How Does Baccarat Work?


If you’ve ever been to a casino, whether it be a sticky-floor card room in California or the tuxedo-laden casinos of Monaco, you have likely seen baccarat being played. Tucked away in high-limit gaming areas, this game is a spectacle to behold, from the large gaming table to the oversized chips (sometimes even $100 bills) that are spread around. But what exactly is baccarat and how does it work?

While some players try to find a strategy for winning at this game, it is largely up to chance. Players can choose to bet on the Player hand, the Banker hand or a Tie. The objective is to predict which hand will subsequently acquire a total closest to nine points. Both the Player and Banker hands are dealt two cards each and are never allowed to have more than three cards.

The rules of baccarat vary slightly from place to place but in general the basic game is the same. The only thing that a player can control is how much to wager on the Player or Banker hand and how to bet on the Tie. There are standard house rules for each that determine when either hand will need a third card. In some cases, neither hand will need a third card and the round ends in a tie.

A hand’s total is calculated by adding up the values of all the cards in the hand. Note that the suits have no value in this game and all cards are counted at their numerical values, with 10 being worth zero, and the ace being worth one point. When a total crosses 9 or enters double-digits, the first digit is dropped (for example, 13 becomes 3).

Once all the cards are dealt according to a fixed dealing pattern and the results of the hand are declared by the dealer, if a Tie bet was made, the bets are settled. The Banker hand is awarded a winning bet of 9:1 if it has the highest total after all the cards have been played out. If the Banker hand has a higher total than the Player hand, it wins and the winner is paid. The Banker will receive a 5% commission on winning bets, which is tracked in the Commission Box by the Dealer and collected when the winning Banker bet pays out.

Baccarat is a game of chance, but there are a few tips that can help you improve your chances of winning. For starters, it’s important to set a budget before you head to the baccarat tables. You don’t want to get too carried away and end up losing more money than you intended. Also, make sure to play only with money you can afford to lose and treat it as if it were spending money on a night out rather than an investment. This way, you’ll be more focused and won’t spend as much as you would have otherwise.