The Basics of Baccarat

Baccarat is a game that requires both skill and luck. High rollers gravitate to it for a variety of reasons, including its cultural appeal and the fact that it has one of the lowest house edges in casino games. The game has a fixed house edge of only 1.2 percent on Banker and Player bets, as well as an eight-to-one payout on winning Super Six or Pair Bets. This low house edge makes baccarat a popular choice for high rollers, but the game is also complicated and requires some basic rules to understand before you play.

The game is played on a table with from seven to 14 seats for players and a dealer’s area. Only two hands of cards are dealt: the Player’s hand and the Banker’s hand. Each hand is given a point value. Picture cards and tens are worth zero points, while cards numbered from 2-9 are worth their face value. Aces are worth one point. The hand that has the highest total wins. The simplest way to win a hand is by betting on either the Player or Banker. Ties are very rare, occurring in 9.6 percent of all rounds.

To begin a hand, players place their bets in the Player or Banker boxes on the baccarat table. The dealer then deals two cards to each box. The Banker’s and Player’s hands are then compared to determine which one is closest to nine points. If the Player’s hand is equal to or greater than 9, the hand is a natural and no third card is drawn. If the Player’s hand is below 9 or 8 points, the dealer will declare a tie.

Unlike blackjack, the value of each hand in baccarat is not fixed. A hand’s total can go above nine, but the value will always revert to a single-digit number once all cards are dealt. This is because baccarat uses a system of adding and dropping where the second digit becomes the final value of a hand.

If the total of a hand is higher than 10, the player must drop the first digit to get its true value. This rule was implemented to prevent a player from using the third digit to calculate their total. This is why the game is known as a ‘no-third-card’ game.

The game’s popularity has exploded in recent years, as casinos have begun to offer baccarat tables to high rollers. Nevertheless, the game has not become particularly popular among non-Asian tourists and is still the favored casino game of many Asians. In a conference call last year, MGM Resorts International Chairman and CEO Jim Murren stated that high-rollers from outside Asia prefer to play other casino games such as poker and roulette. He said that the casino industry needs to “expand the choices of high-rollers from our Asian markets” to attract them to their properties. This means that the casinos need to make their baccarat offerings more attractive to non-Asian visitors, which may include offering additional side bets and higher payouts on winning bets.