The card game baccarat has been around for centuries and remains one of the most popular casino games. Who can forget that scene in Casino Royale in which James Bond plays baccarat against villain Le Chiffre! But the game also enjoys immense popularity in Asian countries, particularly China. In Macau, for example, baccarat generates well over 80% of all casino profits.
The popularity of the game stems, in part, from the ease of gameplay. However, there are many other reasons for the popularity of this entertaining casino game. Read on to find out more and pick up some tips about baccarat strategy and rules.
How to play baccarat
Before getting started, you may want to brush up on some basic baccarat terminology. Simple to learn, exciting to play – here’s how to play baccarat.
- The game is played with a standard 52-card deck plus an optional joker which is only used in the event of a tie.
- Players bet on the player hand, the banker hand, or a tie.
- Two cards are dealt to the player hand and two to the banker hand.
- The value of each hand is determined by adding the value of the individual cards and deducting the tens digit from the result. For example, if the player hand is dealt a seven and a six, the total value would be 13 and the value of the hand, three. Cards two to nine equal their face value, whereas 10, jack, queen and king have a zero value and ace equals one.
- If either the player hand or the banker hand has a value of eight or nine (called a “natural”), that hand wins. If both hands have a natural, it’s a tie.
- If neither hand has a natural, a third card may be dealt according to certain rules. These rules are known as the “drawing rules” and are based on the value of the player and banker hands.
- Once all the cards have been dealt, the hand with the highest value wins. If the player hand wins, all bets on the player hand are paid out. If the banker hand wins, all bets on the banker hand are paid out. If there is a tie, all bets on the tie are paid out.
Why is baccarat so popular?
Now that you understand how to play baccarat, let’s consider the reasons for the game’s popularity, whether one is playing baccarat online or in a casino.
Baccarat is straightforward
Like so many other casino games, baccarat is easy to learn and will keep you entertained for hours without requiring too much effort. Baccarat rules are simple and easy to remember and even if you get a little confused, the dealer is always there to lend a helping hand. Baccarat is also accessible to players of all levels.
The general baccarat strategy is simple: always bet on the banker. Unlike most other casino games, such as online poker, you don’t need to use complicated strategies. The simple strategy of betting on the banker is highly effective. All in all the banker wins 45.86% of the time, the player 44.62% and ties occur 9.52% of the time. To counteract the banker advantage, there is a five percent commission on house bets.
An air of elegance
It’s no surprise that the 2013 movie The Great Gatsby features a baccarat game at one of the extravagant parties thrown by the wealthy character Jay Gatsby. Baccarat is a sophisticated game associated with high rollers and luxury. However, if you have a limited bankroll, you can place small bets and still enjoy the game in all its elegance.
Low house edge
This means that, compared to other games, the casino has a smaller advantage or house edge, which makes it more attractive to players. At only 1.06%, baccarat’s house edge is better than you would find at slot, roulette and most other casino games. Playing games with a lower house edge provides the longest playing time from your bankroll.
Fast paced and online
Baccarat rounds last only a few minutes. This makes it a great option for players who want a quick game. Also, the rise of baccarat online means that players can enjoy the game in the comfort of their own homes.
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