How to Play Baccarat

The game of baccarat is one of the most glamorous casino table games. Its popularity in land casinos and online demonstrates its enduring appeal as a high-stakes card game that is relatively simple to learn and can be completed rather quickly. It also reflects the fact that it is, unlike other casino games such as blackjack and roulette, an entirely game of chance.

The objective of the game is to correctly guess which hand will acquire a total closest to nine. Players place bets on the Bank hand, Player hand or a Tie, and the hand that scores closest to nine wins. Two cards are dealt to each hand, and the banker may elect to draw a third. The game is played with eight or six decks that are shuffled before each deal. All cards have a numerical value (nine equals nine, two equals two, etc.), and the suits have no significance.

In the American version of the game, baccarat is played with actual cash and $100-bills are scattered all around the table. In Europe, the game is played for very high stakes and high-denomination chips are used. It is a very prestigious game, and the baccarat tables in most European casinos are situated in a special alcove that is separated from the main casino area.

Before the cards are dealt, all wagers must be placed by players and observing bystanders. The player to the right of the banker, if any, may decide to “go bank”, and in that case must place a wager equal to the amount of the current banker’s wager. Players who are not wishing to be bankers then place their wagers in order of their preference, or, if they prefer, they may choose to play as punters.

Once all the bets have been placed, the dealer deals the cards. The Bank hand is dealt first, and then the Player hand. The player who made the largest wager on the Player hand receives the initial two cards by throwing them onto the table through a slot in the center of the table. The Caller then announces the Player hand total (e.g., Player 6).

The players and banker then compare their hands. If the Banker hand or the Player hand has a total of 8 or 9, no further cards are drawn. If the Banker hand has a total of 5 or less, the Banker must hit; otherwise, it must stand. If the Player hand has a total of 8 to 9, it is considered a natural and no further cards are drawn. If the Player hand has a total between 7 and 5, a third card is drawn. A player who makes a correct prediction on either the Banker or Player hand will receive a payout of 1 to 1. Winning bets on the Tie receive a 9 to 1 payoff, although this is often reduced by 5% for a winning tie bet in many casinos.