house edge of over 14 percent, so smart players skip it and stick to the Player or Banker bets.

Originally called Punto Banco, baccarat is a simple card game of chance that can be found at land-based casinos in the US and most states that have legalized online gambling including Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan. Baccarat is similar to blackjack, but is much simpler. Baccarat is a house backed game where the dealer takes a 5% commission on winning bets on the Banker hand and players place bets against the bank.

When a round begins, the Banker and the Player hands are dealt two cards each. The winning hand is the one closest to nine points. The cards are placed face down and the rules of the game dictate how a winning hand is determined. In most cases the Banker hand is the winner. If the Banker and the Player hands have the same total, then a third card is drawn. If the third card is a nine, then the Banker hand wins. The other hand is considered a loser and must pay out the lost bets to the winning bettors.

In addition to the Banker and Player bets, many baccarat games offer a side bet on a tie. The odds of a tie are usually 8 to 1 and can be better in some locations. These bets are not recommended since they have a high house edge and are often paid out at a lower percentage of the total stake than the Player and Banker bets.

The name baccarat is thought to have come from the Latin word for “to draw”. However, there is no modern evidence that the game existed before the 19th century. It is also unclear where the game originated, as a number of implausible legends have been spread.

In the United States, baccarat has become increasingly popular. Its popularity has led to a number of variations, and some casinos have even introduced mini-baccarat. While the game retains some of its elegance from its European origins, it can now be enjoyed at most casinos for table minimums significantly lower than blackjack. While the game may be a little intimidating for beginners, a few important tips can help. First, always set a limit for yourself before you play. It is easy to get carried away and spend more than you intended, so it is important to decide how much you want to spend in advance. Second, it is important to understand the rules of the game and how a round works. Finally, know what a winning hand is and how to calculate the value of each bet.