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Baccarat Strategy – How to Count Cards in Baccarat

Baccarat is a casino game of chance in which players bet on the relative value of two hands of two cards each before the hand is dealt or the cards are revealed. One hand is referred to as the “player’s” hand, while the other is known as the “banker’s” hand. The game is played on a large table in the high-roller rooms of casinos for a minimum bet of $25, $50, $100 or more. It is a slow-moving, ritualistic game, and the cards are actually dealt by a live dealer. It is possible to improve one’s results slightly by counting cards, but the effort involved in this activity is enormous and the opportunities for profit are quite small.

A deck of eight standard playing cards is used, with Aces equaling one, 10s and picture or face cards equaling zero, and numbered cards from 2 to 9 taking their respective number value. The goal of the game is to get as close to nine points without going over, and this is accomplished by adding up the values of the two cards in your hand. If the total goes over nine, you must drop the first digit.

When all bets have been placed, the dealer will deal a single card to each of the two gaming spaces at the baccarat table—the banker’s space and the player’s space. The resulting total for each hand is then calculated by a number of rules. In the past, the player’s and banker’s cards were kept hidden and only the result of the draw was exposed. Today, the player and banker are both shown to the audience, which can help make the decision-making process more transparent.

There are three betting options in baccarat: the player hand winning, the banker’s hand winning, and the tie. The house edge is higher when betting on the player’s hand, but lower when betting on the banker’s hand (since the casino charges a 5% commission on wins). The tie bet is an unwise choice because of its 14.1 percent house edge.

As with any gaming venture, it is important to enter Baccarat with a plan. Set your loss and win limits before you play, and stick to those limits. If you lose your limit, quit the table and return another day. It is also helpful to set a timer, so that you know when you’ve spent enough time at the table and it’s time to leave. This will keep you from over-indulging in this uniquely exciting game.