The Basics of Baccarat


Baccarat is a casino game that is currently enjoying renewed popularity among high rollers. The game, which is also known as Punto Banco and can now be legally played online in the five US states that have legalized it, is a house backed card game with a simple structure. Players place their bets on either the player hand, the banker hand or a tie and then wait for the result to be announced. The goal of the game is to make the hand you bet on, or the banker hand if betting against the player, score as close to nine as possible. The digits of the cards are calculated by adding up their ranks, with face cards counting as zero and aces counting as one.

While baccarat is often considered to be a game of chance, it has a well-established set of rules and strategy. Its simplicity and rigourous process make it one of the safest games to play in casinos, where the house has an edge of around 1.2 percent on both player and banker bets. While some casinos offer a third option, the tie, which pays out 8 to 1 if both the player and banker hands equal the same number, the house advantage on this bet is much higher at over 14 percent.

The earliest versions of Baccarat were played with the Player’s and Banker’s hands concealed, only being revealed once all decisions on the draw had been made. However, this limited information was sufficient for players to come up with a basic strategy that would result in the most wins. Today, the Player’s and Banker’s decisions are based on an established table of decision rules.

Although older Baccarat variants offered some scope for player choice, the current game is almost entirely determined by fixed rule sets. As such, it is impossible to win by following strategies based on pattern recognition or Martingale-style betting systems. Moreover, the House advantage on the Player and Banker bets is almost always offset by the commission charged on winnings.

For these reasons, the modern incarnation of Baccarat is relatively streamlined and focuses on simple bets and payouts. The table is a little more spacious, and the rules have been simplified to reduce the number of potential errors. The shuffle and deal process are the same as in traditional baccarat, but the decks of cards used are standard 52-card decks stacked together.

The Baccarat factory was founded in the mid-18th Century by a French nobleman eager to establish a prestigious artistic workshop in his diocese. The company was soon commissioned to design table services and drinkware by some of the most prominent patrons in Europe, including the French Crown. Its pieces are celebrated for their beauty, particularly their prismatic lustre that allows them to reflect a wide variety of colours depending on how they’re illuminated.