What is Baccarat?

Baccarat is a casino game where players wager on the outcome of two hands; either a Player hand or a Banker hand. The game is played on a special table with from seven to 14 seats for players and one for the dealer. Players place their bets in boxes marked as Player, Banker or Tie. There are also sheets at the table to keep track of scores. Baccarat is a game of chance and luck; the best strategy is to know when to draw and when to stand. The aim is to get a total as close to nine as possible without going over. The higher the total, the more money you win.

The game was once called chemin de fer, and its name may be a reference to the way the shoe moves around the table like a train (chun-dee in Cantonese) or to railways, which were the fastest available transport at the time of its invention in the 18th century. It was a popular casino game in Europe and America until the early 20th century, when it fell out of favour and was replaced by the simpler Punto Banco version that is now the most common form of the game.

During the game, two cards are dealt for the Player hand and two for the Banker’s hand. The point count is calculated by adding the values of each card. If the Player and Banker hands are equal, it is a tie and no additional cards are drawn. Otherwise, a third card is added to the Player and Banker hands. The winner is the hand that is closest to nine. Picture cards and Tens are worth 0 points, numbered cards from 2 to 9 have their face value, and the Ace is worth one point. When the points total crosses nine or enters double digits, the second digit becomes the value of the hand.

A Player or Banker bet pays out 8 to 1 if the winning hand is an 8. If the winner is a 9, the house charges a 5% commission on the bet. Unlike many other casino games, Baccarat allows players to make bets on both the Player and Banker hand.

In addition to the Player and Banker bets, Baccarat offers a Tie bet which pays out 8 to 1 if the two hands have the same value. This is a riskier bet because it doesn’t protect your initial stake against a loss.

Before you start playing Baccarat, decide how much you’re willing to spend and set a betting limit for yourself. This is especially important when you’re at a casino, where it’s easy to get carried away. Make sure you only gamble with money that you can afford to lose, and don’t use credit cards to fund your gambling. You can also claim Casino Bonuses and Rewards to maximise your winnings. Just remember to check the terms and conditions carefully to make sure you’re eligible for these offers.