Baccarat, also known as punto banco or chemin de fer (French for “table game”), is one of the most popular casino games in the world. It has a high house edge but offers a low risk to players. The game is played on a table with green felt covering the surface and numbered areas where bets are placed.
The game is a regulated card game, where players place bets on the Bank Hand or Player Hand, depending on which of the two hands has the highest total points. The winning hand is the one closest to 9.
Despite its formality and James Bond-movie aesthetics, baccarat is not a difficult game to play. There is no skill required, and it can be played by people of all ages and backgrounds.
Before betting, players should be familiar with the rules of the game. Each hand is dealt two cards, with the Bank Hand getting two additional cards if it wins. The total points of the Player and Bank Hands are compared to determine which hand is closer to 9 than the other. If neither hand gets a total of 9, the round is considered a tie, and both hands lose their wagers.
There are eight 52-card packs used in a standard baccarat game. These packs are shuffled and dealt by the croupier, or dealer, from a dealing box called a shoe, which releases cards at a time face down.
In the game, the values of cards are as follows: 2s through 9s count face value; tens and picture cards have a zero point value, while an ace counts one point. When the total of a hand exceeds nine, a third card is drawn, and the first digit of that card’s total is dropped or subtracted from the total to get an adjusted count of the hand.
The croupier then calls out the total of each hand, announcing the score and placing it on a layout labeled PLAYERS or BARBERS. The dealer will then collect the bets and pay out winnings, but he or she may take a commission for the win on the Bank Hand, which is recorded in a commission box and collected for each winning banker hand.
If both Player and Bank Hands have the same total, a third card is drawn, if it’s needed by either of the hands, or a stand is taken, if neither of the hands needs a third card. Whether or not a third card is drawn can vary according to the house rules at a particular venue, so players must know what to expect and what their options are.
Unlike blackjack, where players have to make decisions about when to stand or hit, baccarat is simple enough for novice players to learn. There are standard house rules for the drawing of third cards, and the dealer will follow those rules. However, there are some strategies that can be employed to maximize the chances of winning. Those who are new to baccarat can consult a casino’s strategy guide before making any bets.